Upcycled Armoire Cabinet – DIY Farmhouse Cabinet Freebie!

9 Materials
3 Hours

The Hubs and I have been upcycling furniture for over 6 years now. Everyone in our small rural community knows that we love to save junk. It is a good thing, because I have tons of eyes that scout for me. It’s not unusual for me to get a call or text to tell me there is a piece of furniture on the curb or even on the side of the road! The Hubs surprised me one day with this cabinet. And best of all, it was FREE!


A coworker no longer needed it and asked if we could do something with it. Ummmm YES! One of the doors had a major ding and could not be repaired, so we just removed the doors.

Doors Removed

As it sat in my shop, I pondered over it for days, trying to envision what direction to take. I knew it had to be painted. The orange wood was so outdated and so ORANGE.

Supply List:

- Chop Saw

- 220 Grit Sandpaper

- DeWalt Sander

- Sherwin Williams Latex Paint in Savvy Green

- Polycrylic

- Paintbrush

- Brad Nailer

- Minwax English Chestnut

- Wood Strips (cut from scrap wood)

After invading my paint stash (because I was too darn lazy to go to the store), I found this beautiful green by Sherwin Williams I had leftover. I had already made up my mind that I was not painting it white, I wanted color. The color was called “Savvy Green”, a light airy green. Normally, I do use chalk paint, but I did not have any colors in stock that I wanted to use. You do not have to use chalk paint on furniture, if latex paint is more available, go for it! The colors are ENDLESS!

As you all probably know by now, I am a fan of the farmhouse look. I knew I wanted to add wood to this piece. I decided to remove the old, ugly back and use thin wood strips to give it a planked look. The Hubs had scrap wood left over that would be perfect (you can use any wood that you have on hand). He cut the strips to size for me using his chop saw. He sanded the pieces until smooth using 220 grit sandpaper. I then applied Minwax Stain in the color English Chestnut.

Stained Wood

He also built two wood shelving pieces to go inside the cabinet using plywood and cutting it down to size. (Eeeek, I forgot to take a picture ughhh!)

I put the strips aside to dry overnight and started prepping my cabinet. I gave the cabinet a good cleaning, inside and out, with my vinegar and water solution, making sure to allow the cabinet to dry for an hour.

I gave the cabinet one coat of the Savvy Green, allowing it to dry overnight. I painted the inside as well as the two shelving pieces the Hubs constructed. The next day, I applied a second coat and allowed it to dry overnight.

The next day, I applied one coat of Polycrylic to the entire piece and the shelving pieces. I also gave the wood strips one coat. After allowing it to dry for a day, we inserted the shelving pieces using the same clips that came with the cabinet.

Now this is my favorite part. Distressing. I just love the way it makes a piece look worn. I used 220 grit sandpaper and went to town. There is not a wrong or right. I distressed heavily around the edges and drawer edges where normal wear and tear would occur. I also distressed on the sides of the cabinet as well.


The final step was to attach the wood strips to the back using my brad nailer.

I found the pretty knobs for the drawers at Hobby Lobby. They really compliment the wood back. The pulls were brass pulls that I had in my stash. I painted two coats of the Savvy Green and then applied a coat of Polycrylic.


This piece sold the very day I advertised it. Such a beauty now!

Visit me over on the blog for more great projects!



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Christina Faye Repurposed

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Sheri
    on Jul 10, 2019

    You didn't mention it, but did you sand down the whole piece before adding your paint? I have an old hutch I'd like to refinish, but wasn't sure how to paint over the varnish?! (shiny top coat)

    • Christina Faye Repurposed
      on Jul 10, 2019

      Hi Sheri! Sherwin Williams paint has primer built in. I did lightly sand with 220-grit just to rough it up, but not remove anything. The piece was not real wood, so I could not sand too much :-)

  • Angel e
    on Jul 10, 2019

    Is the polycrylic like a clear topcoat sealant? You apply that to the cabinet and then sand it afterwards?

    • Christina Faye Repurposed
      on Jul 10, 2019

      Hi Angel! Yes the Polycrylic is topcoat. I applied one coat. I did not sand afterwards. You can sand in between coats if you plan on adding more than one coat. I only add several coats of poly if I am doing a table top or something that I know will get a lot of use. Thanks!

  • Elisabeth Mackey
    on Jul 10, 2019

    Very inventive and I love that green, so different and pretty. You did an amazing job. I wondered if you wouldn't mind telling us how you advertise your work? I have been redoing furniture fr 2 years and advertise on Craigslist and Marketplace and have not had much luck in making money even though I am told I do good work. Where do you advertise? Thanks!

    • Heje
      on Jul 18, 2019

      Do you stage your pieces and then post the look when selling online? I like to see what they can look like "all dolled up".

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