Refinishing an Older Cupboard to Use as a Great Towel Cabinet

If you need a towel cabinet for your home and you want something unique try using an old cupboard instead of spending a lot of money on a new item. With a bit of work and imagination you will have a great storage piece and a decorative object for your home that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Old cupboard
  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Sandpaper
  • Knobs and hardware
  • Shelf liner
  • Stencil (optional)
  • Decorative paint and brushes (optional)
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Detergent

Step 1 - Clean the Cupboard

Take your old cupboard outdoors and remove drawers if it has them, open doors and then scrub it with hot water with a bit of detergent added. This will remove dirt, grime, furniture polish and odors. Allow it to dry in the sun.

Inspect your cupboard for deep scratches, marks or any other mark that you will want to remove. Use the sandpaper to remove these and smooth the surface. Use the sandpaper to rough up the surface so the paint will have a base to adhere to. Remove all of the old knobs and drawer pulls and set aside if you are going to re-use them or discard.

Step 2 - Prime the Cupboard

Many people will skip the priming step, but for a really nice finished product that will last a long time and withstand a lot of wear, dampness and use, priming is suggested. Oil based primers are the best to use, but latex will work if you are in a hurry for dry time. It is best to use oil based primer in a well ventilated room or outdoors in the shade. Prime the entire piece and allow to dry per manufacturers instructions.

Step 3 - Paint the Cupboard

This step will start to create a design for your home. You may want to get a country chic look by using white or a very pale pastel color. Paint the entire piece, inside and out and allow to dry thoroughly. When dry, use the sand paper to very lightly sand any brush marks or flaws and then paint again.

Step 4 - Adding Design

If you wish to embellish your cupboard that will be your next step. You can add decorative painting, faux finishes, decals or stenciling to further personalize the cabinet and make it more design specific for your room setting.

If you want an old, worn look, use the sandpaper to sand away some of the paint to the old finish in areas where the cupboard would receive wear, such as around knobs, on corners and on edges of shelves. You can also use a second color of paint to add a wash of thin color over the base color to give an designer look.

Step 5 - Finishing

After the paint is dry and all of the decorative accents have been added, put the hardware back on the piece or put on new hardware such as knobs and drawer pulls.

Use shelf liner to line all of the shelves and give the interior a nice finished look. Shelf liners can be obtained at linen stores that are scented with various scents so your linens will smell fresh and clean.