Old wood china hutch. How can I update it interestingly?

by ANA
I want to cheer up this old (no idea the kind of wood) hutch, china, curio. One of the glass panes broke. I thought of replacing all with mesh or just replacing the single glass pane. I am tired of the brown wood color. The blue tape was just to keep doors close while moving.
  26 answers
  • Tone Tone on Dec 03, 2014
    What a lovely hutch! I see several possibilyties for it;) What about milkpaint in grainsack or trophy? Or just plain white? You could take out the glass and put in chicken wire instead and give it a cottage feal? Or maybe curtains on the inside of the doors? that would give it a more cheek, romantic feal?
  • Tone Tone on Dec 03, 2014
    And the shelf on the top there could be used to place several wire baskets:)
  • Elizabeth Poteat Elizabeth Poteat on Dec 03, 2014
    Looks like it may be used as a gun cabinet.
  • Kristen Kristen on Dec 03, 2014
    the wood is beautiful. paint would ruin it.
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Dec 03, 2014
    This a beautiful piece as it is. For something different, wallpaper the insidewith a design you like or even use fabric. Use a removable material that so you can change it later on if youchoose. See for example http://www.hometalk.com/diy/kitchen-dining/kitchen-dining-furniture/restoring-a-buffet-hutch-with-wallpaper-2973117. Adding a light inside will also brighten yourpiece as well as the items you store inside. I am sure there are similar projects onHometalk to inspire you.
  • Donna Donna on Dec 03, 2014
    I have been looking for a cabinet like this for our bathroom! Do not get rid of the glass! (replace the broken piece) This would be great for storing towels and other bathroom necessities in an attractive way and would keep the items protected from dust and steam! Glas shelving really opens up a snsmall bathroom in ways that a cabinet cannot. You could paint the inside shelves a fresh light white or neutral color to brighten things up. If you can restore the wood on the outside, do it! Otherwise, Annie Sloan chalk paint in old white with a dark wax would be lovely.
  • Wendy Johnson Wendy Johnson on Dec 03, 2014
    I am not opposed to paint but dislike white if it is not done well. Look on ebay and you will see many poorly done unsold old pieces. Other colors tend to look better. Find some boards on pinterest and see what you like if painting is what you like. And Wire is very casual so unless that is the look you want I would either replace the glass or just leave that one empty until you decide/can afford. Again look on pinterest for possible ideas.
    • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Jan 02, 2015
      @Wendy Johnson I would go to pinterest. They have so many boards with great examples of painted furniture. I agree, just painting something white does not mean its going to look like you want. Make it something that fits in your home.. You can check my board out. Its called Painted Furniture and its got all kinds of china cabinets that are painted. https://www.pinterest.com/terragazelle/painting-furniture/
  • Christi Gordon Christi Gordon on Dec 03, 2014
    I would agree with replacing glass with hex wire (chicken wire) to add charm and open it up, you could still add curtains too if you think you need an even more "cottagey" feel, and I would chalk paint and distress the exterior in a color that suits it's surroundings(all the raised detail on top will look GREAT!) plus I also like the wall papered or fabric on the interior idea or contrast paint color even in a pattern to add more dimension and pop...it will completely transform it! Add a skeleton key with a pretty tassel and you'll be good to go! Whatever you do, HAVE FUN & ENJOY! Here are two similar pieces that were both that same brown, and we added some paint and wire to...
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  • Cynthy Cynthy on Dec 03, 2014
    I had my second-hand 1940s china cabinet painted red by the antique shop I bought it from for $200. The owner wanted to "shabby chic" it but that just isn't my style. Love the red and is a definite statement piece in my small dining room! Also found a gate-leg table for $200, kept it wood (no paint). Then online I found folding chairs with wooden backs and upholstered seats. Take chairs out as needed, keep behind room divider when not. Perfect solution to my apartment dining room.
  • Luann Luann on Dec 04, 2014
    Replace the glass. Clean it up, and leave it alone.
  • Margaret Adamski Margaret Adamski on Dec 04, 2014
    Luann, Agreed Only replace window. maybe need sandpaper with light damage after that . Same wood paint or nature paint without shine?
  • Swan Road Designs Swan Road Designs on Dec 04, 2014
    I wouldn't paint it. Instead, I'd have a thin mirror cut to fit the whole back, have 1/4-inch thick glass shelves made to go inside and, finally, install a soft light at the top (inside). Once finished, you could use it to display your china or special keepsakes.
  • ANA ANA on Dec 04, 2014
    Oh my!!! how creative. Thanks for helping me really SEE THE POSIBILITIES in this piece. I am loving it again. thanks.
  • Cindy Cindy on Oct 28, 2016
    I had an old hutch that I sanded and spray painted... Most annoying part was covering the glass but turned out really good! I also found some ceramic knobs that was the inspiration for the interior color blue. Gotta love Hobby Lobby!
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  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Oct 28, 2016
    Please don't paint.
  • Sue Sue on Oct 29, 2016
    Take doors off and make coffee bar out of it.
  • Cindy Cindy on Jan 20, 2017

    It is a big decision. Mine was a veneer so for me it was a no brainer but I can see the hesitation for real wood!

  • Colomedicaid Colomedicaid on Jan 22, 2017

    Plastic laminate for glass replacement. cheap easy to work wirh and cut durable and appears as good as real glass

  • Cindy Cindy on Jan 26, 2017

    It is a commitment because stripping paint is a PAIN!!!

  • Tiffany Tiffany on Feb 01, 2017

    I am aware of the value of antiques and also the pain of stripping paint if I changed my mind later; however, I just hated the look of the old-fashioned wood in my otherwise modern dining room. I wanted to keep the piece because it has been in my husband's family for awhile, so I asked if anyone cared if I modernized it. Since no one objected, I went to work disassembling it. I took out the glass and took off the back panel and went to work filling imperfectionsand sanding it to prepare.

    I took a piece similar to yours, replaced all hardware with brushed nickel hidden hinges and modern knobs of various, coordinating shapes. I painted it black and painted the inside back panel a modern tan color to make my dishes pop. I have modern black wine glasses and white and silver dishes, so I wanted a neutral pop of color that I wouldn't grow sick of. I wasn't about to dot his project again. It took a majorly long time. Here are the pictures. I am very happy with it!

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  • ANA ANA on Feb 02, 2017

    Thanks for the idea! This is different.

  • Elise Wolf Elise Wolf on Mar 04, 2021

    Restore a finish turns old wood into stunningly beautiful art. Remember, most of the wood these pieces are made from are old growth, fine grain woods that we will never ever have again as it has all been logged. Look at the incredibly close grain and compare that with today's pieces. You do not have to refinish these to make them look splendid, simply use something like restore-a-finish. Do not use dark wood polishes, it stains the grain. Use this product and then update knobs or take the ornate top off of a hutch to make it more modern. Some of this wood is straight out of the rainforest, which we are losing state-sized amounts of by the day or half day.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 27, 2022

    You could replace glass with Plexiglass or Radiator cover front (cut out MDF ) or plastic mesh etc. You could remove the finish by sanding and re-stain or paint.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jan 16, 2023

    Hello, ANA, hope this helps you out. You can make this look country chic with a coat of chalk paint in your favorite color!


  • Mogie Mogie on Sep 05, 2023

    You would get an instant update by removing the scalloped wood work at the top.

  • Dee Dee on Sep 05, 2023

    Depending on your decor I would paint it a fun color and put a wallpaper backing. I would get etching cream and either etch or stencil the glass in an interesting pattern. You can get stencils on line or in Hobby Lobbyor Michaels