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Buffet Makeover

a dark buffet piece was transformed with chalk paint and sanding with DIABLO SandNet sanding discs

Have you heard those stories about people finding gorgeous pieces of furniture on the side of the road?

Yeah, I know. You just wonder where those magical roads might be located!

Then, you think...  Why it never happens to me. :/

Well, this piece of furniture can be one of those stories. And I wasn't the lucky one.
It was my sister-in-law the one that spotted the gorgeous buffet sitting there...

Nope, it wasn't on the side of the road.

Every time she took this road, she saw the gorgeous buffet sitting there, on the far-end corner of this front porch. It was hard for her to look at this piece on rainy days. She knew it was getting damaged.

After she couldn't take it any longer, she decided to stop by and ask...

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A dark buffet is painted to bring it back to life
Can I have it?

The answer: Yes! And you can also take the hutch that's inside in the foyer. :D

Ha, maybe that's what you and I have to do from now on... Just ask!

Well, I guess that's if we find those roads. 😃

how to paint a vintage piece of furniture

The veneer on both sides of the piece was the part that endured the water damage.


Pilar wanted to use this piece in her craft room. So, besides repairing the damaged veneer and giving the piece a nice finish with an antique character, she also wanted to add a shelf on the lower part.

The following are the ten steps it took me to transform this piece from dark and drab to bright and glam!


I didn't take a before picture of the damaged veneer, but it was bad. lots of loose little pieces.
They were removed and those sunken spots were leveled up with wood filler.

Then, I used a 220-grid sanding disc to smooth out the entire area.


How to add a shelf to the lower section of a vintage buffet

Every time I look at that lower part of this type of buffet I'm curious to know why they didn't add a shelf. It seems like the most logical way the put that lower part to good use. Storage is always welcome.

Now, I didn't want to cover the detail on the top of those support pieces. That's why I built the shelf to be placed on the inside back part of those supports.

1 x 2 material connected with pocket holes and glue were the main elements to construct the shelf.
¼" plywood material top it off.


How to install a shelf on the lower part of a buffet

Again, pocket holes and glue were the ones used to attach the shelf frame to the buffet supports.
I also attached two legs of 2 x 2 for added support on the back.
The ¼" plywood cover was set in place with staples.


vintage buffet

Wood filler was used to close gaps and little holes. Then, it was time to sand the entire piece. I started sanding lightly with an 80-grid sanding disc, but then I used a 120-grid.

The legs were sanded with a piece of 120-grid sandpaper.

Before going on the next step it's important to clean really well all the areas, getting them free of dust.


priming the buffet

Even if you're using chalk paint like I did, it is a wise practice to prime these dark pieces before painting them. You don't want stains bleeding through your finished coat.

vintage buffet makeover

I didn't prime those recessed areas, after all, I wanted them on the darker side. ;)


leg detail of painted buffet

I gave the entire piece two coats of chalked paint. It kind of looked good with only one coat, but certain parts still needed more coverage.

Of course, the chalk paint finish is far from smooth, but that's when I used very fine sandpaper. A 320-grid sanding disc was used to sand all those long flat areas.

Clean all the surfaces very well before going on to the next step.


How to paint a vintage buffet

A light coat of clear wax was used to protect the finish. Then, using a soft rag it was buffed.

I could've stopped there but it was too white!  The paint was hiding all those beautiful details.

The solution for that...


vintage buffet makeover

I applied a translucent color glaze to highlight those pretty details and engravings.
You apply it and immediately use a wet rag to remove most of it, leaving it only on those parts that you want to highlight. 

You can check my kitchen island makeover HERE where I used this same technique to paint it.


vintage buffet makeover with paint and glaze

Apply a tiny bit of gold on those highlighted areas for added charm.

Once dry, give the entire piece another coat of wax.


how to clean tarnished hardware

The last step was to clean the hardware with Bar Keepers Friend.

How to clean tarnished hardware

And here is the new beautiful buffet in all its glory!

A dated and damaged buffet gets a paint transformation

The three gold wire bins fit so perfectly on the shelf.

turned leg detail on buffet - Painted

dark buffet painted white with gold hardware and metal bin baskets

Antique buffet painted white with chalk paint

My SIL loves the new addition to her craft room! Here is a little peek at how it looks in its new space.

Painted buffet used for craft storage

And I couldn't leave you without a before and after of this makeover:

Rust-Oleum chalked paint gives new life to this dark buffet

Love it!!

Here's a short video of this makeover:

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  1. That is gorgeous! What a beautiful job. It's nice you have a story to go with it too!

  2. Fantastic Job amiga! You are a lady with many many talents!
    Merry Christmas!
    Cynthia Schuster - Parker, CO.

  3. This is such a beautiful piece! I can't believe this was just sitting on someone's porch out in the weather...I guess I need to pay more attention driving down the road ;)

    xoxo, SS

    Southern and Style

  4. This is a lovely piece. The addition of the shelf is a great idea. It always amazes me what people throw out but it is good for us furniture painters.

  5. Great job -- curious what you did with the hutch?

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