Recycled and Refinished Ikea Linen Cabinet

Our home is quaint. I am pretty sure that is what it said in the real estate listing, “quaint 1920’s home.” Quaint, which in real estate speak means “real cute” and “real small.” I’ve found that one of the creative challenges for the quaint home owner is closet space, as in there will never be enough.

Our only bathroom has only a small vanity for storage,  and before my husband put his magic hands to use (three cheers for working in a cabinet shop all through high school!) the vanity had no drawers. It now has two. Think about that- two small drawers for all of your brushes, curling irons, lotions, face washes, deodorant, toothpaste, you get the idea. So I set my mind to creating a linen closet where I could store these things. I was dreaming of Wide Open Spaces.

I had in our garage an old Ikea cabinet from about ten years ago. They don’t make it anymore, but it looked most similar to the hemnes storage cabinet, only mine was pine colored and did not have real glass, just a plastic film.


I wanted my cabinet to come out looking something like this inspiration piece I found online:


So I called over my bff and chalk paint expert Maria to help me achieve this look. She helped me disassemble the cabinet, rip out the plastic in the door with a razor blade, and apply black paint on every edge where I would eventually sand away the white, so that the edges would look antiqued. Then in typical Maria fashion she pooped out and convinced me we should watch Lady and the Tramp with her adorable children instead, while eating Thai salad with peanut dressing that I made her.

After she left I sallied forth (can that phrase be used in past tense?) and finished the cabinet myself. Let me know what you think in the comments section! My finished linen cabinet:


For more information about how this was made, keep reading!

Refinished Linen Cabinet

what you’ll need:

  • old piece of furniture
  • baking soda, 1 box
  • paint of your choice
  • brush or sponge
  • pickle jar or other container for mixing paint
  • chicken wire with 1 inch sq. mesh (I bought mine at a local home and ranch store)
  • wire cutters
  • 1 package upholstery nails (or very short nails so you don’t go through the door of your piece)
  • 3-5 hour time commitment-depends a lot on drying time in-between coats of paint

How to do it:

Annie Sloane Chalk Paint (ASCP is not chalk board paint), for those who haven’t used it, is a fantastic but rather expensive product that allows you to paint furniture with a smooth but matte finish without any priming required. Better yet, you don’t really paint it on, you sort of wipe it on like a wood finish until you reach your desired coverage, and you can wipe away the edges as you go to achieve the worn it shabby-chic look. I am cheap and convenience minded so I didn’t use this ASCP.

Instead, I took to pinterest and learned about all of the homemade versions you can try. I used what I had on hand, baking soda and plain White Sherwin Williams paint and it worked like a charm. I used 3 parts white paint to 1 part baking soda, mixed well, and it worked like a charm. After first prepping my piece (removing the door, the plastic in the door frame, and the handle) and painting all edges black (I used acrylic paint and put it on the edges sloppily with a brush) I started applying the homemade chalk paint.

I had been worried about the paint sticking to the fake wood veneer but it went on thick and sticky with nice coverage. I used a flat angled sponge to apply the paint so that I wouldn’t have any lines and could achieve smooth coverage. I let it dry in-between coats while dinking coffee and pinteresting. It took two coats before the black edges were covered. The finish then looked like this, sort of rough and thick:


After the paint dried, I used fine sand paper and gave the whole surface a light sand. This smoothed out the surface quite a bit. Next, I used a medium sand paper around the edges to let the black paint peep through:

Camera360_2013_11_20_083830 Camera360_2013_11_20_083757 Camera360_2013_11_20_083812

Next I finished the door. I cute the chicken wire to the needed width, about 4 inches wider than my opening on all sides. I then held it taut at the bottom and drove in 3 upholstery nails with a hammer, one on each side and one in the center.


I continued this pattern all along the door. I found that it still didn’t have the taut look I wanted so in some areas I added a few staples- why not? It didn’t matter to me that the inside of the door look super finished or professional. We also don’t yet have children to worry about putting their hands through the mesh or cutting their fingers on the edges. I folded down the lose edges of wire with my pliers so that we don’t snag sweater r catch our skin but I wasn’t too concerned about safety over all. If you have kids, you darn well should be!

Finally I put the door back on its hinges, inserted the dry shelves into their hooks and added a handle. This was actually a cabinet pull I had recently removed from my kitchen cabinets so it was handy to be able to re-use it.


Ta-da! If you have any questions, put them in the comments!


The "glass" behind the garden to glass cocktails, Belinda is the owner of the Happy Camper Cocktail Company, bartender, recipe developer, younger sister and karaoke lover.


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