Repurposed Mid Century Cabinet

When your daughter casually mentions in conversation that she's thinking about putting a small media cabinet in her living room and her Mother is an upcycle junkie. Goodwill to the rescue the very next day. This one's for you Victoria! I hope you like your new repurposed mid-century cabinet painted yellow like you wanted.

Repurposed Mid Century Cabinet

Repurposed Mid Century Cabinet

The pictures do not do the color justice because in person it reads more like a dark mustard yellow. My daughter and son-in-law gave me the thumbs up on the paint color for both the exterior and interior of the cupboard before I put paintbrush to paint.

The knobs and pulls are temporary. My daughter and son-in-law's black twig style knob preference didn't arrive on time for the photos.

Upcycled MCM Media Cabinet

Today is one of my favorite days of the month because it is Furniture Fixer Upper Day. Six talented furniture upcycling friends come together on the fourth Thursday every month to breath new life into a piece of furniture.

I figured since my daughter wanted a media cabinet and I needed a piece of furniture to makeover for the October makeover day it's a win-win for both of us.

I've included links to my friend's furniture makeovers at the bottom of this post. Last month, after some repairs, I gave our Dining Room Headboard Bench a makeover with a French graphic and new upholstery.

Mid Century Cabinet Makeover Knobs

The cabinet started as a small mid-century modern sideboard with the top drawer lined with felt and wood dividers.

Repurposed Mid Century Cabinet Before

To repurpose the sideboard into a media cabinet we removed the top drawer and turned the opening into a cubby to house media components. You bet I saved that drawer for future upcycling potential.

Repurposed Small Media Cabinet

For a pop of color on the inside of the cupboard, she chose a light grey.

Repurposed Media Cabinet With Doors

Being a small cabinet, it's perfect for compact spaces. I could see this being used in a bedroom as a combination television stand and dresser. My daughter plans on using it to house our grandchildren's videos, hubby's gaming equipment, and the family board games.

Wood Media Cabinet Makeover

They have a wall-mounted television so the top of the cabinet can be decorated with family photos and such.

Repurposed Mid Century Media Cabinet

Here's how we repurposed the MCM sideboard into a small media cabinet

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. At no cost to you, we receive a small commission if you make a purchase.

For this makeover, I used what I had on hand in the workshop and you'll notice several different product brands. As long as they are all water-based products, you're good to go.

Supply List

Small mid-century cabinet (thrift store find)
1/4-inch Hardboard
Construction Adhesive
Non-Shrinking Filler
Goldenrod Wise Owl Paint
Pewter FAT Paint
Slick Stick Primer
Gator Hide Clear Coat
Black Hammered Metal Spray Paint
Mid-Century Modern Pulls (salvaged)
White & Black Lattice Knobs or Black Twig Knobs (alternative)
Stubby Handle Paint Brush
220-Grit Sandpaper

Cleaning and repairs

First I removed the drawers and on the back labeled each one with chalk. This way you are guaranteed a perfect fit when you put them back in. I also taped the holes for the knobs on the inside of each drawer so the paint doesn't seep inside.

Next, I used my shop vac to vacuum all those dust bunnies and cobwebs inside the cabinet. Then I gave it all a bath with water, vinegar and a drop of Dawn dish soap.

There were a lot of deep scratches and chipping along the edges so those were filled with non-shrinking filler and sanded smooth once dry.

Replacing the top drawer with a media shelf

Next up is finishing the cubby where the top drawer was removed which will house media components. To do this first 1" x 1" strips were glued on the back panel of the cabinet. Three more were glued from the front of the frame to the back wall and clamped in place.

Once the glue cured, a 1/4-inch sheet of hardboard was cut to fit the back and the bottom of the opening and glued onto the wood strips with construction adhesive (pictured below).

Repurposed Mid Century Cabinet DIY Media Shelf

Prepping the cabinet for paint

Instead of sanding the glossy finish to give the paint some bite I brushed two coats of Slick Stick Primer by Dixie Belle Paint Company (link in the supply list). I applied it with the same paintbrushes I plan on using to paint the cabinet. I let the first coat dry for a couple of hours and the second coat overnight.

Repurposed Mid Century Cabinet Primer

Time to add the pretty

I tried a new to me chalk type paint in the color Goldenrod, which is a dark mustard color. This stuff is thick but has fantastic coverage. I prefer painting thin coats so I diluted the paint with a little water to a heavy cream-like consistency.

I also like to work with a damp paintbrush so I spritz it with my handy dandy hair dresser's water mist bottle after every second dip in the paint. This helps the paint move better.

Repurposed Mid Century Cabinet Goldenrod Paint

For the inside of the cupboard, I used three coats of light Pewter chalk-style paint applied with my favorite stubby paintbrush (link in the supply list).

Repurposed Mid Century Cabinet Pewter Paint

Here it is after the first coat and you can see that I got really good coverage. I applied a second coat a few hours later.

Repurposed Mid Century Cabinet Painted First Coat

Changing the color on the cabinet pulls

I found two mid-century modern dresser pulls in my stash salvaged from a makeover long ago. Not liking the gold finish I changed the color to black with hammered spray paint. Like I mentioned at the top of this post, my daughter doesn't plan on using these pulls so back in the stash they'll go until the perfect piece comes along.

Repurposed Mid Century Cabinet Painting Pulls

Protecting the paint finish

Last but not least was protecting all that hard work with a clear coat. Because this cabinet is going in a home with young children and three cats, I gave it three thin coats of water repellent Gator Hide. No worries when my grandbabies put their sippy cups on top of the cabinet.

I used my go-to detailing pads to apply the finish on the sides, top, and drawer fronts. I pour some Gator Hide onto a paper plate, spray the pad to dampen it just a little, and dip it into the Gator Hide. It gives a beautiful streak-free finish. For the harder to reach places I used the same paintbrush used throughout this makeover, cleaned of course.

Repurposed Mid Century Cabinet Clear Coat

We will be delivering the cabinet this weekend and I can't wait to see what it looks like in my daughter's home.

If you have any questions about this makeover, please leave them in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

Repurposed Mid Century Cabinet Before and After
Please join me by pressing the links below to see how my talented friend's transformed these furniture pieces.

Furniture Fixer Uppers Group October 2019 Before
  1. Girl In The Garage
  2. Petticoat Junktion
  3. Confessions Of A Serial DIYer
  4. Just The Woods
  5. Salvaged Inspirations
  6. Interior Frugalista (that's me)

I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.


  1. what a fun happy color! I love the new look Marie!

    1. Thanks Kandice, it's definitely a happy color and I think it'll look amazing in my daughter's living room. Can't wait to deliver it this weekend.

  2. That's a beautiful result--and a pleasant change from the white furniture that's so popular. I actually like the checked knobs quite a lot, and the two brass handles are lovely--I look forward to seeing them again on a new project.

    1. Thank you so much, Sue! I do love my color although truth be told, my own home has a lot of white furniture. LOL I have so much fun upcycling mid-century modern furniture because they come alive with bright retro colors. I like the checked knobs too and the brass handles. Good excuse to come up with another yellow makeover to use them on.

  3. Replies
    1. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, Darkside but I can assure you I didn't ruin it because it's EXACTLY what my daughter wanted for HER living room!

  4. WOW! Just wow, Marie! I love the fun new vibe and use too.

    1. Thank you so much! It definitely has a happy and fun vibe that's for sure and I hope my daughter enjoys it for years to come.

  5. Marie that color is such a surprise but it works so well on MCM furniture. Bravo!!

    1. Thanks Mary, it sure is a surprise color and one you don't see often here on the blog. Thankfully it's exactly what my daughter wanted and I can't wait to deliver it to her this weekend.

  6. The color yellow can be tricky, but this paint is so perfect. It's clean, bright and cheery. Beautiful makeover. You have a very lucky daughter. XO

    1. I knew an MCM piece would be perfect for painting "goldenrod", their chosen paint color and because they have blacks and dark charcoal going on in the room, it would pair nicely. I can't wait to deliver it to her house this weekend.

  7. Now that’s an impressive piece! I HATE mid century modern furniture. It’s always been bottom of the list for me but you did such an amazing makeover on this and it doesn’t even look mid century any longer. Maybe I will rethink some of the pieces I pass over now. The color really changes the vibe of this piece and looks amazing!

    1. You just made my morning! I couldn't ask for a better compliment - thank you so much 😊

  8. Marie, this is KEEE-UTE! Excellent! Brilliant!

    1. Thank you very much, Ceyla, I'm so glad you like it. It's pretty bold, even for me. LOL

  9. Oooh, I love it Marie!! Of course MCM furniture is my fav!!


    1. Thanks Tania, glad you like it. MCM is my favorite furniture to upcycle because you can get away with bold retro colors. I can't wait to see this in my daughter's living room this weekend!

  10. Oh Marie this is fabulous. I bet your daughter loves it. It is stunning. Once again the furniture re love whisper has done it again. Marie you never disappoint with your re loves. Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend.

    1. You are so sweet, Kris, thank you very much! My daughter has only seen it here in this post and I can't wait to deliver it this weekend and see it in her living room. Wishing you a wonderful weekend too and hugs backatcha! xo

  11. Ooh Marie this cabinet turned out fun and fabulous! I love the new color - and how cool that the door is a bifold? Such an awesome midcentury piece. I'm sure your daughter is thrilled, and lucky to have a handy mom like you!

    1. Thank you so much my friend! I knew the moment I saw this MCM piece that it would be the perfect candidate for the yellow paint color and I'm so pleased that my daughter and SIL are thrilled with the results (seen only here in this post so far). I can't wait to deliver it to them this weekend.

  12. Yellow is my daughter's favorite color EVER!! and she would go gaga over this cabinet Marie. So if your daughter ever decides it needs a new home, call me.......

    1. Ha ha, too funny our daughters both love yellow, I don't think it's a popular favorite. We delivered it on the weekend and it looks perfect in her home. I have so much fun with MCM pieces!

  13. Beautiful. You've done a great job. Thanks for the tutorial.

  14. Holy smokes that cabinet looks amazing!!!!!! I'm a bit new to restoring furniture and I haven't built up enough confidence yet to paint wood furniture. You'll see on my blog I stick with just staining. But one of these days I'll pick a nice bright, cheery color like this amazing yellow on a project. Thank you for sharing the paint manufacturer that you used.

  15. Thank you Jen! I promise, once you paint your first piece you will want to paint all the things. LOL As you probably noticed, I used products from different brands. I use what I have on hand and as long as they are all water-based products specific for chalk style paint, they should work together. Happy painting!


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