Asked on Jan 20, 2020

How can I make over a dining room built-in hutch?

Lindsey A MahoneyJennifer Howard| Cottage On Bunker HillJanice


I have a modern contemporary home (I'll post pictures) and the dining room area is the only place left that has me stumped. I have leftover flooring I thought of using as the countertop and I'm not quite sure what to do with the rest of the area. I'm open to painting it an accent color (either the wall or even inside the top hutch) all the way to taking the top hutch out and replacing it with floating shelves. I need ideas please! (First pictures posted are the living area and last ones are the hutch area)

17 answers
  • Nan W.
    on Jan 20, 2020

    Sandy: what a beautiful house!!

    My suggestion (the cheapest way first) is to paint the back walls of inside the hutch! (Those red vases look like a nice pop of color --- perhaps you might consider a deep red color inside.). Good luck!

    on Jan 20, 2020

    What a beautiful light-filled home you have! I think what might be dating the built in hutch is how the upper cupboards were installed? With the center higher? I would suggest removing them all and installing them so that they are level with each other. I agree that wood on the top of the unit would update it too - maybe something warmer in color? Then some sort of "backsplash" that you love - it could even be wallpaper. You could pull a color from that and paint the built-in something less neutral maybe? If you don't love the hardware that's an easy switch. Have fun with it! :)

  • Kathy Gunter Law
    on Jan 20, 2020

    Paint it black or dark to match the table. Definitely paint the uppers to match the lowers in white if you don't want to go with a dark color. Remove the middle section of the top and either leave open or glass shelves. Possibly you can remove the arched doors and square the opening of the middle section. Change the pulls to something thinner to go with the thin metal of the chandelier. I like the flooring idea. Perhaps back wall area could have a metal tile or contemporary wallpaper. If you keep the uppers, you could only do the area between the lower and uppers.

  • Maura White
    on Jan 20, 2020

    Great ideas already listed here! I agree with leveling the top shelves so they are even, adding a neutral backsplash, and painting the inside of the cupboards a bold color!

  • Sharon
    on Jan 20, 2020

    I would paint the interior of the cabinets with a pop of color and add lighting, then display some contemporary glass pieces or decorative plates inside. Hit up some thrift stores to find great 50s large bright glass pieces.

  • DD
    on Jan 20, 2020

    You have a lovely home

    Depending on how much work you want to do and if you like the idea of doors keep you from having to dust shelves all the time. So that said

    Either remove the middle unit and add glass shelves I would get a contemporary wall covering and pick up the silver and red accents and cover the back of the area of the upper section

    Then I would either find a color in the covering or perhaps a deep gray pain the inside of the upper's so that your glass on the inside of the cabinets pop

    Good luck with your project would love to see the finished results!!

  • Unique Creations By Anita
    on Jan 20, 2020

    Maybe remove the doors and paint the inside to match the wall and use the shelves as a display. You have a stunning home😍

  • Cristine Schwartzberg
    on Jan 20, 2020

    I would remove the upper cabinets and replace with floating shelves offset against each other. I would replace the doors on the lower cabinet with flat front doors and contemporary hardware.

  • Lucky Home Today
    on Jan 20, 2020

    I only see one picture here. But you could add some floating shelves which have been stained to match your floor.

  • Jill Downes
    on Jan 20, 2020

    love, love,love your living space!!! i think I would try to update the look of the

    upper cabinets...make them "clean lines". Remove the doors completely. Measure across..wall to wall and from back wall to front of Cabinet. Have your local home store cut 2 of these. Place one under the cabinets, flush with the bottom and one across the top...I would place the top board about 6 inches above the middle cabinet......this will basically give you a bookcase. You can mount the upper board with some L brackets and trim the new boards with a thin flat piece of wood, paint it all up. My other tip... i like to change colors a lot, so when i want to add color to my shelves, instead of paint or tile, I find fabric and use it to wrap a piece of foam board that i cut to fit from the dollar store. Wrap it like a present and use duct tape to hold it. Place the whole thing against the back of the shelf and boom! instant color.

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom
    on Jan 21, 2020

    Gorgeous house! I think painting the built-in hutch area is a great idea. You can add a fun pop of color to the wall area or add some patterned wall paper. I also like the idea of removing the cabinets and adding floating shelves. This site has lots of built-in ideas:

  • Kelly Denoyer Russell
    on Jan 21, 2020

    I’d leave cabinets and make a feature wall. Geometric wallpaper on the wall itself or on the backside of the uppers maybe some geometric contact paper. Something that attaches easily enough to change out in a few years if you like. Then I’d change your chandelier to something like this.

  • Columbia GB
    on Jan 21, 2020

    I agree, the cabinets are awkward and don't fit the design. Do as your gut tells you and replace them with floating shelves.

  • Flipturn
    on Jan 21, 2020

    The room is an awkward angular shape, wider at the front, and narrow at the back. The sight lines, being predominately vertical after narrowing in towards the back wall, almost make the space seem like a triangle.

    Having the middle section of the cabinets raised, the direction of the rectangular table, and the chopped up flooring, don't help.

    Here's what I would do:

    1. Replace the rectangular table with a round table. (How often do you use the six chairs? If not often, then keep only four on display.) Adding a round shape will soften the sharp lines of the room, and widen the back wall.
    2. The silver wall art is too small for the size of the wall, and is not dimensional enough. Replace it with an oversized mirror, or colourful artwork. This will open up the flat wall, give it depth, and help to balance the opposite window wall.
    3. Remove the upper tier of the cabinets and replace with a wall-to-wall width floating shelf. This will give needed horizontal sight lines to the back wall. Use this shelf to display selected colourful and textured decor items.
    4. Remove the little table on the left side. It looks dinky, does not enhance the space, and is too lightweight for the heavier jugs.
    5. If budget permits, I would also suggest replacing the darker floor with tiles that match, or are similar in color and texture to the other flooring tiles. This would enlarge the space and eliminate the jagged sight lines of the present flooring.
  • Janice
    on Jan 22, 2020

    Many great suggestions already shown here. I would be inclined to remove the top cabinets completely or at the very least remove the doors to provide open shelving. The cabinets would look more modern if they were level but the rounded top cabinet door in the middle really doesn't look modern. I'd suggest removing the upper cabinetry and seeing how much you like that, unless you need the area for storage.

  • I I would take down the cabinets and do floating shelves; I think it fit better with your aesthetic. You have such a beautiful home!

  • Lindsey A Mahoney
    on Jan 22, 2020

    Your home is beautiful! My recommendation would depend on what you you need the most. If you want more storage, I would keep the cabinets but align the upper cabinets evenly on the wall. If you want to highlight more of your pretty dining room dinnerware, definitely add a few floating shelves to the space.

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