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TV Cabinet Transformation | The Reveal

Remember these? Back in the 80’s and 90’s we used cabinets like this to hide our big, bulky TV sets. So what are we supposed to do with all of those cabinets now that we have flat screens? Save them from the trash heap and do your own TV cabinet transformation!

busy week

After a busy week of working on this TV cabinet, it is finally done! Keep reading for all the details!

before shot of painted TV cabinet

primer first!

After stripping off the poor paint job from the previous owner, the piece needed to be primed. Zinsser Bin Primer is a shellac based primer that is perfect for knotty wood like this cabinet has. A good stir and then I used my Talenti Ice Cream container to hold a small amount of the primer. It is a smaller container and easier to hold. Plus, it’s just another reason to buy the ice cream – I mean I need these small containers, right??

I spot primed the knots first. The primer only takes about 45 minutes to dry, so I was ready for the full coat in no time.

quick painting tip

Here’s a quick tip when painting paneled doors on furniture or even on kitchen cabinets: paint the inset sections of the paneled door first, going with the grain. Watch the corners and edges so that you don’t get any runs.

When all four of the insets are painted, paint the four framed sections of the door.

Finally, paint the middle of the paneled door. Be sure to check constantly for any runs on the edges. It is easy to let one slip by 🙂

chalk paint recipe

Our client chose to use a custom mix of chalk paint using the Valspar color Blue Mist. I purchased a quart of the paint in flat and mixed the chalk paint myself using this Calcium Carbonate from Amazon. I have used this method of mixing chalk paint in the past and have been very pleased with the results!

The mixing is easy:

  • 1 quart flat interior paint
  • 1 cup calcium carbonate
  • 4-6 tablespoons hot water

Mix the calcium carbonate and hot water in a small container until all the lumps are dissolved and mixed in. Remove some of the paint from the quart can then pour in the calcium carbonate mixture. Mix very well to incorporate the paint with the mixture.

Two coats covered the cabinet perfectly. The primer helps the coverage of the paint.

distressing, waxing and buffing

A bit of lite distressing on the cabinet helps to create a vintage feel to the piece. You can read about the distressing method I used in this post.

Next up was waxing the TV cabinet. I used Johnson Paste Finishing Wax for this project because I love the aging effect of the wax. It tones the color down just enough that the paint doesn’t look so new.

A stiff waxing brush is helpful to for getting into the nooks and crannies. Be careful to to let the wax build up in the corners. That just looks messy!

I like to buff this finishing wax with a chunk of upholstery weight batting. I know that sounds weird, but it is the perfect amount of texture to buff while being soft enough polish to a matte luster. It is also easy to hold for arthritic hands 🙂

See what I mean about the finishing wax aging the piece? It’s subtle, but adds just enough vintage goodness to the cabinet!

additional shelving

And here she is! Our client needed shelving so hubby took care of that for her. Look at all of the storage this tv cabinet transformation provides!

After cutting the shelving to fit, he stained them to match the existing color of the interior of the cabinet. Perfection!

spray paint the knobs!

Rustoleum Hammered Spray Paint makes the wooden knobs look like metal. I really love this spray paint for so many projects!

I primed them first with Rustoleum Flat Spray Primer in flat black, then two light coats of the Hammered Finish in Dark Bronze. The knobs were finished off with a light coat of clear sealer in a matte finish.

character and texture

Remember the lite distressing I mentioned earlier? It is just enough to add some character to this TV cabinet! Also, notice the texture the chalk paint provides!

When I painted the cabinet, I painted in one direction for the first coat and the opposite direction for the second coat creating a hatched texture. This helps to add additional character to the piece. The wax settles into the texture creating even more character!

Remember the steps we took to get the finishes look for this tv cabinet transformation? Amazing isn’t it??

thanks for joining our journey!

Thanks for following along on this transformation journey! We would love to share more projects with you! Join our mailing list in the sidebar and don’t miss a makeover!

We would love to chat on Instagram and Facebook! Join us there. Feel free to pin this post to Pinterest for a project transformation of your own!

See you next time!

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19 Comments

    1. Better than throwing them in the trash heap!! Our client had the great idea of adding shelves and I love the storage it provides!

  1. Lovely makeover…and so functional! Cindy, I’m so impressed by your knowledge of the different types of paints, finishes and techniques. Keep posting. Your before & afters are very inspiring.

    1. Omgoodness this just makes my day that you commented!! I have admired your work and your blog for the last several years so this means alot to me!!??

  2. Love this step-by-step photo tutorial…and the crosshatch painting is a new idea for me! Lovely transformation and photos throughout. Your styling is gorgeous, too. 🙂

    1. Awe so sweet of you to say Jaimee! I love using the crosshatching especially with thick paints. It makes the brush strokes purposful?

  3. Hi Cindy! Too many of these TV cabinets go to waste so i am inspired by this makeover. I have never used that kind of cross hatching to create texture. I have always been taught to only paint with the wood grain. I will have to try this technique. Is the was a dark wax or just a thick wax? Thank you for sharing!

    1. And thank you for reading the post! Our client picked out the color for her beach home and I would agree with you, she picked it perfectly!

  4. What a great job! I love the color you picked out! I had 2 of these cabinets in the day, one in the living room and one in the bedroom, both for tv hiding! Wish I would have known then what I know now, You’re one of our features this week at Charming homes and Gardens! Pinned.

    1. Kim, thank you for your kind words about this TV cabinet! We hide TV’s differently now don’t we?? 😊 Thanks for the feature too!! I really appreciate it!

    1. Thanks Rachel! I look forward to the next Charming Homes & Gardens link party. Thank you for the feature!

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