Category Archives: Family Room

Buffet Table Upcycle


Earlier I blogged about the $15 buffet table I found on Craigslist.  I wanted the quatrefoil element to be a central design in my new family room and the price was right, so I was totally stoked to bring this home.  Only to have my husband not share my vision and say “I don’t want this room to look cheap”.  However, he’s been down this upcycle road with me before, so luckily he trusted the vision in my head.

Today, I think we have a beautiful piece that fits perfectly with the room.

Here is where we started.



Cabinet in the raw

Cabinet in the raw

The inside of the cabinet was pretty cool, if you are hosting a Mad Men party and wanted it to open to a full bar.  However, with two munchkins under two, my Mad Men days are over so I removed the stemware holders to allow for more storage.

inside unfinished

I sanded down the top pretty good because there were water stains on it.  However, I didn’t spend a lot of time sanding the whole piece because Zinsser Primer works so well in making sure the paint sticks to the wood.  If you want a paint job to last, starting with this product is imperative.  There are oil based and water based versions.  Personally, the oil based is messier and more toxic smelling, but I prefer it as I think it works the best.

So first I primed.  Then I painted the piece white (whatever is on sale is my favorite brand).  Next I painted the cut outs blue.  I wanted a perfect match to the room, so I used leftover wall paint to do this part. I painting these would be hard, but with a little paintbrush, it wasn’t hard at all.

Last was the poly.  I coated the whole cabinet with two light coats of Minwax and then about five heavier coats on the top, since this is the part that gets the most wear.  Using a small roller for the paint and poly is the way to go if you want to smooth finish.  I got brush strokes in it when I first started with a brush, which didn’t look good.  Though a brush came in handy when going around the trim.

There were two hard parts to this upcycle:

1) Applying poly to the blue cuts outs.  Make sure to get as clear of poly as you can find.  It is very watery and it accumulated in the bottom of each of the blue cut outs, drying in a yellow color.  I had to go back and repaint blue over it.  Then I used a very light coat of clear, spray top coat over the front.  I don’t like the spray coat product as much, as I don’t think it is as durable, but the front doesn’t get a lot of wear, so it works here.

2) There is a black hinge in the middle of the top.  You can have a long or short top shelf.  I liked it open, meaning the hinge shows in the middle.  At first I painted the hinge white.  As it opened and closed, the paint wore off unevenly, it looked bad.  So I sanded the paint off the hinge, leaving it in its original state.  It looked better, but not great.  So Plan B was a table runner to cover it altogether.  Much better.

Last step was reattaching the original hardware.

And here we go!  All done: