Kicking off the week with my recent china cabinet makeover before and after! I love seeing other people’s furniture makeovers and Facebook Marketplace finds so I was excited to transform this one and share it with you all! I found this vintage china cabinet on Facebook Marketplace for $175 (!) and fell in love with the fretwork overlay and the idea of bringing more storage to our dining room, which is admittedly one of the least finished spaces in our home and yet one we walk through every day. There are so many traditional pieces like this one readily available and priced affordably these days as they can feel a little old-fashioned, but I knew we could use the additional space for glassware and serving pieces and was excited to breathe new life into it with a coat of paint that would make the wood details pop.

china cabinet makeover before and after on design darling

shirt  //  jeans


“I can’t believe you would paint a china cabinet!” I received more than one message like this on Instagram and I know there are many purists out there who recoil at the mere suggestion of painting wood furniture, but I say “you do you” when it comes to what will make you happy in your home and beyond! Our dining room already has an old pine credenza that I love from my childhood home and the dark stain on this china cabinet was in a totally different color family, so I knew I wanted to go in a different direction. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely gotten more excited about adding more traditional wood pieces to our home (like this dresser in our living room, another Facebook Marketplace find!), but I prefer a mix of finishes as opposed to the formality of all matching dark wood furniture. I also think painting a very traditional piece like this china cabinet gives it a much more casual feel, which feels appropriate for our young family and the way we personally live in our home, but there are plenty of similar pieces available if the dark wood is more your style!

china cabinet makeover before

china cabinet before

china cabinet makeover before and after

…and china cabinet after!


I happen to love painting myself — I think I painted six or seven rooms in our house just before Teddy was born! — but I knew this was a job for a professional given the intricate woodwork on the top of the piece and the fretwork overlay on the glass doors. My go-to furniture painter had closed during the pandemic (I was devastated!) but thankfully I found another local painter who did a fantastic job. Of course the paint job cost significantly more than I paid for the piece in the first place, but the all-in cost was still much less than it would have been to purchase a new china cabinet of comparable quality. If you’re local and looking to have kitchen cabinets or furniture painted, you can call or text Victor at (203) 280-3444. He did an incredible job in a pretty short amount of time and actually delivered the piece to our home so we didn’t have to worry about damaging the paint job in the trunk of our car. I seriously need to prioritize creating my Fairfield County guide so I can share resources like this in one place, but a bunch of you requested his information via Instagram so there you go! 

painting china cabinet makeover before and after


Any room in our house that isn’t wallpapered is painted in Behr Ultra Pure White in a satin finish, but I didn’t want to paint this china cabinet the exact same paint color white as our walls. I do plan to add wainscoting and wallpaper to our dining room in the future, so I chose a slightly more traditional / less bright white shade, Benjamin Moore White Dove, to make over this piece. The Oomph side tables in our living room are painted this shade and it’s a slightly warmer white than our walls so I knew I would like it in our dining room as well! But I always recommend pulling swatches and/or painting samples since paint colors read so differently from room to room and certainly from house to house. I chose White Dove in high gloss for this piece and the finish is gorgeous in person!

I hope you enjoyed this little before and after! Maybe it will even inspire some of you to breathe new life into old pieces you’re holding onto? You can’t underestimate the impact of a fresh coat of paint!

*photos by Julia Dags


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  1. Ahhh!! Just reached out to him. We are in Fairfield and have a few pieces we definitely need refinished! Thanks for this recommendation!

  2. Well done-I love the contrast of the slightly warmer white! You’ll have so much fun filling it with treasures over the years!

    Just a thought-as I used to rep William Yeoward and Baccarat-your flutes, etc will last longer if you store them with the stems down, but they do look lovely! What a fun makeover. It’s perfect for your room. 💙

  3. that looks fabulous and fits much better into the style of your home! I have painted many pieces–just because it is wood, doesn’t mean it looks best that way!

  4. It turned out great! I need to find someone in Chicago to do this for us, as our new house came with an amazing China cabinet.

    1. This looks amazing! I have a cabinet just like this & need to paint it as we just moved and the dark wood doesn’t match. How many coats of paint did he use?

  5. Love it! I also go through the same cycle when deciding to paint wood furniture. I like incorporating beautiful family pieces when I can but do not like matching sets or super dark furniture. Also in this case, it was $175! I say go for it. It turned out wonderful.

  6. It is beautiful painted but I am surprised you didn’t put one of your beloved blues on the back wall of it. Thanks for posting the pictures!

    1. Ooooh that would be pretty and would make the white china pop, but don’t underestimate Mackenzie, she probably has something up her sleeve once she finishes the dining room. I would however have polished the brasses to lessen the contrast.