Asked on May 8, 2013

How can I Fix up this piece of furniture?

TracyLorraine depaolo st.georgeGail Salminen


We've had this cubbie unit (bought at target 5 years ago) in my daughters room and the top started peeling away some time ago. I'm pretty sure it started after water spilled and it wasn't wiped up right away. I'd really like to fix it up and have no clue how! There are so many amazing furniture revivals on Hometalk so I hope all you revival experts can give me some direction and advice! I'm not looking to do a major revival, I'm more interested in fixing the peeling top and shelves. Thanks
13 answers
  • KMS Woodworks
    on May 8, 2013

    This is one of the biggest pitfalls to "particle board" furniture and cabinets. when they get wet they turn to mush and can just fall apart. There is some minor risk here of it holding together so don't set you hopes too high. The simplest "fix" would be to paint it. granted there would be some minor surface irregularities. next up would be to apply a new "skin" to it using some veneer or melamine type sheeting. because this is a small item and not a whole counter top, you many have a difficult time find small pieces. From a cost stand point it would not make much sense to by a full 4 x 8 foot sheet. you could also cover it with adhesive shelf paper...this again is a simple cosmetic fix and will improve its looks somewhat but not help in the structural area.

  • Kimberly C
    on May 8, 2013

    You could try applying the textured, paintable wallpaper or the peel & stick vinyl tiles (I use these under my sink for easy cleanup and they have the grout look built in.

  • Victoria D
    on May 9, 2013

    Good old contact paper I found some new ones that are really pretty.

  • Marcy
    on May 9, 2013

    @KMS Woodworks , @Kimberly C and @Victoria D thank you! Why didn't I think about that ? :) Your suggestions are great- and inexpensive which is what I wanted! Contact paper/printable wallpaper etc- great idea, I'm going to do that.

  • Tammi V
    on May 9, 2013

    I was going to suggest paintable wallpaper, but I see Kimberly already has. I'll just add my endorsement to the suggestion.

  • Jessica C
    on May 9, 2013

    You could look into using a piece of stick on laminate that you can buy at Home Depot or a similar store. I know it comes in different widths, not sure if it would be big enough for your project. Otherwise, I would buy a new laminate board and put it over the top of the cabinet. If it's the same color no one would ever know it wasn't supposed to be there.

  • Wynona
    on Aug 27, 2014

    Can paint it first use a primer at two to three coats and paint it also be sure to use a sealer after paint it no need to sand it :)

  • Nancy Merrell
    on Dec 20, 2014

    Had similar problem...primer is wet so made more swelling. Next time I will thin down wood putty, smooth on a thin coat and when completely dry, lightly sand then paint. The putty I used could be thinned with water.

  • Julie Benson-Grant
    on Dec 20, 2014

    For the money you might spend on repairing it, you'd be better off purchasing something new - even used - as long as it is of better quality. I'd check CraigsList in your city or estate sales and even garage sales. Good luck!

  • Deborah Jenkins-Mann
    on Dec 20, 2014

    What would happen if you flipped it upside down? How is the bottom holding up ? You could add feet and dress it up a little.

  • Gail Salminen
    on Dec 21, 2014

    @Marcy an easy classic look finish is inexpensive and very easy to do. I did this with an old particle board bookshelf. If you go to Ashley's site (mentioned in the post) you will find a few more links to the process. I have posted some lessons learned when I did this project. Let us know what you do with pics - thanks for posting.

  • Lorraine depaolo
    on Dec 21, 2014

    use the brown paper technique w/ modpodge

  • Tracy
    on Jan 14, 2015

    I would use fabric stretched tight and secured with staples on the underside or use flat metal thumb tacs to hold the fabric on in a pattern. I also like Deborah Jenkins-Mann idea of flipping it upside down.

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