Color Splash: Painted Cabinet

By Kate Riley August 27, 2010

I’m making my way around my four year old boy’s room, slooooowly attempting to spruce it up and give it some real style.   One day when it’s all done, I’ll show you the blah before and you’ll see just how drab it was.  His room, like all kids rooms, was in serious, and I mean serious, need of storage ~  I was stepping on all those Legos in the middle of the night.  For four, he’s usually pretty good at putting those toys away, but since he had no real storage, I really couldn’t get too upset.  But something had to be done ! 

Yet again, I shopped my house for the perfect solution.  We had a tall tower made up of stackable cabinets (purchased here five years ago) that used to sit in the playroom, but since I now want to find a desk in there for homework and art projects, I decided to repurpose these honey wood cabinets for the lad’s room instead. 

Their size couldn’t be more perfect ~ they now sit right next to his closet on a narrow patch of wall space.  Problem ?   They were all scuffed up and I couldn’t visualize the the honey stain look in his room.  And if I don’t get to paint something at least once a month, I start to twitch.   

Some primer, paint, and crown molding transformed these cabinets in a weekend, and gave his room the splash of color it needed, plus the tower provides fantastic storage for all those toys, books, and collected treasures.

Before & After:

honey shelves before and after painting

The interior paint came from a sample found at True Value ~ it’s called ‘New Orleans’.   Once the cabinetry was primed (oil based Zinsser) and painted white, I enlisted the little guy’s help. 

green painted interior


I also added some crown molding to the top just to fancy it up a bit.  My kitchen cabinet installer taught me this little trick for adding crown to a cabinet.  These particular cube sections have a rippled edge on top, so there was no flat front section to attach the crown.   No worries.  We simply built a frame out of 1 x 2” strips of wood, and attached that to the top of the cabinet.  

Notice how I can’t be bothered to paint the back of a cabinet that you’ll never see . . .

crown box


We allowed just enough space on top and around the frame for the crown to ‘sit’ on.  We cut our crown at a 45 degree angle with the compound miter saw and attached it with finish nails to the frame.   Caulk or spackle any gaps, then paint.   

crown framing

And since we live in earthquake country, for safety, I screwed the top cabinet to the wall with some of those Velcro straps. 

The perfect stylish storage solution !

honey cabinets before and after paint

I love love love the bright green interior, and the fresh white paint up against his blue walls !! 

white cabinet little guy

Momma and her little mister are quite happy now that his toys finally have a home.

Ah, the magical power of paint.   



  1. Looks so fresh and inviting! I love that pop of green and the color of the walls. The crown molding is a great way to fancy it up, too.

    (Whatcha got hiding in that basket, kiddo? Hmm?)

  2. Hi there! First of all I love your blog. You have really inspired me. I was wondering if you would share the color on the walls in your son’s room. I am giving my sons room a makeover and I think this is perfect.

  3. Stunning before and after! Such a spectacular and marked difference. The pale green that you painted inside the cabinet makes a huge difference! Gorgeous! (And jealous! Maybe I need to go grab a paint brush…)

  4. Love that shade of green! You did an amazing job transforming that plain cabinet into something spectacular – isn’t it amazing what paint, crown molding and elbow grease can do!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Another stunning makeover. I think my favorite part is that you used something you already had and are brave enough to paint it! The crown molding is a really nice touch thanks for that tutorial!

  6. I love the transformation! It looks so much fresher and cleaner with the white and the green. Especially loving it with the blue wall too. I never would have thought to add crown molding, but it adds a little flair. Great job!

  7. I love the crown molding on the top! I love that you let your little guy help! I love how happy he looks! This is gorgeous!

  8. The power of paint, indeed! LOVE that fresh green inside. Your little DIYer in training always has the cutest smile on his face…like maybe he’s thinking of what he might get into next. The *new* shelving unit looks fantastic!

  9. The cabinet looks fantastic! I am in love with the idea of painting the insides of shelves a contrasting color.
    I have a 1940’s china cabinet that I inherited from my great-grandmother four years ago, and I’ve been debating whether or not to paint it so that it looks more modern. Funny, I have no problem refinishing stuff I’ve bought or found, but when it comes to something inherited it’s not so easy!

  10. I LOVE how that turned out! I especially love the addition of the crown molding (…wheels turning…). Thanks for including the detail pics of that step! Yet another one of your posts that I will bookmark!

  11. I have a painting quesion for you. I have a couple of old Bombay Co. pieces. Do you think the oil based Zinsser would work on their wooden pieces?
    Love your energy and watching you transform things.

  12. LOVE this! I’m always amazed at 1) how much furniture you find in your own house that you can repurpose 2) you can still find something that hasn’t been painted yet! Great job as usual!

  13. I don’t know what is cuter, the bookcase or your son smiling for the camera. What a helper he is. Thanks for sharing this beautiful bookcase, I love the tip about the 1 x 2 ‘s on the top to attach the moulding. It gives me a whole new perspective on cabinets now that I see for cheap but are plain.

  14. Love, Love, LOVE it!!! The green is subtle and yet so perfect to give it that extra “umph”! Love the crown molding idea. Thanks for sharing! Love your blog!

  15. I love it! you just solved my problem with my two country style bookshelves! the color on the interior was a great idea!

  16. Oh that face!! What a cutie patootie!!! And I think its neat that he helped….that way when he gets older he will know that he built that cabinet with Mama :D

  17. Ellie Shannon ~ The color on the walls is La Fonda Villa Fountain’ by Valspar. Gorgeous deep blue teal.

  18. This is really gorgeous! I’ve been waffling on painting shelves but think you gave me that final kick I needed ;)

  19. It is beautiful. I am even more awed by the little amount of stuff you have put in – over here, this would be overflowing!

  20. What a great color scheme! I wish I loved painting as much as you. I pretty much despise it (and I’m really bad at it). My house would look soooo much better if I could develop a love fore painting.

  21. That looks fantastic! I love the colors also and the molding at the top just adds to it….nice job.

  22. I love it. It looks waaaay better. So much more custom. I love the surprise color on the inside. Your little guy is so stinkin cute I want to stick him in my pocket! How old is he? I think he looks like the hubster.

  23. I’m stunned at this transformation. It looks amazing! The crown molding added the magical touch, and the green paint inside makes it a happy piece.

    Your little one is a doll!


  24. What a cute little man you have! Beautiful colors for your boy’s room. I will be adding some crown to an ikea bookshelf tomorrow. Thanks for your post!

  25. Wow, how awesome is that?!? I love it! I also love that you secured them to the wall to ensure safety. As a former Paramedic, that was the first thing I thought of as I was looking at it. :0)

    Thanks so much for sharing. I LOVE all of your projects. They are just amazing!

    Have a great weekend!


    Teresa <

  26. Quick question, how big was the sample jar that you bought? They look like they’d be really good for small paint jobs like that, and it seems like you got a lot of coverage!

  27. I love it!!! I am now walking around my house looking at my furniture wondering “where can I add crown moulding? See what you did! Thanks!!!

  28. I have a question about painting the laminet. What are the benefits for using the oil based paint? Do you know if another type of primer would work? I have 2 laminet pieces I want to paint. Thanks.

    • You can use either an oil based or water based primer Katie, just make sure it has adhesion qualities that bond to laminate (it will tell you on the back label)

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