Old cabinet renovation – how to do it?

           Do you also own a piece of furniture that you no longer like, but is still in good condition and you feel sorry to throw it away? I will show you how to remodel, for example, such a decade-old retro cabinet into a fresh and original piece that will continue to fulfill its function.

To begin with: why would you remodel old furniture?

Let's be honest. We live in a fast-paced world, and with the stream of new goods and endless choices in stores, our generation has learned all too easy to throw things away and replace them with new ones. However, the renovation of older furniture also has its huge advantages:

–      You save money. You are remodeling a piece that you already have at home, and that is why it’s much cheaper than buying a new one.

–      You give a second chance. And our planet will thank you for that since you will create less waste.

–      You relax. Under your hands, an old piece will change into something beautiful and renewed, and that is very therapeutic and relaxing.

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–      The result will be exactly as you want. If you get inspired on Pinterest or by a tutorial on YouTube, for example, you will create a unique piece that would be hard to find in a regular store.

–      A quality piece. Older furniture is usually of a higher quality than things you can buy in stores with more affordable prices.

–      A piece with history and an idea. When someone will admire your furniture asking where did you get it from, you can tell a beautiful story instead of naming a regular store. For example, this old cabinet of mine was made during socialism in the United Arts and Crafts Factory in the Czech Republic, which produced functionalist furniture. The previous apartment owners wanted to throw it away because it looked old, out of date, and had a broken door.


How to:

It's really simple. In fact, it’s that simple that you can involve your kids in the remodeling. I chose the pale pink color because it fits the interior of our living room and this gentle feminine shade slightly softens the massiveness of the cabinet. However, you can choose any shade, or let your children paint it in a crazy way, thus creating an original piece for their room. In most hardware stores, they even offer to mix your own paint shade.

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Step 1 – sanding

Before painting, the old varnish or paint must be sanded off. If you are dealing with laminated chipboard with the top foil already delaminating, you can heat the foil with a hairdryer and peel it off with a spatula. For sanding, you can use an electric sander, like me, or sandpaper. It is necessary not only to remove the paint or varnish but also to roughen the surface so that the new paint holds well.


Step 2 – degreasing

For the new coating to hold really well, the surface of the furniture must be degreased. If you need to properly degrease the piece (for example, if you are dealing with a kitchen cabinet), you can use the engine degreaser. However, if this is a regular piece from your apartment, a stronger solution with detergent will suffice. First, use a clean cloth to wash the entire piece with a solution, then soak the cloth in the clean water, wash the furniture and let it dry.

Step 3 – decorative fabrics

You can skip this step if you want to keep the furniture in a minimalist design. However, I wanted to play and give my cabinet a really original design. In the hardware store, I bought thin spruce plates with a width of 2 centimeters. I adjusted their length with a saw and sanded the ends. Then I nailed them to the cabinet with small headless nails. You can also use glue, but somehow, I trust the good old nails more and you can barely see them on the cabinet. You don't have to use the vertical alignment as I did. Instead, you can use a square layout, for example.


Step 4 – the paint

I wanted the cabinet to be pale pink. And so, it was necessary to first paint it with two layers of white paint (I used universal paint for wood and metal), which serves as a base so that the resulting paint has the desired shade. Then, I used two more pale pink layers (also universal paint for wood and metal).

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 Step 5 – varnish

If we want our renewed furniture to withstand normal use, it is necessary to use the varnish. It also stabilizes the color underneath so that it will not change the shade over time. The number of layers depends on how intensively you intend to use the furniture. If it is a shelf that will carry some decorative pieces, one layer will suffice. If the piece will be used daily, for example, to store dishes, use three layers. I used two layers of translucent semi-matt wood varnish.


      Step 6 – decorations

If you have any paint leftovers, do not set limits on your creativity and create some smaller decorations. I decorated the cabinet with some flower pots, a painting, and a vase from Pepco and with some fresh flowers from the Kvety Victor store.

So, did I motivate you to remodel a piece you already own? Giving things a second chance is great, and it has a lot of benefits. If you are going to renew some older furniture, feel free to send us the results. Good luck!