$10 Cabinet Makeover

By Kate Riley September 9, 2013

So I’d been on the hunt for months for a little media console cabinet thingy to house books (for now) and a future flat screen TV (when the budget permits) for the studio above our garage. Lucky me, I popped into the Goodwill last week and I found this $10 cabinet that was the perfect size but not the coolest look at first glance.

But you know me, never deterred by initial appearances, I worked a little DIY magic on this old relic and brought it into this century with a modification that included new mirrored panels with a X pattern, primer, and white paint.

thrift store cabinet makeover


I think this bi-fold door cabinet would still be cool if all four panels were that raised geometric pattern but the iron grill combo totally threw me off.

iron geo combo

Whatever the original designer was trying to say wasn’t working for me so the first thing I did was to verify the panels could be removed. Yep!

removeable panels

Oh but most importantly. Check it, ten dollars for solid wood.

10 dollar price tag


(If you spy one of these old fuddy duddy cabinets always check the panels to see if they’re removable. It’s a more difficult process to cut them out if they’re not but it could still be done.) Anyway, I wanted to simplify the busyness of the panels and make it look more contemporary, hence the new mirrored panels with the criss cross X motif.

I sanded the top with my orbital sander since it suffered from surface damage, a few scratches, etc.

quick sanding

I’m a Zinsser girl so I’ve gotten in the habit of using the spray formula for vertical surfaces but rolling on a coat of the brush on to the top (sometimes two coats). I find for heavily used horizontal surfaces (coffee tables & kitchen tables), the brush/roll on formula provides extra durability. I always use foam rollers designed for cabinets and then toss it when I’m done.

two kinds of primer

roll on primer


Just like with this mosaic tile bathroom mirror, I went to Lowes to have mirror cut to fit my cabinet doors. $11.51 for four pieces yes eleven dollars and fifty one cents total for custom cut mirror, can’t beat that!

custom mirror

To secure the mirror to the inside of the primed cabinet doors, I used a household silicone adhesive sealant, this one has always worked well for me for adhering glass to most anything.

silicone adhesive


I painted the cabinets with Chalk Paint in Pure White. I’d been wanting to try this color for a long time since I’ve always used Old White in the past, and this hue is what it says it is: pure white.  AS Chalk Paint doesn’t usually require priming but old stained oak will bleed so a primer that blocks stains saves you time and headache if bleeding should occur.

pure white chalk paint


To create the X pattern, I picked up two 8 foot pieces of flat lattice at Lowes.



Matt cut the angles with our miter saw with the same technique used on these criss cross planters. I adhered the pieces to the mirror with more silicone adhesive and filled any small gaps with lightweight spackling.

spackling to lattice trim


A little touch up paint and new glass knobs was all the cabinet needed and it has a whole new look.

painted thrift store cabinet after


For now I’m using it for storage but the plan is to use it as a media cabinet in the future with a flat screen on top and equipment/DVDs below.

bifold x pattern mirrored doors

thrift store makeover centsational girl


The acrylic lamp I bought at Target years ago, it’s been sitting in a closet waiting for a new spot, but good news it’s still available. The typographic Manhattan print by Famille Summerbelle is available here (frame from IKEA), and the retro silver wall phone I ordered a few months ago from here.

thrift store cabinet makeover centsational girl


I know I’ve been saying it for years, but it’s true, the Goodwill can be such a goldmine!



  1. Love your makeovers on crappy furniture. You’re a superstar! With your tips, I dared to give a Draper Dresser inspired treatment to an awful dresser I bought on Craigslist. There are nine drawers, arranged in three rows of three…. a very long and not very deep dresser but perfect for our bedroom. I used the colors “drumskin” and “Mark Twain Grey”. Bought ring pulls online, and centered on each drawer. Had mirror cut for the top. Looks elegant. The before and after is a showstopper (surprisingly!). Thank you so much for your blog! Just love it :D

  2. Probably one of my favorite makeovers in a long time! I’m not so good at visualizing what could be. I’ve been looking for a TV cabinet like that….well, like the After….now I know what to look for! Great job!

  3. I love it! What a transformation. I’m always on the look-out at Goodwill, but that guy would be priced $50 or more at the ones I go to. It’s become a little unreasonable. Hoping to find some gems for my new home though!!

  4. Oh my word! That’s an incredibly transformation. I probably would have been intimidated by the iron scroll work and just walked on by this piece. However, you took it and made it glamorous. Well done you!

  5. This makeover is GORGEOUS! Thanks for taking me through every single step and product. You are a master of DIY but for those of us who aren’t–the steps are key! Beautiful job. I can’t believe how high end it looks–reminds me of a ZGallerie find.

  6. Love the transformation. However I am curious about chalk paint. Why have you chosen a chalk paint versus any other type of paint for this particular project?

  7. What a deal! I’m sure most people walked right by it. You have given it a whole new life. A much cooler, more chic life!!

  8. WOWZER!!! That is a fantastic makeover!!! And a great Goodwill find! Beautiful! My Goodwill is seriously lacking in the furniture department. Not sure where it all is, but there has got to be a stock somewhere.

  9. Amazing what you do with furniture!
    Have you every looked at woot.com lately? I saw a 47″ flat screen that’s the same as what we have, but refurbished for significantly less than what we paid for it! Just a thought.

  10. You have such a great eye, Kate! Thanks for encouraging us to see the possible in the worn and weary. An awesome makeover!

  11. Nice job! I have always heard that you are supposed to use a special mirror adhesive instead of all purpose adhesives. Hopefully that adhesive won’t ruin the mirror finish.

  12. Kate, I have been following you for years, and you still continue to inspire me! I love this cabinet….what a talent you have! This brought a smile to my face today! Great Job!!!!
    Hugs from South Carolina

  13. Thanks for this! It looks beautiful. I have a dining room hutch from my grandmother. The crown and base moldings are beautiful, but the base cabinet has a similar vibe to yours. You’ve given me the motivation and inspiration to perform a little surgery and start painting.

  14. Oh Kate!!!! This is one of the loveliest makeovers I have ever seen! I have seen so many cabinets similar to that one but I have truthfully never even thought about doing anything like this to them. I LOVE how your beautiful, creative mind works! Great job! I am so impressed…. as always. ;-)
    I hope you have a lovely day!

  15. I actually said “say what?” and then I saw you posted it too! hahahaha! Amazing transformation Kate! I wouldn’t have guessed how you’d flip this baby!!!! Your skills and talent are just phenomenal!!!! I would buy a piece like this in a heart beat! love it!

  16. I agree – nice job.
    In defence of the designer: The holey back makes me think this was a media cabinet before the days of using that term. You would put (large) speakers inside the grille panels. This “Mediterranean” look was somewhat popular in the seventies, as I recall. :)

  17. Wow! First, that is a great deal (that I usually don’t see at our Goodwill: prices are much higher!) and the vision you had with that is mindblowing! Also, I didn’t know Lowes would custom cut glass…can’t wait to think of a project I need glass for!

  18. Wow – gorgeous! My Goodwill has the WORST furniture selection. I went in the other day to check it out and there was a guy cleaning a piece…a woman walked by and said “You better spray that thing for bugs before you do anything else”. That says it all…

  19. Love the transformation! I agree with Laura – the goodwill in my area would still have that cabinet listed in the $40-$60 range, not horrible for what you turned it into but $10 is a steal. Great job!

  20. LOVE it!! I love to DIY and you are so inspiring! Thanks for showing all the step details :-)

  21. Love it! I’m about to do a dresser makeover with AS chalk paint in pure white as well. Glad to see the color outcome on your piece. Did you seal it all? Or wax it? I need to be sure the top of my dresser is water resistant and am not sure what to use. This will be my FIRST piece of furniture.

  22. Amazing job! I’m in love with glass furniture and you did it SO easily! Now I just have to find something of mine that needs glass fronts. lol.

  23. I am BLOWN AWAY! That looks amazing! Easily could be a $900 piece or more! You have a great eye for hidden treasures.


  24. I absolutely LOVE this makeover! And what a steal the ‘Before’ was from Goodwill!

    But the thing that got me was the phone on the wall next to your new dresser treasure! We collect phones and I just had to have one! DONE! Thank you so much for your multiple-inspirations today!

  25. I’m jealous of you for being able to spot and capitalize on such a great deal. I would gladly pay an arm and leg for your refurbished cabinet… $10? Amazing!

  26. This is just beautiful. Didn’t know that about the panels, some are removable. Will have to be on the lookout for something similar the next time I’m out thrifting. Love, love, love it! What a modern and clean look it now has.

  27. Just thinking you will probably come up for some awesome use the for pieces you took off! Maybe one of your great planters. No pressure, but just saying….when your mind works that way, you almost can’t help yourself….

    • I’m totally going to repurpose those pieces Lisa, the grills might make some cool wall décor, and the geometric panels…. not sure yet but I want to reuse them somehow!

  28. this is leaving me speechless!! what a transformation! ♥ it!

    i’m bookmarking this post for future reference…thanks!

  29. Awesome! Best post to date in my opinion! I can’t believe you saw that vision in the $10 cabinet. What a transformation. You have me inspired and I want to go to Goodwill now and find my own treasure :)

    • Thanks so much everyone! I really appreciate all the kind comments and positive feedback!

  30. Wow! I know you’ve done some really great furniture transformations but I’ve never seen one as amazing as this! I can’t believe you turned that ugly goodwill cabinet into a contemporary piece that would retail for several hundred dollars.

    I’d love to know how time you put into this piece.

  31. Now THAT is how you do it! If you use it for a media cabinet, would you drill holes in the back, or are they already there?

    • Hi Randi, it has a pegboard back but I will need to use a holesaw kit to drill a larger hole (2″) for cords.

  32. Obsessed. :) It is so gorgeous, Kate, and I love knowing how much each of the little pieces of mirror and lattice cost… it helps to get a feel for how I could recreate something like that someday. Beautifully done.

  33. It’s amazing how a fantastic makeover like this one can make me so happy just by looking at it (could not do it myself): I love before and after pictures!!! More please! Great job!!!

  34. First thought when I saw the transformation: “She’s amazing!” Second thought: “My Goodwill never has any furniture for less than $50!” Good find. Spectacular transformation. So impressed.

  35. My parents had a sister piece to that cabinet for the longest time. They may still have it in their bedroom I just haven’t been in there in awhile. Wow! Such a great transformation. Looks beautiful now! Well done!

  36. Amazing! Now I know what to do with the ugly old dresser I inherited from my granddad. Thanks for the step by step info.

  37. This is Terrific! I never would’ve been able o see past the ugliness!!! I LOVE how it turned out!!! Awesome Job!

  38. First of all, that was a steal at goodwill, for that size cabinet, and then to give that kind of makeover, awesome!

  39. I am so excited about this diy! I love what you did and I love knowing I can get mirror cut at Lowes of all places!

  40. And this is why I will always consider you the queen of furniture makeovers. You have such a great ability to see beyond what is given to you, and always know how to make any piece shine bright. I have been wanting to add mirror fronts to some cabinets in my studio, but wasn’t sure where to have them cut, thank you for the tip!


  41. woman, you are insane!!!
    i am a centsational girl wannabe!
    but I have not seen anything, however ugly, for that cheap.

  42. I hope you have your feet propped up and that you’re staring at it right now…..BEST. makeover. EVER. You’ve got the magic! I’m completely inspired! WOW WOW WOW Thank you!

  43. That is an amazing transformation! I love your vision when it comes to these types of projects. You can really see the potential in things

  44. That is totally beautiful. I would never have thought to do what you did to make it beautiful and I would totally have passed up that piece of furniture, even at $10.00. You sure have vision!!

  45. You.are.amazing.

    I never would have thought to do this. It looks like a very expensive piece of furniture. I know what I’m looking for on my next goodwill trip (although prices here are much higher). Thanks also for what and where to look/buy the products you use. Sometime blogs will say what they used, but not exactly what it is. Bonus if you tell us the general area the products are in (lattice is in the XYZ section of the store) – Lowes is a big store!

  46. First of all, it look amazing – never would have thought to look and see if the panels are removable but from now on I will. Second of all, I CAN NOT believe you got that for $10 – you’d never find something like that for $10 at our overpriced Goodwill!

  47. Amazing, Kate! I think my parents may have that same cabinet – ha! You have such talent. I would never be able to look at that piece and see what it can become. So thankful you share your inspirations with us!

  48. This is incredible! Thanks for sharing, you’ve given me more inspiration and motivation – gotta get to a goodwill soon :)

  49. whew, that was seriously ugly before you got your hands on it and transformed it into something beautiful. you have a great eye!

  50. This is truly amazing. I just got up and walked over to the other side of the room to show my husband. I can’t believe you scored it for $10! I have not been having much good luck at Goodwill lately. But decorating karma will be on my side soon! Your DIY’s are the best!

  51. C-A-RAZY bargain! I did something very similar to a credenza a few years back though it cost me closer to $70! You get the BEST deals. Love the x’s (I am slightly obsessed with x’s on furniture).
    PS The previous issue with the weird links is working fine now, so hopefully it is no longer a problem for you.

  52. AMEN on the Goodwill. I have said many times on Houzz that if you want to decorate your house for less money and maybe a little elbow grease (remind me where I put that jar of elbow grease at) go to the Goodwill or other Thrift Store. You truly have to be open to the experience and what you might find.

    The cabinet looks amazing and I have wanted to try the chalk paints out myself. Did you seal it with anything? I may have missed that.

  53. I have to tell you this is the BEST revamp that I have seen from all the other sites that I visit. You did a really awesome job. It takes a good imagination to see past the ugly to the beauty that you have created. Best wishes to you and your future projects. What a GREAT JOB !!!!!!!!

  54. I am AMAZED! What vision you have. Makes me sad that we just sold an old record player console at a garage sale.

  55. Wow! Really nice! I was wondering if the grates that were in there could be used for anything interesting? The top of a coffee table with glass, or just to hang on the wall…or are they just dated?

  56. Obviously you are not old enough to remember! This may have been an old stereo cabinet, hence the grill work with fabric on two of the doors. This was for the speakers. My folks had a similar one!

    • I gathered it may have been for stereo equipment Karen because of the speaker like backing behind those grills, but then observed it was a solid panel, hmmm. Perhaps it was meant for the doors to be opened when playing, but we’ll have to keep one door open and folded to the side when TV/DVD watching is happening. :)

  57. The after picture completely blew me away. I totally expected that there were mirrors behind the iron which was newly panted—nope! Can’t even tell it’s the same cabinet. And I love to know that Lowe’s custom cuts mirrors. I’ve had an empty frame for awhile. Can they do ovals?

  58. Kate,
    Seriously! I mean can I just walk around the inside of your creative mind for like, say, an hour? I mean I used to think I was a creative soul and then I stumbled upon you a couple of years ago and you continue to blow me away with your ability to see beyond what is in front of you. What a gift, and the fact that you share it with us without charging! That is the true beauty of “paying it forward” the gifts God has given you! Thank You.

  59. Stunning! You did an amazing job. I have been out searching for the same type of piece and this would have also been much more expensive in my area. Lucky! I just used ASCP Pure White this weekend on a project, for the first time and was considering doing a table with it. Did you use a roller for the top of this to get a smoother finish?

    • Just a good quality brush on top Holly, but be sure to paint in temperatures below 80 degrees, that allows for more open time when brushing.

  60. HA Your age is showing….It is a throw back to the Mediterranean style, so very popular in the 70’s.
    Great deal and an awesome make over to something way better then faux Mediterranean style.
    I love it, clean and contemporary.

  61. Did you finish this piece with the Annie Sloan wax or something else? Just curious what your preference is and how the durability is :)

  62. I would never have envisioned that! I love it but would have looked at that cabinet and thought ‘ugh’ and walked on by.

  63. This is brilliant. I’m inspired to do more thrift shopping. I usually get discouraged when i find nothing of value or at high price tag at Goodwill. Maybe I need to have a little more faith in good luck.

  64. Wow!!! I think this is one of my favourite makeovers ever! You took good solid but ugly piece of furniture and turned it into something absolutely beautiful. Now I’m going to be looking for a cabinet with removable inserts in the doors. Thanks for the inspiration.

  65. That is GORGEOUS! Amazing transformation. Love all the accessories too. I can’t get over that is the same piece as before!
    So after using ASCP pure white and old white, which one do you like working with better and which color? I’m thinking of trying ASCP but not sure which of the whites to get. Thank you! Sharon

  66. Turned out great! My local Goodwill is very pricey. But our local Salvation Army has awesome prices.

  67. This post could not be more timely. I have been looking for EXACTLY that type of console/sideboard! I actually saw a near identical piece (mirrored with x-design) on Hooked on Houses ‘Little Couple’ and fell in LOVE and looked everywhere but never found one less than 1000 buckaroos. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the after. I NEVER would have looked at that cabinet and thought it could be made to look like that. You have soooo inspired me. Thank you!!

  68. Kate, that is truly amazing. I just love it! I have never seen anything that cheap at any local Goodwill stores.

  69. Love how it turned out…I have to agree with several of the other posts, our local Goodwill stores do not sell that cheap.

  70. Wow, what an awesome makeover! The Goodwills by us are so expensive! They would charge $100 for that cabinet, easily. Nice score!

    • I was really surprised by the pricetag too, usually these kinds of pieces are $50 or more but it was in the front of the store in a “reject” pile and I think that’s why I got so lucky with the $9.99 price tag. :)

  71. This is truly fantastic. I’ve been dying to paint / update an armoire my husband and I bought a million years ago at an antique store, but he’s a stickler for keeping the original wood tone. :( I’m gonna show him THIS transformation so he can see that painted furniture can look really amazing.

  72. CRAZY GOOD Kate!!! I hope this inspires DIYers that have been simply painting over original cabinet to hide all the heavy scroll work for the 70’s. Your makeover brings it current and very budget friendly. So crazy how good you are :)

  73. AMAZING makeover. I cannot believe that is the same piece. Great find and great work.

    Plus, I’m totally jealous. I have been searching high and low for a similarly sized console table to replace my aged TV stand.

    Yours looks amazing.

  74. Good heavens, Kate! This one takes the cake! You’ve done some pretty fabulous furniture makeovers in the past, but this one tops them all in my book. This is fantastic!

    Thanks for the tip about the mirrors at Lowe’s–I had no idea they could cut glass and mirrors! That’s an awesome resource!

  75. That transformation is smashing!! Just gorgeous. When I saw your before I thought it would end up looking like a clunky dresser I transformed, ah, but no…. You tricked it out so elegantly with mirror!!

    Here’s a good indication of what all that geometric work would have looked like painted. I do still love mine and I’m not sure mirror would have worked, maybe on the drawers?


    I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for a proper candidate!!

  76. I was on holiday abroad when you initially published this, but I was so blown away by this incredible cabinet makeover that I’ve been searching my reader for this post so I could tell you how much I love it.
    It’s hard to believe this is the same piece of furniture.

  77. What a stunning makeover! Thanks to you I was inspired to paint my 6 year old Ikea Billy bookcases from black-brown to white. They have doors on them and now I’m excited to add mirror and the “x” design as will. Wow!!!!

  78. So inspired by you! I’m redoing a guest room, have old but solid cherry wood dresser and end table. I would love to do the same to. I cannot find the Annie Sloan chalk paint near me. What else could I use?

    • Hi Deborah, you can certainly use conventional paint too, I really love the Ben Moore Advance formula for cabinetry.

  79. Shut the front door! THIS IS AMAZING!!!!! Wow! If I find something similar I will absolutely be copying you. I generally like before and afters as inspiration. This I am taking as direct orders and am now obsessed on finding something similar to work for storage and a buffet for our dining room/family room transitional wall. Patience will be necessary, but with that classic design it’s not like it’s going out of style any time soon. Thanks for the inspirations. One of my favorites ever from you! From anyone for that matter.

  80. FABULOUS! What a glamour puss of a silk purse from an ugly sow’s ear!! Well done!

  81. “Unfreakingbelievable!” Amazing what you turned that cabinet into. I’ve got a ton of stuff I consider trash which you would probably see as treasure! Wish you were my neighbor. But I’m sure I’d be picking your brain so much you’d end up moving away!!

    Awesome job!

  82. Please, please, tell me how you get these big, heavy pieces home. My Salvation Army has great prices, but I can never figure out how to get these things to my house.

    • I have had the big ones delivered (some thrift stores offer that service) or find a friend with a truck! You can rent Uhaul types by the hour I think.

  83. Can I just say I’m TOTALLY jealous?? I live on the Gulf Coast, and good luck finding any piece of decent furniture at a thrift store for $10. I can pretty much guarantee that if there was something even remotely similar at any of our local thrift stores, it would probably be marked at least $75 if not more. SIGH!! Awesome redo though – thanks for sharing the whole step by step process, so much nicer/easier to follow.

  84. WOW. What a great transformation, you would NEVER tell how it look like before. It looks wonderful now, still it’s old charm & character but with a more updated look. B.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l.

    Great work!
    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

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