by Maria
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An old sideboard makeover

If you don’t think and old sideboard can fit in a modern decor, think again. This old sideboard gets a fresh new look

Some weeks ago a reader sent me an email asking for help with a couple of bits of furntiture that she inherited from her grandma. They were quite shabby and a bit battered but she was emotionally attached to them and was asking if I could try and word a bit of magic and turn them into something new. I said, I’d try!

One of the pieces was this traditional sideboard:

Back in the day, every grandma in Spain had one of these at home. They were usually in the dining room and were used to keep the best china and the nice tablecloths in. The poor old sideboard had definetely seen better days but with a bit of love it could be transformed into something that would sit well in a thirty-year-old’s home.

This is the result of the sideboard makeover:

To be honest, when I was styling it for the photoshoot I thougt ‘This really fits in my small living room, I wish I could keep it!’ (I’m such a hoarder!)


I didn’t want to go for a crazy colorful look for this sideboard. Yes, I wanted it to feel modern and current but I didn’t want to completely kill its true spirit. To me it doesn’t make sense to take a traditional piece and paint geometric shapes all over it. It’s like putting a mohican on the Queen of England, it just doesn’t work.

So the goal was to make it more modern but keep it classy.


After taking it apart and cleaning it I lightly sanded it. I wanted to higlight its main features, the contouring and the legs that is, and hide the uglier parts. To do this I kept the wood color on the pretty bits and painted the not-so- pretty.

I rubbed the wood parts with solvent to lighten the color a bit. The original color was quite dark and that made the sideboard look old fashioned.

I used a warm white to paint the drawers, doors, top and sides of the sideboard. I think it’s a color that feels fresh and light but still has some depth to it that goes very well with the style of the thing. Pure white would have been too Scandinavian.

Changing the handles and doornobs can do wonders for an old piece of furniture. I used four vintage brass handles for the drawers and two faux bone doornobs for the doors. The idea was to use straight-lined modern pieces but with a classic feel. Nothing too outrageous or contemporary that could spoil the elegant timeless look that I was going for.

The little detail of the keyhold is another reference to that classic style.

Well, I think the difference between the before and after is pretty remarkable. I always say you should really think carefully before getting rid of an old piece of furntiture. Sometimes, a few tweaks here and there can totally transform the piece into something new, and old furniture has a charm that new furniture just takes years to acquire…

OK, so I said the reader had two pieces for me to transform. This old sideboard is one of them, the next one you’ll see in a couple of weeks. It’s another Spanish classic, but with a completely different feel. It’s one of those things that back in the day were considered so cheap and worthless that most people got rid of them, but now they are all super cool and trendy.

If you like this kind of makeover why not visit my furniture makeover projects gallery.

You like this old sideboard’s makeover?

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