Mom's Floor Standing Jewelry Chest Got A Makeover

Remember the golden oak jewelry armoires from the 90s? What a difference white paint makes to breathe new life into them! When my sister inherited Mom's floor standing jewelry armoire chest, she asked if I would give it a shabby chic farmhouse style makeover. I was so impressed with the transformation that I wished I had been the one who inherited this piece. I also added an element of surprise to the sides of the drawers with pretty decoupage lavender napkins from the dollar store.

Shabby Chic Jewelry Armoire Makeover

Golden Oak Floor Standing Jewelry Armoire Makeover

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this makeover, today is one of my favorite days of the month. It's Furniture Fixer Upper Day and what that means is that six creative furniture upcycling friends come together on the fourth Thursday of every month to breathe new life into a piece of furniture.

You'll find links to their gorgeous furniture makeovers at the bottom of the post. In case you missed last month's challenge, I transformed a vintage office bookcase into a Rustic Farmhouse Cupboard.

Back to the makeover...

Mom loved lavender and when I saw the lavender napkins at the dollar store, I knew they would be perfect for Mom's jewelry cabinet. Plus I figured my sister will appreciate the memory whenever she opens the drawers.

Floor Standing Jewelry Chest With Decoupage Napkins

This is what Mom's jewelry chest looked like before...

Golden Oak Jewelry Armoire Before Makeover

So are you ready to see what it looks like now, painted white?

Golden Oak Floor Standing Jewelry Chest Makeover

Big difference, right?

This is what the inside of the jewelry chest looked like before the makeover.

Golden Oak Jewelry Armoire Interior Before Makeover

...and this is what the inside looks like now.

Floor Standing Jewelry Chest Painted White

I decoupaged around the mirror on the inside of the lid too.

Decoupage Floor Standing Jewelry Armoire

Because my sister plans on putting the jewelry chest in her bedroom, I handpainted the word DREAM onto the lid as well.

Tall Vintage Jewelry Stand With Hand Painted Typography

Here's a top view of the painted jewelry cabinet.

Upcycled Farmhouse Tall Jewelry Chest

My favorite thing about these old oak jewelry armoires is the curvy legs.

Curvy White Floor Standing Jewelry Cabinet Makeover

Painting The Jewelry Chest

Let's get into the makeover nitty-gritty plus the step-by-step decoupage tutorial.

Prep for paint

I probably sound like a broken record around here but this IS the most important step of every furniture makeover. Clean it first with 1 part vinegar to 2 parts warm water and dry with a towel. Remove the hinged lid and doors from the chest. Label the doors and the back of each drawer with painter's tape (pictured below). Trust me, you don't want to skip this step.

The plan is to keep the felt inside the drawers and the interior of the armoire. If your not the neatest of painters like me, protect the felt along the edges with painter's tape. I left the original hardware on because it isn't being replaced and will be painted the same color as the cabinet.

Prepping Golden Oak Jewelry Cabinet Makeover

With 150 grit sandpaper, rough up the finish just enough to give the paint some bite then wipe it with a damp microfiber cloth.

A base coat of paint

Because my sister wants a distressed shabby chic finish, rather than the light golden oak showing through the paint in the distressed areas, she wants black. Paint the chest with a base coat of dark grey Graphite chalk paint first.

Oak Jewelry Cabinet Makeover With Dark Gray Base Coat

A warm white topcoat

Once the grey basecoat is dry, paint over it with three light coats of Old White chalk paint which is a warm vintage white. Lightly sand between each coat for a smooth finish with 220 grit sandpaper.

Once the last coat of paint is dry lightly sand along the edges with 220 grit sandpaper so the dark grey paint peeks through the paint. At this point, distress the painted drop pulls too.

If you sand a little too heavy in some areas and the golden oak finish is showing through. There are a couple of ways to prevent this from happening.

Tips for distressing furniture

  1. Wet Distress: While the paint is still wet, rub a damp rag along the parts where you want the basecoat paint color to show through. 
  2. Petroleum Jelly Resist: After the dark basecoat is dry, apply petroleum jelly onto a cotton swab or lint-free rag and run it along the edges where you DO NOT want the topcoat to cover. When you paint over the petroleum jelly it will resist the paint in those areas. 

Adding Typography Onto The Lid

My sister asked if I would add the word DREAM onto the top of the lid because the jewelry armoire will be used in her bedroom. I had a decal in my stash that I liked but didn't want to use the glossy decal itself but rather duplicate it with paint. I used the decal as a template and used this Image Transfer Technique to add the typography onto the lid.

If you have a Cricut or Silhouette machine you could make your own stencil or cut the typography with vinyl. I personally prefer the handpainted look.

Floor Standing Jewelry Armoire Image Technique

To Age Or Not To Age The Jewelry Armoire

Once the paint is completely dry, protect it with clear wax applied with a round wax brush or lint-free rag. You can stop here and buff the wax to a matte finish and move onto the decoupage step or you can give the jewelry chest a timeworn aged appearance.

I didn't intend on aging the jewelry chest but when I went to buff the clear wax with my go-to horsehair shoe brush, I forgot that the last time I used it was on my sister's Black Scalloped Handcrafted Table to which I had applied dark wax.

It was an oops but a blessing in disguise because I liked it.

So I continued to buff the remaining dark wax on the brush over the cabinet. The subtle antique finish is so pretty. My sister doesn't know I changed the plan but she'll find out when she reads this post. Hi Carol, I hope you like it?

How To Decoupage Furniture With Napkins

I always like to add an element of surprise to drawers on my furniture makeovers. On this piece, I decided to decoupage pretty dollar store napkins to the sides of the drawers and around the mirror on the inside of the lid. I'll show you the steps below.

If decoupaging with napkins makes you nervous, try it on a small inexpensive item first like I did on this DIY Decoupage Dollar Store Birdhouse.

Decoupage Tip

Because the napkins are so thin, the finish underneath WILL show through the napkin. So if your napkins are a dark color, you want to paint the sides of the drawers a dark color as well. In this case, my napkins have a white background so I painted the sides of the drawers with a coat of old white chalk paint first.

Decoupage Napkins Tall Jewelry Armoire Makeover

Steps for decoupaging furniture drawers

  1. Remove the extra ply from the napkins. It can be a bit tricky getting it started but if you rub on a corner it will start to separate.
  2. Cut the napkins in half if need be to get the pattern placement you want.
  3. Make sure you line up the pattern on the napkin so it is facing upwards towards the top of the drawer. Ask me how I know.
  4. Apply a generous coat of Mod Podge onto the side of the drawer with a foam brush. 
  5. Eyeball the placement of the napkin and drop it in place, being careful if it needs some adjusting.
  6. Place your hand inside a clean sandwich bag and run your hands over the napkin to smooth out any wrinkles.
  7. Dab any areas that didn't have good contact, especially along the edges, with Mod Podge using a small artist's brush or the edge of the foam brush.
  8. Don't fret about the wrinkles, it's inevitable you'll have some.
  9. Repeat the above steps on all the drawers.
  10. Once the Mod Podge is dry you can trim the napkins in one of two ways. Use a sharp retractable craft knife OR 220 grit sandpaper along the edges. 
  11. Protect the napkins with a couple coats of Mod Podge to prevent the napkins from tearing when opening and closing the drawers. Make sure you have a generous amount of Mod Podge on the brush or you risk tearing the paper. Also, whatever you do, don't go over the same area twice!

Dollar Store Napkins Decoupage Jewelry Chest Drawers

I'm quite pleased with how Mom's jewelry chest turned out. Goodbye golden oak - hello creamy white! I wish my Mom could see her jewelry armoire now and had the ability to tells us what she thinks. Alzheimer's has robbed her of that.

White Shabby Chic Floor Standing Jewelry Chest

This isn't my first jewelry box rodeo. Besides furniture, one of my favorite makeovers is vintage jewelry boxes. I refer to them as mini furniture makeovers like this Mint Painted Vintage Jewelry Box. This Lavender Jewelry Box Makeover my mother would have liked. I did this Pretty Pink Jewelry Box for my granddaughter for a Christmas gift.

If you have any questions about this floor standing jewelry box makeover or the decoupage tutorial, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this Vintage Jewelry Armoire Makeover, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your Upcycled Furniture or Vintage Jewelry Box board on Pinterest.

Golden Oak Floor Standing Jewelry Armoire Makeover

How To Decoupage Furniture With Napkins

Please join me by pressing the links below to see how my talented friend's updated these furniture pieces.

Furniture Fixer Upper Group June Challenge


  1. I do have one, stuck in my closet for years, mostly because I didn't have any room for it, but if it looked as good as yours I might let it out!

    1. LOL, you definitely should let it out and have fun making her pretty. With your talent you would have her looking stunning in no time 😊

  2. Love that jewelry box! What a pretty finish - I like it much better in white than the golden oak (I am not a fan of the wood grain visible in oak wood. Cherry wood and maple, even walnut, are pretty in solid wood stains, but I do NOT like oak. I adore the lavender stems/flowers you used on the sides of the drawer. I bet your sister is gonna love it!

    1. Hi Barb 😊 Yes, that golden oak had to go! It was fun decoupaging the sides of the drawers and I plan to do that again soon. My sister loved it!

  3. Hi Marie. This is so pretty and I lov ethe decoupage with napkins. So clever. Happy Weekend. Stay safe and well sweet friend.

  4. Hi Kris, thank you so much. I never liked this jewelry armoire when Mom had it but after the makeover, I wished I was the one who inherited it from Mom. Thanks for stopping by for a visit and happy weekend to you as well my friend. Stay safe! xo


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