Painted Farmhouse Cabinet

An outdated oak cabinet gets a farmhouse look with DIY chalk paint that matches the walls, and is no longer an eyesore!

base cabinet before
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Hey friends, I've spent the week working on a piece in my kitchen! Remember my plans to update the dark oak cabinet that was ruining the farmhouse feel in my kitchen? Well, it's gone buh-bye...the oak, not the cabinet!

I know that oak was super popular in it's hey-day...but that crazy grain, shiny finish and dark color were not doing my kitchen any favors! As soon as you walked into the space, this oak cabinet drew your eye...and not it a good way!

It looked out of place, and it didn't fit the farmhouse feel of my kitchen.

Aside: at this point, I had painted the kitchen walls but not the ceiling yet; the whole dang kitchen was the same color from floor to ceiling!

After mulling over what color to paint the oak cabinet, I decided to paint it the same color as the walls...hoping it would recede and not be so noticeable.

I mixed up some diy chalk paint using leftover wall paint, a great way to save money when you're on a budget!

I've got some real pretty pictures to show you of the completed project, but first we need to look at some not-so-pretty pictures of the process. It took me nearly 5 days to complete this beast! Here's a look back at the work that was done to transform a dark oak cabinet into a farmhouse beauty.

Day 1 - Cleaning and Painting the Base Cabinet

- cleaned the cabinet top to bottom with my favorite degreaser
- mixed up a batch of diy chalk paint
- painted the base cabinet with 3 coats of diy chalk paint
- lightly sanded (not to distress, just to smooth the paint)
- brushed on 2 coats of flat top coat for protection

painting base cabinet

I know it looks white in these pictures, but the color is really a pale gray. By the third coat, it was looking mighty fine!

Day 2 - Painting Upper cabinet

- took doors off upper cabinet
- taped off around upper cabinet where it met the wall and ceiling
- painted 3 coats of gray chalk paint on the upper cabinet, outside only
- lightly sanded
- applied 2 coats of top coat

upper cabinet

Day 3 - Painting Inside of Upper Cabinet

Today was the day I planned to paint the inside of the cabinet. I decided to use white chalk paint on the inside so my dishes would really pop. I really should have done a coat or two of primer, but I was lazy...and wound up doing more work 😕 (Note: don't be like me!)

favorite white paint

- painted 5 coats of white chalk paint (yes, you read that right...this sucker needed 5 coats of white paint to completely cover that oak!)
- wondered if it might be easier just to dump a gallon of paint inside and spread it around with my hands!
- finally finished and once dry, brushed on top coat

painting over oak

Day 4 - Painted Doors

- took the glass out of the cabinet doors
- painted the doors, front and back with 3 coats of paint
- lightly sanded, and then brushed on poly top coat

Day 5 - Painted Shelves

- painted the shelves with white paint (3 coats, top and bottom)
- lightly sanded and brushed on top coat

Note: they really needed another coat or two but I figured the shelves would be covered with stuff and not get seen much.

painting an oak cabinet

Whew, 5 days of just painting, sanding and applying top coat!

And finally, we have a finished farmhouse cabinet!

farmhouse cabinet

I did find the perfect hardware. I used three of these drawer pulls from Target and think they suit the cabinet much better than the old ones!

And I found time to sew a quick skirt from drop cloth! There's some great storage under the cabinet, and the skirt hides it from daily view!

The bottom cabinet is now a dedicated coffee bar, with everything I need to get my first cuppa joe in the morning!

coffee bar

cabinet with coffee bar

And the hutch provides a dedicated space for all my mugs, coffee and tea supplies, as well as some of my white ironstone pitchers and blue transfer ware collection (because every hutch needs a little bit of pretty, right?!)

pretty dishes

displaying dishes

The best part is that this cabinet makes sense in the space fits the farmhouse style rather than looking awkward and heavy and overbearing in this small space!

painted cabinet before and after

Did I inspire you with this painted oak cabinet makeover? Are you looking at your oak pieces and wondering how they'd look with fresh paint?

Update: the ceiling is white and the kitchen feels like home!

painted farmhouse coffee bar

Further Update: We added some leftover shiplap to the entry wall! An easy afternoon project. Please feel free to PIN this image so you can refer back! 

farmhouse kitchen

Now that the colors are right in our kitchen, it is so much easier to decorate! I just swapped out the striped curtains for some bold and colorful ones. It's a super cute update and perfect for the warmer months! You can read that post here.

bringing beauty to the ordinary,


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  1. Cindy I love, love, love this! I know that paint has the power to transform but every time I see it I am left with my mouth opened! What a great example. It looks 100 times better and fits in with the rest of the room. I really like the skirt too.

    1. Thank you so much Mary, I'm always amazed at how different a piece looks after being painted!

  2. What a lot of hard work. It looks great. I'm sure you are thrilled.

    1. Yes, it was a lot of work Anne, but so worth it! Me and my kitchen couldn't be happier ☺

  3. Wow! The cabinet looks great! Love everything about it. It is amazing how a little paint can transform something!

    1. Thank you Pam, I'm always amazed at the power of paint to completely give a new look!

  4. Love the new look! Can't wait to see the rest of the room.

  5. I know this is an old post but have to say, you did a beautiful job on this. Your decision to paint it the same color as your walls was spot on and makes the room flow. It doesn't slam you in the face when you first see it but draws the eye in a beautiful way. wonderful!


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