A DIY Kitchen Cabinetry Update for Book Lovers


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Updating the kitchen is always a major project—a messy, time-consuming and expensive endeavor. I work with clients who are often unhappy with their existing kitchens. After a few questions and an assessment, sometimes we realize that all the room needs is a cosmetic makeover. If the layout works and the cabinets are in good shape, there may be no need to rip everything out and start over.

Refinishing cabinetry can dramatically change the look of a kitchen. I try to come up with unique ideas and suggestions beyond the usual paint job. Every room in your house should reflect your family’s personality, and the modern kitchen is a gathering place where we spend a lot of time.

This project involves paint and decoupage. It works best on Shaker style door fronts—one with an inset or recessed panel.


I pulled an old cabinet out of storage. It has a door, two wood shelves and a drawer. I like the drawer at the top, but it works on the bottom too. It can hang on the wall or sit on the counter.

Grey is the new neutral. It goes with everything and has more personality than beige! I chose a medium shade in a satin finish. I didn’t want a regular old paint job so I looked in my kitchen drawer and pulled out a vegetable scrubber brush.


Working in small areas at a time, I painted two coats of the grey over the original blue color. Do not wait for the paint to dry between coats. While it was still wet, I dragged the vegetable brush through the paint. Go with the wood grain and repeat until you get a look you like. I wanted a hint of the navy to show through.

To decoupage the drawer front and inset door panel, you will need:

  • Cutting mat
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Straight edge ruler
  • Mod-Podge
  • Sponge brush
  • Book pages
  • IMAGE-7-Decoupage-Supplies

    Use the metal ruler and X-Acto knife to get nice straight edges. Choose pages from a book that has meaning to you. For the kitchen, recipes would be the perfect solution. I’m a Francophile, so I found an early French grammar book to use.

    I like to get a basic layout before I glue the pages to the cabinet. I rearrange and cut out small pieces so the whole piece is covered.


    Brush the Mod Podge onto the surface with a sponge brush. Add pages and continue to cover with the decoupage solution. When complete, recover the whole area two or three times with more of the Mod Podge.

    The new look also called for new hardware. I purchased inexpensive chrome knobs with a recessed surface. I glued plastic crystals to the top and installed them in the existing holes-very glam!


    I used the same paint technique on the inside door. The inside cabinet was treated to plain old paint. It took three coats to cover the old blue.

    The original wood shelves looked too heavy, so I had the local glass company cut new glass shelves. Now this small cabinet is perfect for storage or display. Just imagine the whole kitchen redecorated in such a unique finish. Your kitchen will go from “blah” to “WOW!”

    Merri Cvetan is an interior designer who writes for Home Depot about crafty new ideas for updating kitchens. Merri also shares quick décor updates that can make a strong aesthetic impact. Check out The Home Depot for more ideas on updating your kitchen.

    • Merri Cvetan

      Hi 4flighting! Thanks so much. I’m glad you like the project. I like working with decoupage. There are so many creative things you can do with it. Like your music lamp shade. I love it! Perfect for the musician or music lover. Adding and overlapping the extra pieces gives the shade nice dimension and creates interesting shadows when the light is on.Bravo! Merri

    • Very nice! I’ve done a similar sort of thing with sheet music on lampshades. Example at http://fourflighting.com/2014/05/07/black-stars-and-falling-leaves/ (scroll down).