top of page

DIY Curio transformation to a bright modern look

I haven’t tackled too many DIY projects as they usually go downhill, however I had been staring at this relatively drab corner of my otherwise bright and cheerful dining room for a few years with an air of apathy. The curio itself had good structure, holding a lot of my pretty plates and bowls and with its clear glass doors and interior lighting, I didn’t want to part ways. So, I bravely decided to try and paint it. Yikes! Once I started I knew there was no going back. Here I will share all the steps I took to make this corner into a breath of fresh air that I actually enjoy looking at.


The Before:

This curio cabinet was purchased in 2007 as part of Cindy Crawford’s line at the now forever closed Art Van. So, by no means is it an antique or something I would feel tooo bad about painting over. But, I was very hesitant to start. It was more of a whim really, on a late Friday afternoon, I decided-- I’m going to do this.

I actually had a quart of this amazing Magnolia shiplap Chalk white paint that I had used before on a small console table that has held up for a few years beautifully. You have to use a chalk paint brush to apply it in small, fast strokes. This paint is amazing for an amateur like me because it 1. Doesn’t require sanding 2. Goes on so smoothly and adds a natural vintage look by settling into the grooves. Also, wanted to add that, no, it has nothing to do with a chalkboard and it isn’t actually made with chalk.

Step One-

Take everything out:

Then tape up all the borders shared with glass and remove hardware. (Ideally you would take out the hinges and remove the doors, but I didn't know how to do that and skipped that part (bad idea you will see why later).

Next, start painting! The first coat looks terrible like you are doing some sort of primer. Don’t let anyone in your family come near you while you are doing this part—or you will hear things like ”Oh no! you ruined it” or “why is it so blotchy?!”

Once you have done a first coat, wait for it to dry about ten minutes and come at it with the amazing second coat that smooths everything out and gives it that grainy vintage look.

Now, because I am an amateur and also nobody was willing to help me move this beast of a curio and we are still in Coronavirus lockdown, I decided to paint it right here in its spot. I covered the floor beneath with old paper grocery bags and didn’t take the doors (i.e. hinges) off. Sadly, I did get some white paint on the hinges even with being very careful. Thankfully, Mr. Clean magic eraser truly proved its magic in cleaning off that paint right away.

Almost done! The next night I took most of the blue tape off (ever so satisfying) and painted any areas that needed touching up.

Finally the painting is done! Now I have to wait for the pretty hardware I ordered and sand the edges for a vintage look. I used this small handheld sander and lightly went over any edges that would normally be affected by wear and tear.

After sanding all the edges, a wax seal to create a smooth finish was applied and was pretty easy and straightforward. I didn't stain the wood as the wood underneath was already dark and could easy just sand the edges for a stained vintage look.


Yay! The handles arrived! I chose these pretty lucite and brass pulls from this really awesome family owned business called Hook and Knob. Amazing handmade quality and fair prices too.

They looked so pretty on the curio and really added to the overall bright modern vibe!



It isn’t perfect. I am NOT a professional painter and have only done one other DIY painting before, but it was fun and ever so satisfying to see this corner so bright and fresh looking. I have a cozy little spot with a tufted chair by the window that is directly facing this curio and I guarantee I will be spending more time there, likely with my morning cup of coffee once our Annabelle hydrangeas bloom outside said window.


The chalk paint is really what made this project so easy and simple and added an easy vintage look without the trouble of sanding and staining. I already have another paint project lined up using her dark grey version! Stay tuned.

1,528 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page