How to Refresh your chiffonier?

Once only fit for a junk shop, the old piece of furniture could become the prettiest linen cupboard with the help of a fashionable paint shade, wallpaper and lots of TLC.

The junk shop find
This old sideboard with its chiffonier back plate languished at a clearance company and had a 70 pounds price tag. It had stickers on it indicating that it had been shipped to Australia and back during its lifetime, which could be anything up to a century. With pieces like this it can be difficult to see past its browness and finish, but this is practical, simple and classic in shape, and the detailing isn’t over embellished – just rich enough to give the piece some style and personality. Look for furniture in good condition as no amount of elbow grease and paint will rejuvenate a badly damaged piece. The ample room inside begged to be used as a linen cupoard and by painting it a fashionable, subtle shade, an inexpensive piece has become something rather special.


Making good
Remove the old polish with wood cleaner and sand inside and out – first with sandpaper, then finish off with wire wool. For the detailed areas use a sanding fluid with wire wool and an old toothbrush. Mask off any details (hinges and key plates) you don’t want painted. Masking tape can be fiddly, so try Winsor & Newton artist’s masking fluid (available from art supply shops). Seal the wood by priming and undercoating with oil-based paint. This prevents any stain coming through. A small roller gives a good finish for large areas, and a small brush for any detailing. Apply three coats of dead flat oil paint, rubbing down between each coat with wire wool and removing any dust with a tack cloth (these useful cloths are also available in art shops). The same paint was used to refresh a wooden tray picked up at an antiques shop for 10 pounds, and it now looks the part on the top of the linen cupboard.


Finishing touches
We’ve partnered the neutral paint shade with a classic, contrasting wallpaper, with just a hint of the paint colour in its design. This paper has a large pattern repeat so we used up a whole roll – a smaller design would be easier to work with and you could make do with less paper. Using a spray adhesive or wallpaper paste, line the drawer, inside the cupboard, the shelf and the back of the door panels. Protect the paper with a coat of wallpaper varnish.




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