Saturday, March 14, 2020

21 Before & After: From Tired Cabinet to Bathroom Storage

Our bathroom vanity is only 30" wide so we have always had to get a little creative with our storage situation. Up until recently, we had been utilizing a tall bathroom cabinet to house many of our daily toiletries. Over the years, that cabinet began to slowly fall apart. First, the bottom drawer front fell off so I just put a tall basket in its place. More recently, all of the drawer fronts had completely fallen off, the sliding drawer hardware had snapped, and the cabinet wasn't even hanging on by a thread. It was time to snip that thread, cut our losses, and look for an alternative solution.

(You can see my previous post on our bathroom organization here.)

The bathroom itself hasn't been updated in about 15 years now and is something we would like to tackle within the next year or two. Once we were sans cabinet, I needed something ASAP to keep our limited counter space free of my clutter and to make up for the loss of three drawers and three shelves. You know where I am going with this right? I really didn't want to invest a lot of money into something knowing that we aren't too far away from making more permanent changes to the bathroom.

With that in mind, I went straight to Facebook Marketplace to look for an inexpensive solution. I was looking for a piece of furniture that wasn't too deep (I didn't want it to be obtrusive in our modest-sized bathroom) and something with doors. With the germs that fly in the bathroom, I always prefer storage behind drawers and doors. Doors also cut down on the amount of surface that I have to clean and wipe down frequently. I initially thought a lawyer style bookcase would be a bit different, but with our bathroom being on the smaller side, I ultimately decided it would be nice to do something with more glass. So I started to search for curio style cabinets that were less than 14" deep.

I figured that it would be a quick find, but it took some weeks of checking in and trying a variety of search terms. I finally stumbled upon something within my low budget, but it would require some modifying to make it juuuuuuust right.

The picture above is from the original listing, and my husband raised his eyebrows when I told him I wanted to take a drive to pick up this piece of furniture for our bathroom. Although the wood wasn't in great shape, the price was low and I saw a diamond in the rough.

What I was instantly drawn to was the top half of the cabinet. The glass portion was the perfect size and I also appreciated the decorative moulding for a more traditional look. The bottom of the cabinet wasn't at all my style and felt too bulky, but my hope was that we could construct something a bit more streamlined. As soon as we got the cabinet back into our home, we began to slowly deconstruct it to separate the top piece from the bottom.

We built the new base from hardwood 1" x 2" poplar boards.

Our Kreg Jig was our best friend for this project, as it allowed us to create a series of concealed pocket holes to assemble a clean looking finished product.

The base of the cabinet was going to be about 12" deep by 24" wide. We did two tiers of support so we would be able to add a shelf at the bottom as well. The legs were constructed of 2" x 2" boards.

We screwed the 1" x 2" side pieces into the 2" x 2" legs (twice). Then we attached the back and front 1" x 2" pieces.

Almost there!

We cut a 1/2" piece of birch plywood to create the bottom shelf.

I always freak out a little during the middle. I was worried the clean and simple bottom wasn't going to tie into the more traditional top. But before I made any final judgment, I decided to prime and paint the entire piece a solid color.

Prior to painting, I did a few things to prep the cabinet. We used our brad nailer to affix the shelf to the base. Then I caulked all of the cracks around the legs. I used a sanding block to sand everything down. After that, I took a liquid deglosser to the top half of the cabinet because the wood had a chipping top coat and I wanted to be sure I wasn't going to have any trouble with paint adhering. Not done yet, I used some wood filler to fix any cracks, dents, holes, scratches, etc... Finally, I taped all of the glass off with painter's tape and found my oil-based primer.

Once the primer was dry, I sanded everything again and did two coats of Benjamin Moore's Westcott Navy.

Once painted, the cabinet turned out really lovely. The entire project came in under $75 for the cabinet, wood supplies, and paint. Considering I had been pricing out new options for between $250 - $1200, I am very happy with how this turned out.

I use the cabinet to hold everything I reach for on a daily basis. The top shelf holds a divided basket with face cloths, washcloths, and an extra roll of toilet paper.

An acrylic tray corrals all of my lotions and facial creams.

While a small handled basket works great to hide my makeup clutter. I also use a basic drinking glass to hold some facial cotton pads and a clear apothecary jar for cotton swabs.

The bottom shelf holds a couple extra clean towels, bath salts, and a spa brush.

Because we added a small shelf below, I was able to fit two tall baskets to conceal the less sightly toiletry clutter such as small grooming tools and a manicure kit.

Let's take a look at a side-by-side before and after to show what a little out of the box thinking can yield.

The original base was salvageable enough to donate so hopefully someone else can put that piece to good use also.

Don't you love a good "one man's trash is another man's treasure" story? The overall depth of the cabinet is only 12" so I was able to add quite a bit of storage with a tiny footprint. And it's so pretty I hope it sticks around even after we get to updating our bathroom someday.

I would love to see/hear about your Facebook Marketplace finds too! Or how you are getting creative with storage around your home! Share the details in the comments below or tag me on Instagram!

P.S. I purchased this cabinet on Facebook Marketplace weeks prior to any news of COVID-19. I completely understand the sensitivity of the current situation and Facebook Marketplace may not be the best way to shop given current social distancing recommendations. I still wanted to share in case you have a piece of furniture that might need some new life, or if you are just looking for inexpensive and space-saving bathroom storage solutions. Please stay safe and healthy my friends.  


  1. YOU'RE BACK!!! And how gorgeous this project turned out <3

  2. Wow Jen, such a great find! You gave it such a beautiful makeover. Perfectly styled and the color is gorgeous. I love everything you do!! Always such a pleasure seeing a post from you. Take care!!

  3. classic Jen beauty at a much-needed time! XOXO

  4. I'm loving how your cabinet/bathroom piece turned out. I absolutely love the color, can you specify the name/brand/kind of paint you used for this project?
    Also, I follow you since ages. I was missing your posts. I'm glad I saw this one today. Stay safe and healthy as well. Much love!

    1. Thank you! I had Benjamin Moore's Westcott Navy color matched to Behr Marquee's Interior Satin Enamel. I let the paint cure for a couple or days before shutting the doors or putting anything on the lower shelf. Let me know if you want any additional details. ☺️

    2. Thank you! I will definitely be in the look out to find a piece to upcycle and make new again. What a can paint and some imagination can make! Thanks again for the inspiration.

  5. Perfect! A little elbow work gets it done. Very creative thinking. Thanks for sharing

  6. This is a great upcycle project! I love how you show how much you can transform a piece and the importance of looking passed the style and color when looking for affordable solutions. I’ve been shopping more on FB marketplace, but agree that it’s on hold for awhile.

  7. What a wonderful transformation! Thank you so much for sharing. You are very talented!

  8. This is so lovely. Well done ❤️

  9. Always love your posts and this is a fantastic transformation!

  10. Awesome transformation!! Looks beautiful. Also, I just saw you on "One of a Kind". Made me smile :-)

  11. Fantastic!! Practical and posh! You are so talented and inspiring. Take care!

  12. IHeart Organizing
    You are my hero! I am so thankful for all of your tips!
    Our Daughter, Son-in-Law & our 3 BEAUTIFUL GRAND'S are selling their home and moving in with my husband and I while their new home is being built on our farm land!
    We are currently remodeling my husband's Grandmother's home. I call it a Country Cottage Farm House. It's very choppy right now because we are having to stay on budget even though I really want to knock down some walls ��
    So long story short I have been panicing and trying to have organization ready before they move in with us!! It's going to be "beautifully chaotic" as my hubby call's it!
    While they children live in our small house, Craig and I are going to be staying in our Vintage Camper!
    I am excited about this adventure �� AND THANK YOU FOR TAKING SO MUCH TIME AND PUTTING IN HOUR'S OF YOUR HARD WORK TO CREATE THIS LOVELY BLOG OF ORGANIZATION FOR NaNaBee's like me. So I can be ready to enjoy more time with our GRAND'S!!

  13. Absolutely perfect! Love how it turned out.

  14. Love the after for this! and also the little baskets! Adorable

    Katie |

  15. Jen, miss your content so much! Hope you are doing well!


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