From Trash to Treasure Cabinet Makeover

To say this arched hutch cabinet is my best Facebook Marketplace find to date is an understatement! Wow, I got so lucky!

Display cabinets have been so trendy but even if I don't necessarily like to follow just any trend, I've been loving the different display cabinets on the market and I really wanted one! So, you can guess that I had been searching for a little while. Every time I'd find one I loved, the price was quite high, anywhere between $2000 and $6000, which is not a budget I wanted to invest into a cabinet right now.

So, I kept searching and refining my search. I actually built a list of keywords that I'd use to search mainly Facebook Marketplace in the hope that I'd get my hands on one for a decent price. I did find a few that I liked but they would get snatched so fast!

And one day, I fell on this one.... it had everything I wanted... from size to shape but it was outdated and you know how much I love up cycling! So, I immediately messaged the seller. It was posted for FREE!!

The person was moving and needed to get rid of it within 24 h or so, first come first serve basis, he wouldn't reserve it! I said I'd take it and would get back to him within 15 minutes to schedule a time. I knew he wouldn't wait, and I immediately called my husband and asked him if he could change his schedule to get it for me... yikes! which he agreed to cos he knows me better by now :)

I was jumping!!! My husband was not too happy because it was so heavy and he had to bring it down a narrow staircase, but he made it, haha! I immediately knew what I was going to make out of it and I am sharing all the process and sources below. I hope it inspires you to makeover one or any other item you love!


  • Sand paper 220 & 320 grit

  • Wood filler

  • Polycrylic

  • Painters tape

  • Paint brushes (large & small)

  • Roller

  • Spatula

  • Cement contact glue

Cabinet Makeover Process

The cabinet had glass shelves which I removed and a mirror as the back which I also removed and will be making another DIY with it at some point.

I also removed the thin metal trim that was nailed to it on the front as well as the old hardware. Therefore, I started by applying wood filler in the holes left by the trim nails and the hardware because I was going to change them and did not want to be limited to the exact size of the old ones, and the two places where it was damaged.

So, the cabinet is made of real wood but was covered with thick burl wood veneer and my first thought was to remove it. Since it was slightly chipped in 2 places, I tried taking out a little portion but saw that it would be so lengthy and I would probably damage the wood.

So, I shifted gears and opted to paint over it. I had two choices, either prime or lightly sand for the paint to adhere, which I did. I took a 220 grit paper and sanded the entire cabinet by hand to ensure it doesn't get damaged. Then I made another round with a 320 grit paper to ensure the surface is smooth. It was pretty easy to remove the varnish it had and scratch the surface enough to get the paint to adhere!

Ideally, applying a primer would have been even better, but I skipped this part. Once that was done, I wiped the dust from the cabinet and set out to tape and paint. I used Sherwin Williams Iron Ore which is a soft black that I love and painted 3 coats on all the inside and outside, letting each coat dry properly and very lightly hand sanding in between.

Side note: if this happens to you like it did to me (haha)... I forgot to tape the inside of the cabinet thinking that I had already done so since I was seeing the outside tape through the glass! Let's call this me being tired! Anyhow, if it does happen, simply let your paint dry and gently scrape with a razor scraper.

Then, it was time to tackle the back... probably the part that was most lengthy and boring. It was covered with a gold textured aluminum paper. Since I wanted to cover it with flex wood veneer, I wanted to make sure it would adhere and stay on. So, I ventured into removing it by tearing it bit by bit. This afternoon of work turned into a family activity because my kids saw me and wanted to help, and I love this! Slowly but surely, after a few hours, we were able to almost remove it all, enough to be able to stick the flex wood sheet.

So I traced the shape on the flex sheet. Then, I tried ironing it as you'd usually do but the glue wasn't effective enough for it to stick. So, I applied contact cement glue on both sides, let it sit and glued the veneer onto the back. I chose birch veneer because it is light enough with veining to contrast with the dark black color and it would complement the rest of the wood I have in the living room. I initially wanted oak, but couldn't find any in stock at that time. When it was glued, I cut the excess with a cutter.