French country china hutch makeover

This is one of my favorite furniture DIYs ever. Not only was it a dramatic makeover but had the happy result of coming out even better than I’d hoped. Bonus: it was all very budget-friendly!

french country china hutch makeover

I feel like I have to get to know a home before I can decorate it how it ought to be. Much of the furniture we had in our previous home still worked in here, but some of it did not make the cut in this little 1960’s house at the beach. One area that needed a complete re-do was our open dining area. It was okay, but not great.

For the first few years after we moved, our dining area looked like this.

Giving the dining area a coastal farmhouse vibe.

A few years ago I bought a trestle style dining table and bench made out of reclaimed wood from a 100+ year old home in the nearby city of Wilmington. They’re put together with wooden pegs rather than nails. It’s exactly what I’ve wanted for years and years. I don’t remember what I paid (found it on craigslist) but it was way less than ordering something custom or buying it in a furniture store. Score!

coastal dining room with painted hutch and reclaimed wood trestle table
{dining area, after}

I’ve decided the closest I can come to naming my decorating style is french country coastal cottage farmhouse. Or farmhouse-cottage, maybe? Anyway, the new dining table was awesome but I still wanted a different china hutch. This time facebook marketplace came through for me with another deal: $125 for this french country hutch.

french county dining hutch, before
{china hutch, before}

In spite of it having all sorts of chips and a rather cheap-looking laminate finish, I loved its shape and size and curves and planned to leave it as is for a while. However, even though I cleaned it like I do before bringing any new piece of furniture in the house, over the next week I noticed all sorts of tiny bugs started appearing. Eww. So we sprayed that sucker with bug killer, then I put cotton balls with peppermint essential oil in all the drawers to freshen it up and further repel critters — and I decided it needed a full makeover ASAP.

Chipped and cheap to chalk-finished awesomeness.

I opted to use Krylon Chalky Finish paint from Lowes in Timeless White, which is water based so it cleans up easily — and it was cheaper and easier to find locally than the Annie Sloan chalk paint I’ve used before. (I probably lightly sanded and primed with Kilz before painting, but it’s been a few years and I honestly cannot remember.)

distressing and brass hardware on painted china hutch

I distressed it a little, sanding a few key places. I’m not a fan of extensive distressing; I just want it to look like it’s been used and loved. Also, a little distressing makes me less likely to lose my cool when a kid or pet inevitably bumps or scratches it.

Rather than replace the handles, I soaked them in a vinegar solution and scrubbed them with a small wire-bristle brush. This brightened them a bit without making them look super-shiny. I didn’t love the door hardware so I found a set of wooden knobs in a natural finish with sea-themed motif decoupaged on them. I bought them from this etsy shop, although I no longer see this exact set.

wooden decoupage nautical knob set on french country dining hutch

Because I wanted more light reflecting in here and because I wanted to hide whatever useful things I’d end up storing inside, I chose to mirror-paint the glass. While I had the doors off for painting, I used a razor blade to scrape the criss-cross pattern off the glass, then used Krylon Looking Glass spray paint on the inside of the glass. That part is important! The first time I used this spray paint on a project, I did not realize it would only look mirrored from the back side of where it was painted.

teacup storage and bright blue inside of china hutch
{hutch with bright blue painted inside}

Inside of the hutch, I used one of the many paint sample jars I have stashed. You never know when you’ll need a fun color and I picked some of my stash on the “oops” rack at Lowe’s for just 50 cents. This fun tropical turquoise is called Parakeet Pete and I absolutely love it. I currently have tea cups and such on one side, household and work binders and useful/ugly books and such on the other side, with sewing and craft supplies in the middle. The drawers hold more craft supplies, chargers for all our devices, tablecloths I’ll probably never use, and more.

Although the dining table is often covered in clutter, or a dying plant I’m trying to save, or my sewing machine, or Ken’s laptop when he’s on-call for work — this is one delightfully decorated corner of our little home.