How I Turned a Vintage Cabinet Into a DIY Kitchen Pantry (for my Small Kitchen)

If your kitchen is in need of additional storage, but you have limited funds (and space), this easy DIY kitchen pantry tutorial might just be the inspiration you need to get started on your own upcycling project !

by 

Pinterest image graphic -diy kitchen pantry makeover

OK. So this might actually be one of my favourite DIY  projects to date! And there’s been quite a lot to fall in love with over the years, so that’s really saying something. Everyone . . . meet my new DIY kitchen pantry!


Styled shot of diy kitchen pantry with doors wide open, and four shelves displaying dried food in glass containers and other kitchen ware


Seriously, I am in LOVE! I can’t stop staring at it!

I also still can’t quite believe it’s mine! 

But I should probably  show you how this cabinet started out though, just so you can appreciate the absolute GLOW UP!

 

before look at vintage cabinet stained a mahogany colour

 

 I bought this cabinet off eBay at the beginning of the year… right at the end of our final UK Lockdown . The shop I bought it from was based in London –  a little too far out for me to collect, so I got it delivered to my home via a really handy shipping service called Shiply . Even with the extra  cost of packaging and delivery, it was still a total bargain price wise.

Close up of detail on vintage cabinet

 

I intentionally forgot to tell my husband that we were expecting a large delivery so on the day that it arrived,  I could see some of the veins in his neck bulging ever so slightly. Followed by ‘what has she bought now?’ mutters under his breath as he and the delivery guy carried it into the dining room. 

After 11 years of marriage, we both know our roles in this scenario. He pretends to be annoyed /disgruntled about the things I buy, and I pretend to ignore him.  To the outside eye, it might not look like the most harmonious of relationships but it actually is. We love it really. It’s our thing ha!

The cabinet was stained a brownish reddish colour and truthfully didn’t really match any of my existing decor. It had so much potential though – all it needed was a mini face lift to restore it to a newfound glory!

Inside of vintage cabinet. Cabinet is painted a bright red inside

And we all know how much I love giving furniture mini face lifts right? It’s kind of my thing.  Remember this ombré effect dresser, and this rustic chest of drawers makeover ?

MATERIALS NEEDED FOR THIS DIY PANTRY MAKEOVER:

This post may contain affiliate links. .It is a way for this site to earn advertising fees by advertising or linking to certain products and/or services.  Please read my full disclosure Please see disclosure page here.

 

HOW TO TURN A CABINET INTO A DIY KITCHEN PANTRY 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Medina (@grillodesigns)

 

The process took three days in total to complete (I’ve just had a baby so I had to do most of my painting at night while he was sleeping). Whenever I paint furniture – I always follow these steps I’m about to share with you below. This 5 step (sometimes 6) process hasn’t failed me yet. 

1. SANDING

Because of it’s size, sanding something like this needs to be done in a  space with lots of ventilation (you can expect lots of sawdust flying around). Thankfully I have a garden, which makes sanding a lot more easier – there’s less clean up for a start! 

 

Vintage cabinet in the garden

Don’t forget to whip out a sanding face mask for this step. 

To remove the heavy layers of stain, I started off with a 160  grit and slowly worked up to 80 grit with my orbital sanding machine. This is the packet of sandpaper I used .

 

Image of my hand sanding the side of the vintage cabinet with an orbital sander

 


I felt very tempted to do a really thorough sanding to expose the wood rather than paint, but decided against it after some thought.  I felt there was already a lot of wooden textures in my kitchen (which for those who might know is still undergoing a very slow renovation that I will be blogging about soon) .

This is how the cabinet  looked after 20 minutes of sanding. Very uneven, but that didn’t matter as I knew  all I needed was a rough surface for the paint to go on smoothly.

How the cabinet looks after a 20 minute session of sanding

 

I also sanded the shelves. I intended to keep them natural so this time sanding process was a little more thorough. 

 

Medina is holding the sanding machine in her left hand over the cabinet shelves

2.PREPPING

Remember that post I wrote a while back about how to paint glass panel doors… well that’s what I used to guide me through this next step.

I chose the frog tape method because …. well I remember just how mundane scraping the paint off after was. But if you don’t have frog or masking tape to hand, or maybe would just prefer to be a little more environmentally conscious and use less plastic tape, you can skip straight to the painting step and scrape off any excess paint on the glass after.

 

frog tape on the glass panels of the vintage cabinet

3.PRIMING

To prime the wood before painting, I used Valspar Wood Primer (I have also used this one in the past) . FYI, If you’re painting with a brand that already has a built in primer like like Frenchic for example-  you can skip the priming step and just start with the top coat. That’s what I did in this tutorial. 

 I applied the primer with a foam roller to both the inside and outside of the cabinet, using a paint brush for all the corners.

 

 

medina holding valspar wood primer in left hand

 

Here is how the cabinet  looked after one coat. 

 

vintage cabinet in dining room with one coat of primer
4. PAINTING

I originally planned to paint the outside of the  cabinet yellow, but later switched to ‘coal tipple’ because I wanted more of a contrast. It’s the exact same colour that I used to paint my bedroom walls and internal doors of my home. Again this all needs to be applied with a roller for a more smooth finish. 

 

Coal tipple paint on vintage cabinet, Doors wide open so you can see the red backing

 

For the insides of the cabinet I used a white chalk paint. Note I didn’t paint the  backing of the cabinet because I intended to wallpaper it. 

 

Image of good homes white chalk pain in hand

5. WALLPAPERING

I fell in love with this wallpaper  the moment I saw it. It has a modern, yet farmhouse feel to it that just draws the eyes in.

I applied it to the backing of the cabinet (covering over that horrendous red paint)  with the ready made wallpaper adhesive paste , and trimmed the edges with a sharp knife once it felt dry.

 

Cabinet with leaf wallpaper applied to the inside

 

6. SEALING

All the painted woodwork was sealed with my favorite indoor matt varnish (to prevent any future scratching or chipping). 

Finally I peeled off the frog tape from the glass panels and used a wallpaper scraper to remove any excess paint that had gotten onto the glass. I then placed the shelves back inside and gave the doors panels a good clean! 

 

 

Painted cabinet with shelves back inside

 

 

Close up of shelves inside cabinet

 

And that’s it! A unique looking DIY kitchen pantry! 

Although I’ve styled the pantry for the sake of pictures, I don’t intend to keep it like this. I’ll probably add in a few more baskets, shelves and maybe some curtains to the bottom to hide the not so pretty looking food i.e the canned food. 

 

Close up of items in diy kitchen pantry cabinet

 

 

diy kitchen pantry with doors open so you can see items on shelves

 

What do you think of this makeover? Do you think this has given you enough inspiration to makeover a DIY pantry of your own in the future? Let me know in the comments 

 

I love when you share my projects on Pinterest! Save this DIY PANTRY MAKEOVER  for later by pinning the below photos to your boards!

 

Pinterest graphic how i turned a dated cabinet into a kitchen pantry with a before image

 

before and after pinterest graphic 'diy kitchen pantry makeover'

 

 

HOW TO STAIN WOOD

HOW TO PAINT GLASS PANEL DOORS (LIKE A PRO)

How to paint glass doors pinterest graphic

 

HOW TO REPAIR DAMAGED VENEER BEFORE PAINTING FURNITURE

 

A guide to repairing damaged veneer before applying paint and wax / Grillo Designs www.grillo-designs.com

 

HOW TO GLAZE FURNITURE

 

easy tutorial on how to glaze furniture / Grillo Designs www.grillo-designs.com

8 comments

  1. I, too, have been considering a large display case — though cost is an issue. Thanks for sharing your creativity with us! You’re inspiring.

    Congratulations on your long awaited new born!

  2. Absolutely stunning. In my mind I have already completed project and it is now in my kitchen. Thank you. Xx 💕

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.