A huge thank you to D. Lawless Hardware, for providing the beautiful pulls and handles for today’s home update!
My husband and I gave the hallway between the kids’ two rooms a big refresh by painting the built-in linen cabinets!
This improvement project has been on our list since we moved in, two years ago. Every time we walked past the old wood cabinets, as you’ll see below, we got a major itch to paint! The varnish was overly glossy, sticky, and uneven. The space looked dated and just wasn’t reaching its full potential. We have hardwood floors, so the wood on wood look just wasn’t doing it for us, especially with the original color of the wood.
We wanted to replace it with something fresh and bold that would also preserve the “old style charm” of our 1950’s home. We didn’t want to erase the incredible history of our beloved mountain home.
So we gave it a major face lift, using an antique painting technique and some beautiful tarnished copper pulls, and here’s what it looks like now!
I’m going to provide a quick “how to” on the method we used to give these cabinets a rustic yet modern look. When we began sanding off the varnish, we realized that the original wood was great quality and gorgeous, so we ended up deciding it would be a shame to paint all the way over it. I had bought a gallon of Very Navy paint by Behr, knowing we wouldn’t be able to fully cover these things with just a quart. But it ended up that all we needed was a quart or less!
We first sanded the cabinet fronts and backs, drawers, and frame/body with fine grit sand paper (ours was 120). Be sure to sand all the varnish off, because the paint will not stick to it! We used an electric sander for the cabinet doors and drawer fronts and sanded the frame by hand, then wiped everything down with a dry cloth to remove all the dust.
We watered the paint down by mixing up two plastic cups of water to one plastic cup of paint. It will be super runny, so you’ll want to cover the floors well to catch drips. We took the drawers outside to work on them. Then, using a quality bristled brush, dip the brush and get some of it off so it won’t drip, then paint in strokes, going with the grain. You’ll see as it dries, that the paint will settle into the wood and some of it will show through, so the pretty grain will still be evident.
The more coats of paint you add, the more coverage you will achieve. We did two coats. Allow the paint to dry fully between coats. At this point, you can choose to varnish or not. Varnish will protect the wood and make it so you can wipe things off of it. I would recommend varnish if the cabinets are in an area of high traffic (e.g. the kitchen). I ended up painting one coat of varnish and then sanding it mostly off with 320 grit sandpaper because I didn’t like the look of it and these cabinets shouldn’t be getting dirt or food spots on them since they are in a hallway by bedrooms.
And then came the really exciting part where we got to add the “cabinet jewelry”, as we like to call it! We selected these beautiful distressed antique copper cup pulls from D. Lawless Hardware because we wanted something that would really “pop” against the navy and also not look too “new” since we were going for the heirloom look.
If you look closely, you can still see all the dings in the wood from many years of wear and tear. But I love it because it gives these cabinets so much character! And we’re certainly not trying to hide the fact that they are old. 🙂
We added these pretty bronze and copper rope pulls to the cupboard doors.
We are so pleased with how this project turned out! I can’t help but smile every time I walk past our newly-updated, antique-looking linen cupboards! This deep blue color with distressed copper pulls was just what this space needed!
We’re still in full “home update” mode, so I can’t wait to show you what else we’ve got up our sleeves in the coming months!
If you liked this post, be sure to check out these other home update projects!