Fix It

Discarded Cabinets to Boho Chic Buffet

I know it can be frustrating sometimes to read a blog and be told that someone made a gorgeous whatever for only $20! Well yeah, it was $20 because they already had paint and stain and sandpaper and all the tools they needed to do the project. BUT. Once you get started refinishing furniture (and especially if you start doing it to sell), you eventually amass a LOT of products and pretty soon you are doing projects for little or next to nothing.

It does take time, patience and consistency to find great deals. Check in at your local thrift store a few times a month, check the Craigslist free section and furniture section every few days. Think outside the box and repurpose items you already have. Buy paint from the “oops” section at Lowe’s or Home Depot. In the last few weeks I’ve found 2 gallons of paint that were originally about $33 for only $3 and $5, and lots of sample-sized paint for 25-50 cents. I also re-use my paint brush and foam roller as many times as I can, placing them in a plastic bag in the fridge between uses.

So. When I tell you I did this project for around $20, that’s why…once you get going with this hobby, you end up doing A LOT of projects for cheap or free (or for profit if you’re selling). If you don’t already have supplies, you need to take that into account when considering your cost.

Old Kitchen Cabinets

Something I’ve seen quite a few times on Craigslist is a listing for free old kitchen or laundry cabinets that someone is pulling out so they can install new ones. Usually it’s a kitchen full of cabinets, but this time there were only a couple of cabinets because they were from a laundry room, so I went to go grab them.

I forgot to get a picture before I took the doors off, but here’s the before without the doors. You can see that the top plywood was sagging on the right, and it needed a good vacuum and cleaning.

The sagging plywood on top wasn’t a problem…you can remove it completely since we’ll be building a new top anyways. The sagging on the bottom shelf was a problem, so I attached a few supports using scrap wood.

Measure, cut and use a Kreg Jig


Add feet (attach blocks of wood in the corners first, then screw feet in) to give it some height. Remove doors, clean and sand, 2 coats of primer then 2 coats of paint. If you need some painting instructions, check out this post.


The only things I spent money on for this whole project (because I already had most of the supplies) was the board of wood for the top and the new handles. I needed a 13″ board for the top, so I had to buy a 16″ board and have them cut it down to 13″ for me (Lowe’s does this for free). This left me with a 3″ board that I used to make this frame. It was also longer than I needed, so I got a few extra pieces of scrap wood to save for future projects.

I placed the board on top to check for fit (make sure you measure before you go buy your board). I added 3″ to the length so it would be longer than the cabinets, and about 1″ for the front to hang out a little.

DIY buffet, console, sofa table, entry table


Sand the board down, apply a wood conditioner, then whatever stain you want. For my 1st coat I used Classic Gray, then Special Walnut for the 2nd coat. Protect with a coat of finishing wax. All of these products were Minwax.

Minwax Classic Gray Stain on Raw Wood

Minwax Special Walnut Stain on Raw Wood


Decide if you want your handles in the middle or towards the top, then drill holes and screw into place. To make sure the handles were even, I put the cabinet doors next to each other and marked where to drill for the handles.


The doors were looking really plain to me so I wanted to add something extra to them. I looked around for wood appliqués but couldn’t find anything that would work. I decided to use a stencil that I already had, but only wanted to use a part of it so I taped off the parts I didn’t want to paint. Centering the stencil was the hardest part…make sure you measure to make sure it’s centered and perfectly straight before you start painting.

How to Stencil on Furniture

The stencil still looked like it needed a little something more.

How to Stencil on Furniture

I picked another part of the stencil and added it to the right and left sides.


Put the doors back on. There was still something a little off about the look of it, so I applied a coat of dark wax over all the blue parts.


This tied it in with the brown top, too. Right now I just have the top sitting on top of the base. To attach, you can use L-shaped brackets from underneath or maybe some Liquid Nails.

Console or buffet from old laundry or kitchen cabinets

Boho Chic Buffet, Console, Side Table, Entry Table Boho Chic Buffet, Console, Side Table, Entry Table


Don’t want to forget this DIY project?


  1. LOVE this! We inherited an old china cabinet from my great aunt and have been trying to figure out how to spruce is up… a little paint may just be the thing 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! This was one of my first successful stencils. I’ve tried stenciling something where you have to pick up the stencil and reuse it in a repeating pattern and totally failed, but was happy to find out that doing a single stencil is much easier than I thought! Have a great week:)

  2. Love your transformation on this cabinet. You are my feature at Over The Moon party coming up on Sunday. Make sure to stop by.
    Thanks for sharing at Over The Moon Party.

  3. What a great way to upcycle old cabinets into something chic and pretty plus useful. I love how Lowes will cut wood for free, that is such a great service. Thanks for sharing your DIY project at the #HomeMattersParty this week.

  4. It looks great, amazing transformation. I had let pass some of these cabinets because of lack of space. I have a questions regarding the top, What type of wood do you buy for it? Thanks for the inspiration, I will be doing a desk soon and the top needs to be replace.

    1. I don’t even know what type of wood I used for this…for all of my projects I just go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and pick the cheapest type of wood I can find! The hardest part is making sure you find a straight board; it takes some time to look through the boards and find the best one.

  5. This is great! I’m about to take cabinets out of my house, of course they are falling apart and as much as I like to salvage things, I’m really not sure they are worth it! #HomeMattersParty

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