Painting Built Ins | Pop of Bright Color and Pattern

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If you have a built-in bookshelf or china cabinet in your home that is an eyesore, you can paint built in shelves.  It’s easier than you think, and it will give you so much joy.  Pick a favorite color, and an embellishment (decoupage paper, decor transfer, stencil, etc.) you love.  You can do this!

Here is the eyesore china cabinet I was working with.  It’s built in to my sister-in-law Becky’s living room.

built-in before

To get started, Becky emptied all the decor, and we removed the doors, hardware and shelves.  Then I gave everything a good cleaning with White Lightning and a rinse with clean water.

Here are the supplies I used.

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Mermaid Tail

Before painting this emerald green color, I decided to prime with gray BOSS.  Since this was old thirsty wood, I wanted to make sure my paint would adhere evenly.  I probably don’t say this enough, but BOSS is really a great base for any paint job.  It is smooth and grips well.

Mermail Tail is a saturated color, and matches perfectly with  the Latin Floral transfer. I only painted one coat because I had additional layers to add.  If you are using straight Mermaid Tail, I’d recommend two coats.

latin floral china cabinet

On the doors and drawers, I blended Driftwood Gray in the middle as a highlight.  I also added a little Florida Orange and Amethyst around the frame and on the top of the base for some subtle interest.

latin floral china cabinet bottom side angle

Latin Floral Transfer

This transfer is part of Dixie Belle’s Belles and Whistles line.  It has a folk art vibe, and can really be used in a variety of ways.  I have already seen furniture artists do a wide variety of looks with it.

I personally love it for the colors.  Becky wanted the primary colors toned down a little bit to fit into the room, so I did a wash of Driftwood over the frame and the whole top section.

latin floral china cabinet wide shot

To pull it all together, I dry brushed the Driftwood over everything including the transfer.  I love the way this fades out the transfer and makes it almost look like fabric.

Latin floral china cabinet bottom

I sealed the whole thing with Easy Peasy spray wax.  Normally, I like the liquid top coats, but the spray wax was just so much faster and easier for this large built in.

We added back the hardware with a little highlight of Bronze and Gold gilding waxes.  Becky is planning to change the handles out for porcelain ones at some point which I think will be super cute.  She may also add a colorful little rug in front of it.  

The piece also has glass doors on the top that I left off for the purpose of taking the photos.

So what do you think of this transformation?  Painting built ins takes minimal time, effort and expense for a huge payoff.  It’s definitely  a feature in the room now.  Please Pin!

latin floral built in Pin

Stick around and check out these other colorful makeovers!

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4 thoughts on “Painting Built Ins | Pop of Bright Color and Pattern”

  1. WOW what a transformation! Love the new look. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen

    1. Shannon says:

      Thanks, Kathleen! I loved your post on architectural salvage, and love using it in my home as well! xo, Shannon

  2. Allyson says:

    The floral transfer design is so pretty and makes the built-in even more unique looking! How to tone down the colors was a good tip to know.

    1. Shannon says:

      Hi Allyson,
      Glad you like the Latin Floral transfer. Thanks so much for stopping by! xo, Shannon

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