Home » DIY » Furniture » Vintage Cabinet Makeover with Gray Washing

Vintage Cabinet Makeover with Gray Washing

I found this old,dated, vintage cabinet at a local thrift store. it’s a good heavy piece of furniture, but it looked really 1970’s Mediterranean. I knew it had  a ton of potential it just need to have the knobs moved and be re-painted something for a more updated take. That dark wood is a light sucker and not a good wood tone. Paint was the answer, but after painting, I also grey-washed it… which  is sooo much easier than you think. If you’re leaning towards Cottagecore style, this cabinet makeover with gray washing a great makeover technique for you!
VIntage cabinet before painting and moving knobs cabinet makeover with gray washing and a change of knob placemement

First I gave the cabinet a wash,and a light sanding. I know those of you who use chalky paint will argue against this. That’s fine, I learned the old fashioned way, so I always give it a quick once over. In fact, you can read some answers I have on how to paint furniture here.
I wanted to change the knob placement, so the first thing I did was fill in the old holes with wood putty, let it dry, and if needed refilled them.If you put a piece of painter’s tape in the back of the hole; it keeps the  wood putty from squishing out.
Changing cabinet knob placement with wood putty

 One your putty is dry, sand the excess off until it’s flat, and you can’t feel any raised holes. You may need to repeat this several times when filling old knob holes.

Old cabinet holes puttied for new knob placement in a cabinet makeover
Then re-mark and drill your new knob holes.  Once your holes are drilled it’s ready to paint as long as your wood putty is dried and flat.
The best tool to mark new cabient holes placement
 I like using one of these wet erase chalk markers to mark my holes for drilling, it shows up on dark wood and wipes off super easy if need be.
After I did a base coat of a paint with primer in it, the fun part of the cabinet makeover with gray washing starts!
Supplies for creating a gray glaze for furniture

 Grey-washing is tot glazing/antiquing with a gray paint mixture.  I use a 50/50 mixture of white/black craft/art paint and a touch of water to make it have a creamy texture that’s easy to work with.

Glazing with gray paint in a cabinet makeover with gray washing
 It’s so easy. With a soft brush, paint on some of the grey-wash and with a very slightly damp paper towel,kind of rub-in, lift off at the same time.
Re panting vintage furniture with a gray wash finish
On this piece you can see the difference between the left and the right.
New cabinet knob placement on a painted cabinet
 It deepens the color and can tone down something a bit bright. Just don’t over work it or you can start lifting paint. I did a slight distressing with my sanding block. When you’re done, let it dry and then you seal your piece with either a polyacrylic or a furniture wax. In fact, if you want to know which you should use, you can see this post here. 
And I love the knobs. New knobs really  freshen up a piece of furniture.  It gives it a fun look and really improves the cabinet makeover.
Small cabinet furniture makeover with a gray washed finish for a cottage core look
Small painted wood cabinet with blue finish
Furniture makeover with new knob placement and painting

*This was posted Via Jennifer Rizzo. com


  1. I am going to try this technique Jen! Your piece looks beautiful I bet it won’t in in your space for long! Great choice for the knobs too!Yes I agree Hobby lobby has a great selection!


  2. This looks really nice. How was your Midwestern blogger conference? I wasn’t able to attend, just wondered how it all went? I would love to go next year if you have another one!

  3. It’s wonderful how you updated this piece. The color is so refreshing and I really like the way you changed out the knobs and moved them to a new location–so smart!

  4. This turned out really beautiful Jen. It can be so hard to see the potential in those 70’s pieces but you nailed it. I’m fairly new to your blog and I’m loving exploring. I paid a visit to your shop and wish I were closer so I could come shopping. It looks great. Blessings to you, Patti

  5. I love this piece! I wish I could visit your shop. I’m looking for something just like that for my foyer.

  6. Turned out very pretty Jennifer. I am luving the ‘new’ grey wash technique. Been playing with it myself.
    So hard when we have to part with some of the pieces to take them to the shop… but…
    Cheers, Gee

  7. Jen,
    A beautiful transformation. Oh la la so pretty it will sell quickly. Jen please come by my blog this week and join in on my first give away to celebrate my one year anniversary in blog land!!! You have always been such a beautiful inspiration to me and I have loved so many of my treasures I have gotten from you so I want you to have a chance at the give away.

  8. Love what you did with this piece….your vision was perfect! Moving the knobs and the new ones you used were fantastic changes. I learned the old fashioned way too…early 70’s! I’ve got to check out Hobby Lobby, those knobs are gorgeous

  9. Love what you did with this piece….your vision was perfect! Moving the knobs and the new ones you used were fantastic changes. I learned the old fashioned way too…early 70’s! I’ve got to check out Hobby Lobby, those knobs are gorgeous

  10. What a before and after Jen!! I love the grey washing and will be trying that for sure. Need to see what kind of wax you use to seal too, thank you for all of the tips!

    xo, Tanya

  11. Great job! What a difference. I will pin this, my father-in-law has a buffet almost exactly like this. I may just have to get my hands on it. Thanks!

  12. Sweet! Thanks for the inspiration. I’ve been layering a 1960’s mirror and haven’t arrived at the color I want yet. The last coat was a minty blue, so…maybe I’ll try grey next…

    I hope you’re having a great weekend!

    Julie M.

  13. You have just saved me a small fortune on my “new” bedroom set. My present Mediterranean BR set is over 20 years old, but still in the best condition and a keeper. But you are correct about it being a light thief. Now I am confident my plan to paint it is excellent idea. Your photos and written explanations are as excellent as the results of your fine work.

Comments are closed.