Painting Cabinets so they still look good years later!

Painting Cabinets so they last

If you've been following me for some time you will remember that a few years ago I gave our kitchen a makeover.  Part of that makeover was painting our kitchen cabinets.  They have withstood the test of time and look just as good as the day I finished them.

Painting Cabinets to last

Painting kitchen cabinets

Recently I gave our Dining Room Built-In China Cabinet the same makeover.

Painted Cabinets in Dining Room

Earlier in the year we added a Built-In Window Seat and Bookcases in the master bedroom and painted them using the same method.

Painting cabinets to last in bedroom

Today I am sharing the process I used to paint the cabinets throughout our home, should you be thinking about updating yours with paint rather than the expensive cost of replacing them.  It never ceases to amaze me how a can of paint can completely transform a room!

All the products for these makeovers were purchased at Home Depot.  This is not a sponsored post, although Home Depot if you're reading this post, I'd love to work with you *wink*.

How to paint cabinets so they last

Step 1: Removing the finish

Before starting this step you'll need to remove the doors and the hardware from the cabinets.  Lay them flat on top of something to raise them (I used 2 x 4's).  Sorry about the poor quality picture below - this was pre-blogging days and before I got my big girl camera.

Using a mouse sander and an 80 grit sanding pad to rough up the finish.  No need to get down to the bare wood as long as you have a rough surface for the primer to adhere.

Prepping cabinets to paint

Step 2: Priming the cabinets

Apply Zinsser Bullseye 123 All Purpose Primer (the only primer I will use). I used a small paint brush to get into the recessed bits and then a 6-inch high-density roller for the flat parts and edges of the doors. Roll in long even strokes using a wet edge.

Maybe it's overkill but I applied two coats of primer to the doors.  I'd rather error on the side of caution than have the paint peeling off later.  This ensures a good bond with the paint.

Step 3: Painting the cabinets

Using the same technique as above, apply two coats of Behr Premium Plus Latex Paint in a satin finish. I love Behr paint and find it to be the closest to Benjamin Moore quality at a lower price point. Almost all the walls and ceilings in our house are painted with Behr.  This isn't a sponsored post, just sharing the love!

This paint has a built-in primer that seals uncoated and previously painted surfaces. Because I was painting over prefinished stained wood I would still recommend applying Step 2.

I let each coat dry 24 hours and lightly sanded using a Norton Dual Angle 120 Grit Fine Sanding Sponge between coats.

Step 4: Applying a protective finish

Using a foam brush apply two coats of Minwax Clear Satin Polycrylic to protect the paint.  I recommend a satin finish because it will be washable but won't have a glossy finish like a stock cabinet would. It's my personal preference.

Don't shake the can because you will get air bubbles but rather stir the can well before and during application. Apply it in long even strokes and lightly sand between coats for a nice smooth finish.

Have I motivated you to consider painting your cabinets rather than replacing them?

If removing all the doors and going through this process seems overwhelming, don't throw in the towel just yet because there is another option...chalk paint!  I've helped complete two kitchen makeovers using this process A Quick And Inexpensive Kitchen Update and How To Paint Cabinets With Chalk Paint.

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A Curbside Rescued Secretary Desk Makeover

When you see a piece of furniture discarded onto the curb, do you keep driving? It may look ugly but if it's in decent shape, it could be a diamond in the rough. Like this small secretary desk that my neighbor rescued from the side of the road. Other than a broken drawer guide and a dated finish, there was nothing wrong with it.

Today I'm going to show you how to completely transform this Curbside Rescued Secretary Desk and breathe new life into it with a little chalk paint.

Would you say it is landfill worthy now?

Curbside Rescued Secretary Desk Makeover

Many times I've opened my back door to discover the "furniture fairy" a.k.a. my awesome neighbor magically left a gift in our back yard. She has been one of my biggest cheerleaders as I venture on my furniture flipping business venture. In appreciation, I offered to give a furniture piece of her choice a makeover and she chose her rescued desk.

A Curbside Rescued Secretary Desk Makeover

Here is what it looked like before...

Curbside Secretary Desk Before Makeover

After removing the hard board back that had several holes to accommodate electrical cords and filling in the nicks and scratches, I got to work giving the desk a base coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the color Graphite.

Base coat of Graphite chalk paint on rescued secretary desk

The top coat is a 50:50 ratio of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the colors Pure White and Old White. 

Once dry, I used 80-grit sandpaper to remove some of the white paint around the edges to reveal the graphite base coat underneath. The trick is sanding very lightly otherwise you risk going down to the original stained wood color.

Another option is to Wet Distress which means before the top coat dries, use a damp rag to remove some of the white paint.

Desk makeover painted white and distressed to reveal graphite underneath

I replaced the original hardboard on the back of the desk but before installing it with a pneumatic nail gun I chalk painted it in the color Midnight Sky by Country Chic Chalk Paint.

Backboard on rescued Secretary Desk painted Midnight Sky

I also painted the sides of the drawers with Midnight Sky and lined the bottoms with a striped wrapping paper purchased at HomeSense (Canadian version of HomeGoods).

Wrapping paper lined drawers on rescued Secretary Desk

Midnight Sky painted drawer sides on rescued Secretary Desk

The pretty ceramic knobs were also purchased at HomeSense with the intention of using them on a future project. Less than a week later I started this desk makeover and they were perfect for this piece.

Floral Ceramic Knobs on Curbside Rescued Secretary Desk

I love how the pretty knobs compliment the colors in the wrapping paper lined drawers.

Paper lined drawers echo knobs on rescued secretary desk

I was thrilled that my neighbor liked what I had done to her desk. The colors compliment the d├ęcor in the room this desk will be used in nicely.

Curbside Secretary Desk with lined drawer

Here is a closer look at the pretty ceramic knobs...

Pretty Knob on Curbside Rescued Desk Makeover

I could see myself sitting at this desk with a cup of coffee and my favorite stationery to write my friend's across the pond a newsy letter about the day the furniture fairy arrived in my back yard.

Rescued Secretary Desk with rose petal stationary

Has this rescued Secretary Desk Makeover inspired you to think twice about driving right by discarded furniture on the curb of your neighbor's driveway? Just think of how many perfectly good pieces of furniture would be saved from ending up in the landfill.

Here are a few other curbside furniture pieces I've rescued and given a new life. Curbside Tilt Top Drop Leaf Table and Queen Anne Clock Face Table.

If you like this Curbside Secretary Desk Makeover please share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.

Curbside Secretary Desk Makeover Before and After

I'm sharing this project at these LINKY PARTIES

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DIY Sunday Showcase Party and Features {April 25, 2015}

Well as this party goes live the threat of Old Man Winter's return has reared it's ugly head.  He and Mother Nature need to get on the same page.  Heck they need to get in the same book.  Better yet, visit the same library! 

Bloggers this is a great link up to showcase your work because not only will it appear on this blog but on the blogs of five of my friends.  That's five times the exposure and six opportunities to have your work featured!

If you didn't make the TOP 6 Featured here at the party you may have been featured at our DIY SUNDAY SHOWCASE TALENT BOARD on Pinterest so be sure to hop over there as well!
So without further adieu
it's time to get this DIY Sunday Showcase Party started!
The party goes Live every Saturday at 5:00pm CST and runs until the following Wednesday.


table makeover
I really like the technique Jamie's Mom used to give some rustic goodness to a new coffee table.  Would you believe it only took her an evening to do it!

Fabric Covered Balls7


chocolate crepes with peanut butter marshmallow filling and caramelized bananas 9

A TOUCH OF PINK by Orphans With Make Up

This frozen lemonade recipe is a refreshing spring and summertime treat. Tangy and sweet, the flavor will remind you of lemon meringue pie. If you like Chick-Fil-A's frosted lemonade, you'll love this make-at-home version.

Feel free to copy our button if you've been featured!

  1. Follow your party hosts.
  2. Post a maximum of 3 of your newest DIY's.
  3. Linking to the party allows the hosts to possibly PIN your project to our DIY Showcase Pinterest Board, use your project in a round-up post (with direct links to your post), as well as Feature your project in the next DIY Sunday Showcase!
  4. Please Do Not Pin from the party, instead go to the original blog post.
  5. In order to be featured you need to grab the button or link and copy it onto your post or in your link party page!
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Let there be light {Phase Two of our Dining Room Makeover}

I finally have an update on Phase Two of our Dining Room Makeover. Between a new grandbaby, Easter, and life in general, it's been a slow process but alas the Dining Room Built-In China Cabinet Makeover is complete!

Dining Room Makeover Phase Two

If you've been following me then you know this room makeover is an attempt to get rid of all the brown-on-brown tones going on in the room. Phase One of this makeover was about adding some visual interest to the long wall. We're so pleased with how much it brightened the room and gives the illusion that the room is much larger than it is.

Here is what our dining room has looked like for the last three years (minus the mess on the table). Yawn!

Dining Room Makeover Before

It's amazing what a can of paint and some elbow grease can do to completely transform a room.

Dining Room Makeover Phase Two After

Phase Three of this makeover series will be replacing the furniture. The original set that you see in the Before picture is going to our daughter. The set in the After picture is a Vintage Dining Table and Vintage Dining Chairs I gave a makeover to several months ago.

On a whim we brought it upstairs to see what it would look like in this space.  Being a couple of old farts in our 50's there was no way we were hauling that sucker back downstairs so we decided to use it for Easter Dinner, where it remains.  I don't think it works in this space and so it's For Sale in my Etsy Shop.

I have BIG plans for furniture in this space...all thrift store and DIY items but more about that in future posts.

Chalk painting the bead board china cabinet back Luscious Lime

Like the Antique Radio Cabinet where I added pretty green paper to the back, I decided to give the same pop of color to our built-ins. Instead of paper I chalked painted the bead board in the color Luscious Lime by Country Chic Paint. I applied the paint with random brush strokes to get an uneven affect and then went over it with White Wax.

Luscious Lime chalk painted china cabinet back

I just love the rustic look of the paint and how everything in the cabinet pops!

China Cabinet Back After

By fluke the green in our vintage china matches beautifully.

I forgot the Cuss Box was in there before taking the photo.  It sat in my Grandmother's kitchen growing up and whenever we came for a visit my Father would have it filled!  I haven't a clue why I ended up with it *blush* but let's just say that if I used it for it's intended purpose, we could go on a Hawaiian holiday every winter!

Closet up of Luscious Lime chalk painted china cabinet back

We removed the Valance between both cabinets. I never liked it and thought it dated the piece. Instead we wrapped a heavy crown around the top of each unit.

Built In China Cabinet removing the valance and adding crown moulding

We painted the entire unit white to brighten up the space.  I love the look of white cabinets and three years ago we painted our kitchen cabinets white so now this unifies them as both can be seen from the living room.

Painting the Built In China Cabinet White

We decided to keep the top stained Dark Walnut.  I love the juxtaposition between the two fnishes.

Staining the Built In China Cabinet Base Dark Walnut

I couldn't justify replacing the bronze hardware we purchased when refinishing the kitchen cabinets. I didn't want a high contrast between the hardware and the cabinets and so I spray painted the existing pulls with Rustoleum Primer White and distressed the raised details to reveal some of the bronze underneath.

Bronze China Cabinet Pulls spray painted Primer White and distressed

Once again here is the Before and After.

Built In China Cabinet Before and After

I can't wait until the new new to us furniture is finished and in this space. It will pull this room together.

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Vintage Blog Of The Week Feature

I'm so excited to share that I have been chosen as Vintage Blog Of The Week by Diana at Adirondack Girl @ Heart.  

Adirondack Girl @ Heart

Diana has featured some incredibly talented bloggers since launching this series and I'm honored to have my name included among them.  Please pop on over to Adirondack Girl @ Heart to check out my Feature and be sure to say hello.

Another weekly series at Adirondack Girl at Heart is Vintage Finds where Diana shares her weekly thrift store, garage and estate sale finds.  That girl can sniff out some fantastic vintage treasures!  

Thank you so much Diana, I appreciate you sharing The Interior Frugalista with your readers!

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A Painted Wing Chair (change the color NOT the fabric)

Do you have a favorite armchair that is still in great condition but dislike the fabric?

Do you have an old well built sofa that screams 1980 but you can't justify replacing it when it's in perfectly good condition?

Does your head yearn for a new couch but your wallet says it's not going to happen?

Covering it with a slipcover is one less expensive option but did you know you can paint the upholstery? That's right, I said paint the fabric. Today I'm going to show you how I updated our burgundy wing chair with paint.

Wing Chair Upholstery Painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™

Here is what the chair looked like before...

Wing Chair Before being painted

Unsuccessful attempts at making the chair work

We purchased this wing chair at an auction several years ago and it's been the go-to chair in our living room. No longer feeling the 90's burgundy color, I looked into the cost of having the armchair reupholstered. Yeah right, perhaps when we win the lottery.

With that option out the window I contemplated doing the upholstery ourselves. Ah NO.

Browsing online I found a linen red ticking striped slipcover at a reasonable price - when I say reasonable, I mean for under $100. While it certainly made an improvement, I was constantly tucking and adjusting the fabric after anyone sat in the chair.

Slipcovered Wing Chair Before Painting Upholstery

After a futile attempt at altering the slipcover for a snugger fit I hemmed and hawed about perhaps sewing a custom slipcover all by myself...and then I chickened out.

The light bulb moment

Considering the fabric was still in very good condition, I decided painting the upholstery would be the most economic option. Enter the color Emperor's Silk by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™.

Close up of wing chair after being chalk painted

I love how the burgundy fabric combined with the dark red gave the chair pink undertones; not too pink and not too red. The color pairs so nicely with the lime green accents in the room.

Here is a close up of the color...

Wing Chair painted with Emperors Silk Chalk Paint

These pictures were taken before applying a coat of clear wax which deepened the color and softened the fabric so it feels like leather. 

From Burgundy to Light Red Chalk Painted Wing Chair

Supplies for painting upholstery

  • Chalk paint
  • Paint brush (my preference is a round natural brush)
  • Spray Bottle with water
  • Bucket with water
  • Clear chalk paint wax
Supplies for chalk painting upholstery

How To Update A Wing Chair By Painting The Fabric

I've used regular paint brushes in the past but my personal preference for upholstery is using a small round brush.

Step 1 The first coat of paint

  • Work in small sections.
  • Use a spray bottle to dampen (not saturate) the fabric as you work.
  • Have a pail of lukewarm water at your side. 
  • Dip just the tips of your brush into the water and then into the paint.
  • Apply long even strokes moving sideways and up and down for even coverage.
  • Continue these steps until the entire chair has been painted.

Step 2 The second coat of paint

  • Wait approximately 12-hours for the first coat to dry completely.
  • Work in small sections.
  • Use a spray bottle to dampen (not saturate) the fabric as you work.
  • Apply chalk paint in long even strokes.
  • Let the paint completely dry between each coat. 
My chair took five coats of paint for full coverage over the dark burgundy fabric and 12-hours between coats.

Step 3 Applying clear wax

  • Allow the fabric to dry completely (it may take a few days) before this step.
  • Using a wax brush (my preference) or a lint free cloth, apply a light coat of clear wax, working it into the fabric in a circular motion (like applying hand cream) in small sections.
  • Wipe off the excess wax as you work in sections. 
  • Wait at least 30-minutes or the following day and buff the wax with a lint-free cloth. The goal is to soften the fabric but not leave a shiny sheen.
  • The fabric will feel like leather and it softens over time.
  • Avoid anyone sitting in the chair, especially with dark clothing like blue jeans, until the wax is cured (around 30-days).
Wing Chair fabric chalk painted red

Chalk painted wing chair AFTER

I'm quite pleased with the transformation and all it cost was the price of a can of paint.

If you're wondering why I have no furniture in the dining room behind the chair, it's because I have some sweet thrift store finds that I'm working on that will go in this space.

Update: you can find them here in my posts Duncan Phyfe Dining Table and Duncan Phyfe Dining Chairs. I also repurposed a thrift store headboard into a Dining Bench for this space too.

Chalk painted wing chair and ottoman

A Chalk Painted Wing Chair Before and After

So for a fraction of the price of my original plan to have the chair upholstered, our go to comfy living room chair has a brand new life. I hope my painted wing chair has inspired you to attempt painting one of your favorite chairs.

I also painted a French Provincial Chair white a few months ago. With this one I learned the importance of waiting 30-days before allowing anyone to sit it in. I brought the chair into the living room while hosting a party just a few days after waxing it, and sadly the denim from the guest's jeans rubbed all over the white seat.

I painted a third chair for a client and you can see that makeover here in my post Antique French Provincial Armchair.

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