Alternative Sideboard / Buffet Options



An 80s china cabinet is given a fresh makeover as a dining room sideboard / server / buffet /



Hello Friends!!   I sincerely hope all is well with you!   I’m excited I’ve got the first finished piece of furniture for my dining room makeover to share with you today!  😀



An 80s china cabinet is given a makeover and used as a server / sideboard / buffet /



As you can see from the photo above, it’s a black sideboard / buffet.   But that’s not what this piece started out as.   It was actually an outdated 1980s Broyhill china cabinet when I purchased it off of Craigslist.   *I neglected to get a before photo of the whole cabinet; the photo below is the exact cabinet currently for sale on Ebay.



Before picture of Ccountry hutch /



I’ve shared plenty of black painted furniture on this site, so that’s not terribly exciting.   My purpose in sharing today is to let you know that there are affordable furniture options out there if your having trouble finding just the right piece.  And that’s pretty exciting, won’t you agree??!


I was having a heck of a time finding an affordable sideboard that would complement our dining room furniture.  They were all either too small, not the right style or time period, or more money than I wanted to spend.    See Exhibit A below.   ….



Ballard Designs Dehaviland 3 Drawer console /



Ballard Designs’ Dehaviland 3 Drawer Console is gorgeous.  As it should be for $1,200!  And don’t forget shipping costs!   Even though it’s staged as an entry way piece, the size is perfect, and it would look lovely in our dining room.  But it’s time for a swift reality check.  We don’t live by family. Our entertaining style is inviting friends over for bonfires, game nights, or deck dinners.  We very seldom eat in our dining room.  Shopping second hand makes good sense, and I continued my search.


While large sideboards appear to be nonexistent on Craigslist, china cabinets, on the other hand, are plentiful and affordable.   Who says you can’t buy a cabinet just for the bottom half??   The ad listed the doors as “lead glass”, but in reality one of them was duck taped together, and the “glass” was actually plastic.  Plus they were ugly as sin in their current state.  (If I had the time, I could have very easily converted them into chalkboards or a sign of some sort.   But we’re in clean out mode in this house, so I decided to donate them.   Someone else will have to take on that trash to treasure project.)    😉

Can you see where I’m going with this makeover?   The bottom portion of the hutch is the perfect proportions for a stand alone sideboard.



Using the bottom portion of a hutch to be used as a sideboard /



You may have seen my Instagram photo soliciting hardware advice.



Using the bottom portion of a china hutch for a sideboard/buffet /



While some sort of brass would have been my first choice because I love black and brass together. (And you’ll remember from my mood board that some of the dining room furniture was being sprayed SW Tricorn Black.) I think the lucite pulls I found at Home Depot are perfect!!



Lucite pulls from Home Depot give an 80s piece a modern look /



Two larger bar pulls for the two drawers and three smaller pulls for the cabinet doors were used:



Lucite bar pulls aid in giving an 80s china cabinet a modern makeover /



I’d like to thank HomeRight for providing me with a large spray shelter, which proved invaluable for this makeover!   The shelter got a lot of use the last couple of weeks, and I’ll go into specifics and further detail in another post.   😀

Spraying the buffet / sideboard was a “breeze”.   😉   After a good cleaning with warm vinegar water, I sprayed a coat of Kilz primer, which I had tinted as dark as they could make it.   When you’re spraying a dark color, dark tinted primer is the way to go.  Especially when painting over cherry, mahogony or dark stain, which we all know can bleed through.  Tinting your primer will help with that. 🙂   I’ve found that small hardware stores are more helpful than big box stores for this.  If they tell you that the can of primer off the shelf is too full to tint, they sell empty paint cans that they can pour the primer in to tint.   A smaller, more helpful shop (ACE Hardware) did this automatically without charging me.  And they gave me a handful of paint can openers to boot!  😉

To eliminate the chance of drips, don’t spray the paint on too heavy or stand too close to the furniture.  And please don’t forget to wear a mask or respirator!   We all want to protect our lungs, right?


Doesn’t it look so much better with just one coat of black?!



Spraying the bottom portion of a hutch to be used as a sideboard/buffet /


I haven’t shopped my house for accessories yet, but I did find some fabulous, affordable lamps at HomeGoods!



Possible dining room lamps found at HomeGoods /



While the aqua lamp is my favorite, and it’s lucite base ties in with the lucite hardware, the cobalt lamp looks the best with the black and my fabric choices for the room.



Updating an 80s china cabinet as a sideboard / buffet /


So here’s an update on the dining room so far:    The tray ceiling and walls were given a fresh coat of paint; the buffet was sprayed and returned to the room;  dining room chairs have been sprayed and have new seat covers  (which I’ll share along with the table); and the china cabinet has been sprayed SW Honorable Blue.  I’m just waiting for my heavy lifters to help me get it back in the room!   I won’t lie.   It’s bright.  So bright I’ve actually put rug shopping on hold until I can actually see it in the room.   While I’ve told the family it will all come together in the room, my fingers are definitely crossed on this one!  😀



Shopping my home for Chihuly inspired dining room decor /




Updating an 80s china cabinet to be used as a sideboard/buffet /



Thanks for following along on my dining room makeover.  And as always, if you have any questions, I’m here for you!  Take care, Cynthia




Sharing with:


The Boondocks Blog French Country Cottage Unique Junktique …… Finding Silver Pennies …   Between Naps on the Porch Coastal Charm Celebrate and Decorate …  Savvy Southern Style  …  Our Hopeful HomeFunky Junk Interiors … Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home … Thrifty Decor Chick … Love of Home



Celebrate Your Story @ Celebrate and Decorate


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27 Responses

  1. Nancy Walden

    I love the “new” buffet! I’m a fan of finding affordable ways to update your home by re-purposing furniture you already own or can buy for a fraction of the original price. I had a two-piece French Country china hutch that had “leaded glass” doors. I couldn’t afford to buy something new so I was planning to remove the top and paint the bottom. I was browsing through Pinterest for ideas when I found an antique armoire that I loved. The glass in my hutch was removable so I enlisted the help of my son-in-law to cut 1/4 plywood panels to use in place of the glass. I added some embellishments from Efex to the new doors and painted the entire piece in pure white Annie Sloan Chalk Paint topped with black wax. I love it now!

    • It sounds lovely, Nancy! Pinterest is a great place for inspiration. Thanks so much for stopping by today! Cynthia

  2. I had the exact same hutch! We split ours up too and repurposed the base into a kitchen island. I’m loving yours painted black – gives it a very classy look. If you really like the expensive Ballard’s version, you could always add some feet to get almost the same look (just say’n). Love the lamp you chose to go with it. Pinned

    • Thank you, Marie! What a great repurpose as a kitchen island, you smart lady!! I actually did consider adding legs, but unfortunately I don’t have the tools or skill set that would require … or the energy. Sometimes (lately, a LOT) I go through the, “ehh … good enough” phase. LOL Thanks for stopping by today. Happy Summer to you! Cynthia

  3. I really like the black. It grounds the space. And what a good idea to use the bottom half of the china cabinet.

    • Thanks, Debra. The black looks really pretty in the room. Hopefully the other pieces will look just as nice. Thanks so much for stopping by today. Hope you’re having a lovely summer! Cynthia

  4. Ahhhhhhh yes, that’s such a great idea Cynthia. The black spray paint and the new hardware makes it look so incredibly classy and who wants to pay a ridiculous price for something that you can redo yourself. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the dining room all turns out

    • Thanks so much, Michelle. I won’t lie … I’m a little nervous how it will all come together. The hutch is pretty bright, but I wanted something fun! Fingers crossed. LOL Thanks for stopping by today. Take care, Cynthia

  5. Margaret Robinson

    Hi —- Was perusing your blog that was on Susan H’s Between Naps on the Porch. You’ve a great site and the things you’ve done are amazing.

    Ace Hardware is fairly close to where we live and I love that both stores are small, people are helpful and friendly. Besides, they carry all the things we need! Big box stores are not always that way. Thanks and I’ll keep looking at your blog posts.

    • Hello Margaret and welcome to Clockwork Interiors. Thanks so much for the kind words! And by all means, stop by as much as you’d like. 😀 Susan’s link party is one of my favorites, and I always visit when I have a new project to share. Hope you’re enjoying a lovely summer. Take care, Cynthia

  6. I simply love the smooth finish accomplished with a sprayer, and have one of those shelters on my to get list , my grass and plants would really appreciate it ! Lol thanks for sharing your project at #fridaysfurniturefix Cynthia, and the hardware is a gorgeous update too!

    • Thank you, Brenda. We’ve got tons of really big trees in Seattle, and all that pollen can be hard to deal with. I couldn’t have finished our dining room furniture without a shelter. I’m loving it. Hope all is well with you. Take care, Cynthia

  7. This turned out really really well. We just finishing doing our dining room chairs today and Hubs said its time to buy a sprayer. Your project is now a gorgeous one of a kind sideboard. Well done.

    • Thank you, Leanna. I think you’d really appreciate a sprayer! I just sprayed my dining room chairs, and I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to paint them all with a brush. And the finish is so smooth. 😀 The HomeRight Finish Max I use sells for around $65 on Amazon, which is a great price. Thanks for stopping by today, Cynthia

  8. It looks fantastic. The pulls give the traditional piece a modern look. It is a great combo.

    • Thank you, Debra. The pulls really make the piece. Can you believe I found them at Home Depot?! Thanks for stopping by today. 😀 Cynthia

  9. WOW! What a great job you did with this piece. I like the square pattern on the drawers better than the arched ones shown on the one you showed that is available on ebay. Your finish is so perfect, I would never have guessed it was a re-purposed piece! Thanks so much for sharing at Celebrate Your Story!

    • Thanks so much, Chloe! I used a HomeRight FinishMax sprayer on all my dining room pieces, which is why there are no brush strokes :D. Super finish and super time saver! Thanks for the party this week! Cynthia

  10. […] out.WOW, is all I could say about this beautiful re-purposing of a piece of furniture by Cynthia of Clockwork Interiors.  I have to admit, I am not the furniture re-styler that so many of my dear readers are.  You […]

  11. This is a gorgeous transformation. I’m not into black, but this is just stunning. You may have given me some ideas to change my mind.

    • Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment today, Carol! I’m always happy to sway someone’s opinion! LOL You’re right though … the combo of black with the light walls is stunning … I keep looking at it! Now I just need to find the perfect chandelier 😀 Take care, Cynthia

  12. Cyhthia I am a real lover of black furniture and I know you have done an amazing job here. Paired with the blue accents it really has a strong commanding air about it. Love the hardware you have chosen – so unexpected and it looks nice with the delicate blue accents. This room is going to turn out fantastic. I have to agree with you, there are so many other furniture options out there besides breaking the bank. I like how you used just the bottom half.

    • Hi Mary! I hope all is well with you! Thanks for “getting” the post. It really wasn’t about a painted piece of furniture. It was about being creative, thinking outside of the box, and falling back in love with the furniture you do have. Wait to you see the china cabinet … you’re going to love it … it’s a very bold blue 😀 Hoping to share my slip covered chairs this week so I’ll “see you” on Friday. Take care friend, Cynthia

  13. Cynthia this is just lovely, a beautiful transformation! I, too, am in the throes of a dining room reno/update and I’m paralyzed with fear that I’ll do the wrong thing(s) and have to live with it for years to come! I know your dining room will turn out fabulous! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm:)
    xo Kathleen|Our Hopeful Home

    • Looking forward to seeing your dining room, Kathleen! I’m with you on the fear. I should have ordered a new chandelier weeks ago, and I just can’t make up my mind. Same goes for the rug, which I feel guilty about not re-using, which is just silly because I’m sure I can use it in another room … but then that may require more paint …. you know who these projects spiral into another! Lots of luck to you! Cynthia

  14. I love the finished product. Some questions….. 1.) Did you do any sanding prior to the primer? 2.) You said you used Kilz primer in a dark color, then did you spray it black after using the primer? I am planning to do this to a whole bedroom set for my daughter!

    • Hello Ruth. Thanks for stopping by today! I gave the hutch a good cleaning inside and out with hot vinegar water, but no sanding. The wood was very dry and the original poly finish was not shiny at all, so I was fairly confident the primer and paint would stick without sanding. If you will not be using furniture specific paint, (milk paint, chalk paint) and your piece is really shiny, I would give it a scuff sanding with 220 grit sandpaper to knock off some of the shine before spraying/painting.

      I think it’s a good idea to match your primer as best you can to your paint color. For example, if I had used a white primer, it would have taken multiple coats of black paint to cover it.

      And don’t forget the hardware. If you will be swapping it out, you may need to fill in old holes and drilling new ones. It’s best to fill in old holes BEFORE you start painting.

      Hope this helps. Last summer I sprayed a set of mid century modern bedroom furniture for my daughter. It’s gorgeous! Feel free to check out the post and happy painting! Cynthia

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