Home Improvement

10 Must Know Tips Before Installing Furniture in the Kitchen

Candlesticks painted with chalk paint used as bookends | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com

One of the biggest joys of my little DIY life is ripping out a builder’s grade cabinet and replacing it with a piece of furniture.A bronze box is covered with chalk paint for a fresh look | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com

I’m serious. Nothing helps me get my grin on like looking at a builder’s grade cabinet through the rear view mirror.  🙂

A bronze casserole is refreshed with a creamy white chalk paint | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com

TIP #1:  Think outside the box.  A piece may need to be modified or refinished in order to fit your space.

If you recall, what is now a full-on obsession actually started on the other side of the room.  Remember when the builder’s grade desk and overhead cabinets were removed from the kitchen corner and replaced with an outdated TV armoire…that had been divided in half….and refinished in blue?  Click here for details.

TV cabinet makeover using Fusion Mineral Paint | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com

TIP #2:  If a perfectly sized piece cannot be found, consider building one.

And then, when I couldn’t ever find a cabinet…plate rack…or open shelving unit to go over the chest, we finally custom-designed and built a plate rack to fit the space?  Click here for details.

Aqua charger plates stand behind a casserole refreshed with chalk paint | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com

TIP #3:  Consider combining different colors, textures, and finishes.

Now, each end of the kitchen is anchored with a furniture-piece-turned-cabinet, but notice that the brown color balance actually occurs between the hutch and the drapes.  One of these days, you’ll get a full tour so you can see how all of this reconstruction actually fits together.  It’s been quite a project, but hooray, it’s almost done.

A hutch made of reclaimed pine functions as a cabinet and anchors one end of the kitchen | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com

TIP #4:  Always be ready.  Pieces can show up when you least expect it.

But, for now, let’s talk about this cabinet.  It’s actually a hutch made out of reclaimed antique pine that replaced the builder’s version of a butler’s pantry.  And, I gotta tell ya, I looked for months and months……..and months and months.  It was the whole Goldilocks thing acting out in cabinet form.  Some pieces were too big.  Others….too small.  And, all of them…..too expensive.

To save money, mix furniture pieces with traditional kitchen cabinets | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com

TIP #5:  To catch a real deal, watch the top decor sites like a hawk.

Then one day, in true fairy tale fashion, this hutch pops up on the clearance page of an online home decor site.  I’ll never forget it.  It was Sunday afternoon, football was on in the background, and I just happen to be flipping through email.  When I clicked open the site, I naturally went to the clearance pieces first.  I mean, who doesn’t?  

Reclaimed antique pine hutch replaces a section of builder's grade cabinets | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com

TIP #6:  Have your measurements memorized and your credit card ready.

****Make sure to measure past the baseboard and through to the drywall.  

****Also measure every 12 to 18 inches width and height and depth because structures may not be plumb.  The installers may have to adjust the site for the piece.  If so, the end opening may change.

But anyway, what timing….. because, when I dialed in, there was only ONE unit left.  Of course, I took it as a “sign” and immediately threw it into my cart. Then, I turbo-bounced down the stairs to measure and remeasure and think and rethink and talk and retalk to Hubs ….all before checking out.  Except…there was only 12-minutes before the cart clock ran out.  Eccccck.

Kitchen Makeover Hutch Faux Apothecary Chest | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com


TIP #7:  Read ahead.  Know the tax and delivery protocol for your online company before you buy.

We were able to get a $200.00 credit because I had kept up with a delivery promotion on the their website.  When the site didn’t allow me to apply the promotion code at check out, I finished the transaction to secure the piece and then made a phone call to customer service.  The policy that is in effect when you order is the policy they must provide.  If their system doesn’t allow you to apply it at checkout, find out why. 

And the rest, my friends, is history.  The “deal-of-the-century” hutch fit into that space like it was custom-made for it.

How’s that for a miracle?  

Candlesticks painted with chalk paint used as bookends | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com

TIP #8:  Cut away the baseboard so that the unit fits flat against the wall.  If the unit is a hutch, set the unit flat against the wall and secure the unit to the wall at the top, middle, and bottom.

Almost all of the accessories were given a new look with chalk paint and/or glaze..  The details for the ombre candlesticks are here.  And, the details for the faux rust and aqua tray are here.  Even a big ‘ole bronze casserole and old books put on a lighter swag with a simple coat of creamy-white chalk paint and a light coat of tobacco-colored glaze.  The details for glazing an accessory are here.

Ombre candlesticks are made with chalk paint | www.thechelseaproject.com

TIP #9:  Consider the furniture’s durability before installing as a cabinet.

Just to tell you, I left all of the central kitchen cabinets in place and had a professional crew do the custom millwork and refinish.  The furniture pieces that were installed are away from the food preparation and water areas.   Both are used only for dish storage.  If you want to catch a peek at the kitchen cabinet rebuild by the pros, click here for the details.  

TIP #10:  If you remove cabinets, the floor may need to be repaired before the furniture is installed.  Remember to add this cost into the economic equation.

I was really lucky because the base of the hutch completely covered the lack of flooring after the butler’s pantry was removed.  There was also a section about 18-inches by 18-inches left vacant from the desk, but I was able to repair and faux paint over it.  Again, I was really lucky because it isn’t noticeable with the chest in position.

10 Tips for Buying and Installing Furniture as Kitchen Cabinets | www.thechelseaproject.com 

And, that’s all there is to it.  Buying furniture to use as cabinets is similar to buying cabinets to use as cabinets.  🙂  Well, almost.  

Good luck with your kitchen makeover.  I do hope you’ll let me know how it works out.

Furniture as Kitchen Cabinets | 10 Must Know Tips | www.thechelseaproject.com


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  • Reply 1915house March 15, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Beautiful kitchen, beautiful piece

    • Reply theChelseaProject March 16, 2016 at 9:23 am

      Thanks, Sarah. This one was all about luck. LOL.

  • Reply Mary-The Boondocks Blog March 16, 2016 at 9:39 am

    That is one gorgeous piece, the wood just shines through. Susie! Thanks for the tips.

    • Reply theChelseaProject March 16, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Thanks, Mary. I’ve never regretted waiting all those months (nearly 12) to find it.

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