A Repainted China Cabinet

One of the projects we did while in New Orleans visiting my niece, was to paint this huge china cabinet that she bought on Craigslist.  She paid $400 for this large 7’ wide china cabinet by Ashley Furniture, which wasn’t a bad deal for a huge piece like this.  I’m sure brand new it was probably triple the price.  She needed something big as you can see by the very tall ceilings they have in this house.  A small piece of furniture would get lost on that wall, so I’m glad she found something that wide for the space.

Her table and chairs are staying a natural wood color, but we decided to change the china cabinet to a nice off white with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White.  It’s a nice muted white and ages nicely.  We opted not to distress and age this piece too much, but you can do what you are comfortable with on painting furniture and making them over.  I personally think that all of this distressed and sanded down furniture will go the way of faux finished walls eventually.  This trend is not going to last forever, nothing does, so eventually we may see people stripping off all of this paint we are now using.  Anyone else see that coming?

china cabinet before after

But, for now painting a piece of furniture is still a great way to update and change out the look.  Since this brand of furniture is not high-end or precious, I see nothing wrong with painting it.  Definitely not an antique, so paint away!

Now, some of you asked this question on priming or sanding and the beauty of Annie Sloan chalk paint is that NO, you do NOT have to sand or prime with this paint.  Just open the can and start painting. That’s one of the very best things about this product!

Paint was sent to me by one of my sponsors, Stylish Patina, and she ships anywhere, so if you’re in the market for Annie Sloan chalk paint, you can get it from her if there is not a handy stockist in your area.

china cabinet before

Here’s the Ashley china cabinet before. Dark wood with mirrored backing inside.  The mirrors make it look a little dated, so we decided to cover those.  Stay tuned!

china cabinet before

Getting started with painting in Annie Sloan Old White chalk paint.  We used small foam rollers and brushes on this piece.  I’m glad there were 3 of us or it would have taken days.  We were able to do this piece in one day by painting one coat in the morning and then coming back for the 2nd coat in the afternoon.

lauren rhoda painting

Rolling the top was necessary too, since it could be seen from above.  So many details to paint, but we didn’t cover all the crevices completely, but let a little dark show through for the aging part.

china cabinet one coat

We did take off the doors and hardware just to keep them clean and it is easier to paint doors when they are off.  We chose NOT to paint inside the doors below, but left it dark wood.

progress painting shot

After one coat.

progress china cabinet

Looking good.

painted drawers

Drawers painted.

glass doors

And doors painted.

painting doors

Renee and Lauren painting the last coat on the doors.  We didn’t worry about covering every single bit completely, but it looked good with a little brown showing through.

Annie Sloan old white china cabinet

And here’s the AFTER!

details on side

I took some closeups so you could see what I mean about leaving some of the brown.  One of these columns got painted too solidly, so I did add some dark wax to it.  I’m not a wax expert, but did go over the whole piece with a coat of clear wax with my wax brush and we rubbed the wax into the surface of the cabinet.  All that should be needed is then to go back and rub it down to give it a hand rubbed finish. We didn’t get to that part before we moved on to more projects, but Lauren can go back and rub it down if she wants.  It’s mainly to give it a smoother wax finish and not so chalky. I only used the dark wax very sparingly and not over the whole piece.

distressing detail

Leaving some of the brown showing through.  We could have sanded and distressed this piece even more, but with all the curlicues on it, I thought leaving just a bit of the original brown would be best.  Plus that takes a lot more work to achieve and we had lots to do.

edge detail

I like how it turned out and Lauren does too.

detail on trim

It does look like an older piece now and I think the white just gives it a nice update.

column detail

More details on the side columns.

china cabinet painted

All done!  This piece is finished and we painted the mirror with Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue, which I love too.

painting the mirrors

We weren’t sure how this would work, but it worked very well.  We hadn’t taped off the mirror in here, so white got on the edges of the mirror, but I took a small angled brush and cut in with the blue right over the white paint that we had smeared on the mirrors, then we rolled over the middle with the chalk paint and it covered well.

mirror painted blue

See!  Looks great and you’d never know there is mirror behind there.  She might have to be a little careful with scratching it with anything, but for the most part, it should hold up fine.

inside mirror painted blue

We had taken the glass shelves out to paint and I can tell you, painting inside a china cabinet is no fun. Lots of weird angles to get to, but we managed to get it done even if it’s not perfect. If you have a china cabinet you want to try this on, get a friend to help you! It will  make it go much faster.  We were happy to have 3 of us working on this piece and we were really happy to get it done.

I love the dark hardware on here and it totally updates this piece now.  And I’ve got lots more posts to share on New Orleans and the projects. I got to visit with one of my sweet blog friends while there too!

- Rhoda


  1. Becky in 'Bama says

    Such an elegant look now. I did my first Annie Sloan furniture painting last week – on a tired “1990’s” Queen Anne sofa table. This painting technique has brought it into the 21st century and if I keep it another 5-8 years will be well worth the effort. 🙂

  2. Was so excited to read this post as I have just collaborated with Annie Sloan to do some work on my blog, they have just launched Annie Sloans Chalk paint into New Zealand. I am actually preparing the launch post as we speak.

    Did you need to put an undercoat on or sand or did you just paint over the cabinet as is?

    I am going to do a few pieces myself (tackle some of my mums things I still have) and also I have someone else painting an antique French dressing table to feature, I am very excited. I know you have had this paint some time in the USA, when we get anything new to New Zealand its really exciting 🙂


    • That’s great, Lee, happy for you! That’s the beauty of Annie Sloan paint, no sanding or priming is required.

    • Hi..im thinking about painting my china cabinet. Do I only have to use chalk paint of can regular paint be used?

    • Hi, Ashley, you can definitely use regular paint too, just be aware if the piece is really glossy you need to lightly sand or paint on primer first. The good thing about chalk paint is no primer or sanding.

  3. that turned out beautifully! i know you said your niece is in new orleans. i’m very familiar with the area & just curious if you’d be willing to share what general part of new orleans she is in? old metairie, lakeview, northshore? her house is spectacular & i was just trying to get an idea of what part of n.o. they found such a fabulous house in. i totally understand if you can’t share this info though!

    • Hi, Marissa, I don’t think she’d mind, they are in Metairie, near Lakeview. Her hubby’s parents live not far, near Lake Vista and I still get confused on all of that. But, it’s a great family area, I think they will love it.

  4. Wow! She got a great deal for $400! Looks very heavy and substantial. Must have taken a lot of time to paint all that trim detail. Nice work!

  5. Wow, that is beautiful! I love painting and distressing furniture…..especially the distressing part!

  6. Hi Rhoda,
    Bravo! I love the way this cabinet turned out. I do not care for too much chippy, shabby and it looks like you let just enough of the dark show through. The Duck Eggs Blue on the mirrors is perfect!

    2013 Artists Series

  7. Love this so much I blogged about it. Amazing to see it freshened up.

  8. This is gorgeous!!! Can you tell us how much paint you ended up using? Also, I checked out the Stylish Patina site and she’s all sold out! I guess I’ll have to keep hunting down an online retailer as the nearest retail store is over 2 hours away! 🙁

    • Hi, Sarah, it did take us 2 quarts of Old White for this piece. There are a lot of retailers, so I’m sure you can find one to ship it to you.

  9. Rhoda, you and your niece did a fabulous job on the china cabinet. I like that you left just a bit of wood peeking through and didn’t heavily distress it. I personally like mixing painted wood with some painted wood pieces. I think the heavily distressed wood look will go out of style eventually, but if pieces are mixed well for a sort of cottage/european look it will never go out of style. I live mixing rustic with classic for an interesting look. I’m not one for following trends unless it’s with accessories. Fifteen years ago I bought some gorgeous tables for my finished basement that will never go out of style. The top of the tables are rustic and look like old spanish doors and the bottom is wrought iron. I think if we buy classic pieces that we adore, then we will love them for years to come. Yes, having a whole house full of all painted furniture will go by the wayside, but wait 10-15 years and it will be back.

    • Oops, should have proofread my comment. Meant to say, love mixing unpainted wood with painted wood pieces. 🙂

  10. Also forgot to mention that I love that you painted over the mirror with duck egg blue. Didn’t think you could paint mirrored surfaces with Annie Sloan paint.

  11. I’m so glad I found your site! I have a very similar china cabinet that I’ve been dying to repaint. The dark wood isn’t my style and the mirrored back is dated. I just found an Annie Sloan stockist near me and picked up the color chart yesterday! I was debating about which color to use so it’s great to see pictures of the Old White – I think I’ll go with that as well. I also wanted to paint over the mirrors in the back and it’s great to see that works so well – I love the blue color. Thanks!

  12. I love what you did with this china cabinet. I want to do the same thing with mine, but paint the mirror red. How many quarts of paint did it take for the china cabinet? Mine is a little smaller and I will leave the inside not done – as you did. Before ordering paint, I would like to know how much of each thing — paint for the white, paint for the mirror, wax ???

    Thanks so much – beautiful job!

    • Hi, Dana, I think 2 cans for the wood part of the cabinet since it was so big. One can (partially used one) for the mirror. Wax goes a long ways so it can be used moderately, one can lasts a long time.

    • Beautiful!!! I’m doing mine now. Quick question did you do ombré on the mirror it looks lighter towards the bottom? I’m gonna do mine ombré.

    • HI, Sharon, no it’s all solid aqua. Might be the lighting in the pic.

  13. Marianne Schmidt says


    I was so happy when I searched “chalk painted china cabinets” and your’s come up. I have the exact cabinet and table with chairs to match. I am moving to Florida and thought the set is too heavy for a Florida home, but after seeing your transition I have changed my mind. I have decorated the home in a soft country French romantic decor with a very slight coastal farmhouse look. It is coming along beautifully and I think the refurbished china will make an interesting piece in the farm kitchen. I know crystal in a china cabinet is not in vogue these days but love my crystal and enjoy looking at it. This will help me blend in the old and the new. Thanks.


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  2. […] Ever wanted to paint furniture – head on over to Southern Hospitality to refresh those second hand pine pieces: http://southernhospitalityblog.com/repainted-china-cabinet/ […]

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