How to Update an Old China Cabinet

Don't overlook that old oak china cabinet at the consignment shop. It may look outdated, but if it's still in pretty good shape, you can update it to look more modern. It won't cost too much to update the piece, either. See below for tips to update a china cabinet. 

Here's What You Need:

  • Deglosser
  • Clean rags
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood filler
  • Chalk paint (in any color you prefer)
  • Soft wax
  • Paintbrush
  • New knobs or pulls


  1. Start by cleaning the china cabinet using a strong cleaner such as TSP, or just use mild dish soap mixed with water. Wipe down the piece from top to bottom and be sure to wipe drawers as well. Remove the drawers and keep them out. If you can, take out any shelves as well.
  2. Next, remove the old knobs or drawer pulls to add updated ones later. Fill in the holes in the piece using wood filler. Allow the wood filler to dry, and then sand it down evenly. Look over the piece and fill in any holes or dents using the wood filler, and then sand it down.
  3. Use the deglosser to remove any glossiness and shine from the piece. This step allows you to skip sanding down the entire china cabinet. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the deglosser container.
  4. Once the deglosser is dry, you can begin applying the chalk paint. Stir the chalk paint well, then begin applying it in thin, even coats to the piece. You can paint it any color you prefer. Chalk paint comes in a variety of colors, and you can add different types of wax to help distress the piece for a more rustic look.
  5. Paint as many coats of the chalk paint as needed until you have the coverage you are looking for. Be sure to allow each coat to dry thoroughly in between.
  6. Once you are finished with the paint, use a soft wax to help soften the paint and give it a smooth feel, rather than a chalky feel. The wax helps make the piece easier to clean as well.
  7. When finished, replace the knobs and drawer pulls with something a little more modern and up to date.
  8. Fill your china cabinet with decor, china or anything you want to showcase.

Don't overlook older furniture. If the piece is still in good condition, you can update it to match your decor using paint, stain, or new upholstery. To get started on this project, check out consignment furniture at businesses like Surroundings Fine Consignments For Your Home.