Well friends, I might have painted this in November, but I’ve been waiting for a great moment to share this fun little makeover with you! Honestly, this phrase probably gets overused, but it truly is amazing how much a little paint can do to freshen up a piece of furniture!
I know I talk a lot about hand-me-downs because our home has been filled with them and we’re so very thankful. This filing cabinet in particular was given to us by my parents and used to be in my dad’s home office when I was growing up.
I wasn’t sure if we’d have the space for it in our home (and certainly not as a filing cabinet) since we do so much digitally now. But it was actually one of you that sort of made this entire thing happen!
Sometimes, when our homes don’t have the exact space we need, we’ve got to get creative! We did just that in our garage by creating an entryway and we’re doing the same thing here by creating our own pantry out of an old filing cabinet!
I Like to Move It, Move It!
Let me tell you what I mean. Our dining room was (and still is) full of hand-me-downs and since we’ve lived here I felt stuck on what to do with this space, especially since we rarely eat dinner here, as it’s mainly used for games and puzzles.
A few months ago, I was debating what to do with this large dresser and the filing cabinet. One of you suggested moving the dresser to the family room and having the filing cabinet sit on the other wall. YOU GUYS, just this small change in placement totally changed the look of these two rooms. Take a look!
As I write this, I’m working on some finishing touches to my dining room (stay tuned) and in the meantime, I want to share with you my experience painting this old filing cabinet!
Painting this Bad Boy with Chalk Paint
This filing cabinet was a bit beat up, but I knew paint would give it new life. So let’s talk chalk paint! I’ve used Annie Sloan for many pieces in my home and it’s been worth every penny. I shared those pieces in this post.
This round, I wanted to try other chalk paints. So I tested Folk Art’s chalk paint on this small round table and I feel like you can see every single brushstroke! It really is a great price, but not what I wanted for this big project.
I saw quite a few recommendations for Chalked by Rustoleum. It almost had a regular paint feel instead of chalk and I liked working with it – being very mindful of the brushstrokes and following the instructions to the T.
Once it was completely dry, I finished it with Matte Polyurethane to help it hold up. While this will be used as a pantry of sorts, the top will be (and already has been) used for a drink buffet, so I wanted it to be durable.
- Various sized paint brushes (I ordered this set on Amazon for this project and would recommend!)
- Chalk Paint: Chalked by Rustoleum or Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (available at local sellers – check for availability)
- Painters Tape
- Not required, but I switched out the old drawer handles to these pulls from Amazon! Very affordable. If you like your drawer pulls but want to update them, use spray paint!
- Screwdriver to remove handles
- Matte Polyurethane
- Wet Rag and Dry Rag
- Newspaper or Drop Cloth
- Great music or a movie playing in the background 😉
- Collect your supplies and have on hand (this helps to keep the least amount of frustration 😉 )!
- Remove any drawer pulls or removable pieces that you don’t intend to paint.
- Remove drawer faces or other part(s) of your piece of furniture that would be more easily painted if not attached.
- Wipe down and dry all surfaces on your item being painted.
- If it’s a very smooth surface, rough up a bit with a light sand paper.
- Wipe down and dry again.
- Tape off long edges where you don’t want to paint
- Protect your floor with newspaper or a drop cloth
- Start painting! I recommend painting each surface by surface, then coming back to the first surface you painted for a second coat.
- Refer to the paint can for recommended dry times between coats and follow it! 😉
- The perk of Annie Sloan is that it goes on SO smoothly and easily and dries very quickly.
- I actually had to do three coats of the Chalked by Rustoleum paint and touched up after the third coat dried. Annie Sloan would have probably been one less coat.
- Note to paint with the grain of the wood and to only paint in the same direction (you can apply back and forth, but don’t criss-cross) to minimize brush strokes or piling paint.
- Wait and wait and wait until your piece is very dry (again, refer to paint can for recommended times) – I’d say at least 24 hours.
- Apply two light coats of Matte Polyurethane and allow to dry.
- Attach drawer fronts or any other detached parts.
- Attach existing or new pulls. I mean, can you believe the difference between the pulls on my filing cabinet?
- Pour yourself a drink and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
- I would recommend waiting a day or two or three before you put scrapable items on the top. Let that top cure!
Chalk Paint Assessment
I still feel like I’m searching for the perfect furniture paint, but until then, I’ve liked my experience so far with the two I listed above! I will say it again – Annie Sloan has been my favorite and a small quart goes a long way! I just never figured out how to finish it with the wax.
What’s up next?
Our kitchen is pretty small and we don’t have a traditional pantry, so this little update has been SO helpful to store extra kitchen items and bonus points that it looks beautiful! Paint can really help your home feel cohesive and give new life to a piece of furniture. More dining room DIYs are to come here on the blog, but head on over to my Instagram to see some of the “in the moment” process and you can also give me some input!
We have a few more DIY projects for the dining room coming your way, including some shelves above our new pantry as well as a gallery wall near the window!
The next furniture painting project I’ll be tackling is painting the built-in cabinets in my basement. If you want to follow along, I’d love for you to join our newsletter mailing list! You’ll receive an email each time a new post is up on the blog.
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