From Trash To Treasure arched Cabinet Makeover

To say this arched hutch cabinet is my best Facebook Marketplace find to date is an understatement! Wow, I got so lucky!

Display cabinets have been so trendy but even if I don’t necessarily like to follow just any trend, I’ve been loving the different display cabinets on the market and I really wanted one! So, you can guess that I had been searching for a little while. Every time I’d find one I loved, the price was quite high, anywhere between $2000 and $6000, which is not a budget I wanted to invest into a cabinet right now.

So, I kept searching and refining my search. I actually built a list of keywords that I’d use to search mainly Facebook Marketplace in the hope that I’d get my hands on one for a decent price. I did find a few that I liked but they would get snatched so fast!

And one day, I fell on this one…. it had everything I wanted… from size to shape but it was outdated and you know how much I love up cycling! So, I immediately messaged the seller. It was posted for FREE!!

The person was moving and needed to get rid of it within 24 h or so, first come first serve basis, he wouldn’t reserve it! I said I’d take it and would get back to him within 15 minutes to schedule a time. I knew he wouldn’t wait, and I immediately called my husband and asked him if he could change his schedule to get it for me… yikes! which he agreed to cos he knows me better by now 🙂

I was jumping!!! My husband was not too happy because it was so heavy and he had to bring it down a narrow staircase, but he made it, haha! I immediately knew what I was going to make out of it and I am sharing all the process and sources below. I hope it inspires you to makeover one or any other item you love!


  • Sand paper 220 & 320 grit
  • Wood filler
  • Polycrylic
  • Painters tape
  • Paint brushes (large & small)
  • Roller
  • Spatula
  • Cement contact glue

Cabinet Makeover Process

The cabinet had glass shelves which I removed and a mirror as the back which I also removed and will be making another DIY with it at some point.

I also removed the thin metal trim that was nailed to it on the front as well as the old hardware. Therefore, I started by applying wood filler in the holes left by the trim nails and the hardware because I was going to change them and did not want to be limited to the exact size of the old ones, and the two places where it was damaged.

So, the cabinet is made of real wood but was covered with thick burl wood veneer and my first thought was to remove it. Since it was slightly chipped in 2 places, I tried taking out a little portion but saw that it would be so lengthy and I would probably damage the wood.

So, I shifted gears and opted to paint over it. I had two choices, either prime or lightly sand for the paint to adhere, which I did. I took a 220 grit paper and sanded the entire cabinet by hand to ensure it doesn’t get damaged. Then I made another round with a 320 grit paper to ensure the surface is smooth. It was pretty easy to remove the varnish it had and scratch the surface enough to get the paint to adhere!

Ideally, applying a primer would have been even better, but I skipped this part. Once that was done, I wiped the dust from the cabinet and set out to tape and paint. I used Sherwin Williams Iron Ore which is a soft black that I love and painted 3 coats on all the inside and outside, letting each coat dry properly and very lightly hand sanding in between.

Side note: if this happens to you like it did to me (haha)... I forgot to tape the inside of the cabinet thinking that I had already done so since I was seeing the outside tape through the glass! Let's call this me being tired! Anyhow, if it does happen, simply let your paint dry and gently scrape with a razor scraper.

Then, it was time to tackle the back… probably the part that was most lengthy and boring. It was covered with a gold textured aluminum paper. Since I wanted to cover it with flex wood veneer, I wanted to make sure it would adhere and stay on. So, I ventured into removing it by tearing it bit by bit. This afternoon of work turned into a family activity because my kids saw me and wanted to help, and I love this! Slowly but surely, after a few hours, we were able to almost remove it all, enough to be able to stick the flex wood sheet.

So I traced the shape on the flex sheet. Then, I tried ironing it as you’d usually do but the glue wasn’t effective enough for it to stick. So, I applied contact cement glue on both sides, let it sit and glued the veneer onto the back. I chose birch veneer because it is light enough with veining to contrast with the dark black color and it would complement the rest of the wood I have in the living room. I initially wanted oak, but couldn’t find any in stock at that time. When it was glued, I cut the excess with a cutter.

I then used a mat polycrylic to protect all the painted area and left it to dry for 24 h.

For the shelves, I bought some birch covered plywood that I had Home Depot cut for me to size. It saved me time on the cutting and they did an amazing job. Just gave them the measurements and my shelves were ready to be installed. If it is of interest, it costs $1 per cut, so the total for the 4 shelves cost me $70. I nailed the back of the cabinet in place and voilà, the heavy lifting was all done. I still had the hardware to tackle.

I looked for a while for something I really loved that would pop and contrast well with the black color. I found the pulls on the bottom of the cabinet on Amazon and the knobs of the upper doors on Etsy.

While waiting for them to arrive, I used some Rub’n Buff I had in Antique Gold to apply it to the hinges with a small paintbrush. But, I went too fast, when the first handles arrived, they weren’t quite the same color. Luckily, I had one of my fave gold spray paint that is more like brass, the Design Master 14K Gold spray paint. So I spray painted in a small cup and took the paint with a little brush to apply it over the Rub’n Buff. The result was perfect, exactly the color that matched the hardware.

Cost Breakdown

  • Cabinet: $0
  • PureBond sanded plywood: $70
  • Hardware: $60
  • Flex veneer: $66 (32″x99″)

I already had the Rub’n Buff, the paint and the tools.

Facebook Marketplace Keywords I Used

Now, the most asked questions I received in DMs on Instagram during and after the transformation….

What keywords did you use to find it! Agreed, I was lucky to find it and on top of this for free!

So here’s what I used. I did search for 2-3 months prior to finding it and I did find other options before this one but they got taken so fast!

  • Arched cabinet
  • Arched curio
  • Arched hutch
  • Antique china cabinet
  • Glass cabinet
  • Arched bookcase
  • Curved furniture
  • Vintage bookcase
  • Vintage hutch
  • Rounded cabinet

A Few Tips for FBMP…

  • Save any product that is similar or that you want even if it’s taken… FBMP’s algorithm will make more suggestions like your saves
  • Be quick when you find something and tell the person you’d take it right away
  • Offer a deposit
  • Quickly make arrangements for pick-up

Sources & Other Cabinet Roundups

Birch Flex Veneer

Birch Plywood

Rub’n Buff

Design Master 14K Gold Spray Paint

Sherwin Williams Iron Ore

Top Hardware

Bottom Hardware

I’ve also rounded up a few options for you if you’re thinking of buying one…

Now… Is it something you would take on? You can leave me a comment below, and don’t forget to sign-up for the newsletter to get access to exclusive projects and more!

Thank you for following along!

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