DIY Industrial Furniture Makeover

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Transform your interior decor with an industrial sideboard that adds a modern and edgy touch to your home decor. Workshop furniture is much sought-after by second-hand dealers and vintage enthusiasts. On classifieds websites, these pieces sell fast and prices are skyrocketing.

Christelle was lucky enough to come across this small piece of workshop furniture in quite good condition. It’s a rather original piece of furniture with 2 doors, 3 large drawers and 14 small drawers. It had been lying dormant in a garage for many years. It was covered with thick coats of paint of a dubious yellow. Even the metallic handles had been painted! It looked rather unattractive, but it was an interesting piece of furniture nonetheless.

Step by Step Makeover

Cleaning and stripping

When tackling an old piece of furniture, cleaning is very important. Vintage pieces are generally very dirty. If you want to know how we clean old pieces before any repurpose job, check out this post.

Cleaning before painting is even more important if the furniture has been used in a workshop, as it will have grease or oil stains. Cleaning also allows you to review the general condition of the piece.

After a thorough cleaning, Christelle started sanding the entire piece. She entirely stripped the old paint from the drawer fronts. On the top and sides of the cabinet, the old paint was not completely removed, in order to preserve its industrial look. The handles were also removed and stripped.

Christelle decided to remove the two front doors. She thought that the style of these doors did not match the style of this cabinet and wanted to create an open storage space. The hinges were also removed from the cabinet. Of course, the two doors were put aside for a future project.


The drawer fronts were painted with dark grey paint. Christelle had this paint in stock. If you like this shade of paint, you may choose Dixie Belle Mineral Paint – Black Sands. This paint has a built-in water-based primer and built-in is of excellent quality and easy to apply.

After stripping the handles, Christelle noticed that they were in poor condition. She therefore decided to paint them with spray paint. She chose a matt silver for a more natural look.

Once the peint was dry, a clear matt topcoat was applied to the entire piece to protect it.

The handles were then reinstalled in their original position. Some of the original screws were rusty, while others were missing. So Christelle had to go in search of new screws. This size of screw was quite rare and Christelle’s local hardware store did not have the perfect size in stock. Christelle had to go to a bolts and nuts shop to find some.

This makeover is complete! I really like the detail of these shell handles with the little slot underneath. They’re really original. I also like the fact that the furniture hasn’t been completely stripped. The traces of the old paint reinforce the industrial style of this piece of furniture and give it a unique look. Make sure to check out this post: Vintage Card Catalog Cabinet Refinish to visit more industrial makeovers.

The end result is a charming and full of history piece of furniture. Vintage workshop furniture is perfect for adding a modern, avant-garde touch to your interior design. This workshop piece of furniture could be placed in an entrance hall, a bedroom or even a kitchen. I could also see it in a large, modern bathroom. The drawers can hold lots of cosmetics, while the shelves can be used to store pretty towels or decorative items. This is the perfect piece to create a stylish and functional space with an industrial vibe.

I hope this makeover of an old piece of workshop furniture will inspire you. Please feel free to share your own projects or ask any questions in the comments section.

Happy Makeover!

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