Converting a China Cabinet into a Linen Cabinet

I am sooooo excited about today’s reveal.  This project has been in the back of my mind for a long time. A few months ago, Jordan blogged about going on a shopping spree with designer Eddie Ross, and while they were perusing the antique sale, he offered up a great storage tip.  He said that a china cabinet would make a great linen cabinet/closet.  Well, when I read that tidbit, I knew it was the answer to a storage problem I had been having.  When we bought our house, there was a huge linen closet at the top of our stairs along with a lot of wasted space.  Well, we tore out that closet and combined its square footage with the wasted space, and created a big walk-in closet for Mr. Right.  (It also involved moving our bedroom door, but that’s beside the point.)  However, I had to give up a linen closet in the process.  So, since reading Eddie’s suggestion, I have thought about converting a china cabinet into a linen cabinet, and it has finally become a reality.

 Convert a china cabinet to a linen cabinet - The 2 Seasons

For months and months, I have been on the search for a china cabinet that was the right style and size.  It couldn’t be too big, and it needed to be a traditional style to fit in with the rest of our furnishings.

 Converting a china cabinet to a linen cabinet - The 2 Seasons

One day a few weeks ago when I was browsing around at my favorite consignment shop (Room Service) here in Lexington, I found the one.  I gasped.  It wasn’t actually a china cabinet, though.  They were calling it a secretary.  (I think it has a double life.  There are ridges on all of the shelves for plates to rest in).  As soon as I saw it, I knew that it was coming home with me.  Well, actually I had to hire someone to haul it home and carry it up the steps, but you know what I mean.


 Upstairs hall - The 2 Seasons

(hallway before)

If you recall, this is what our upstairs hallway looked like before.  I think the linen cabinet looks so much better, don’t you?


 Convert a china cabinet to a linen cabinet - The 2 Seasons

My plan all along was to paint the cabinet’s exterior a pure white.  I didn’t want a rustic look but just a pure white cabinet with a yellow/gold interior.  The cabinet is mahogany, and I didn’t realize until I started painting with chalk paint, that the mahogany would be a challenge for me.  It took more coats of primer and paint than I ever thought it would.  Before I started painting, though, I made a few tweaks.

 Converting a china cabinet to a linen cabinet - The 2 Seasons

First, Jordan and I removed the original back of the cabinet.  I wanted the linen cabinet to have a bead board backing.  That was an easy fix.


Converting a china cabinet to a linen cabinet - The 2 Seasons

I just measured it and had the bead board cut at a big box store.  Having the back off made painting the interior a lot easier, and I painted the bead board before I attached it.  So, without much effort, the interior was complete.



Then I spent four days priming and painting the exterior.  I started out with chalk paint, but the mahogany bled through and made the chalk paint turn pink.  Not what I wanted……So, I applied two coats of primer.  Jordan suggested that I skip the chalk paint and use the same semi-gloss latex that is on all of our doors and woodwork. That’s what I did, and it worked. I let it all cure for a week, and then when I got home from California this week-end, it was time to do the fun part.  I put it to work.



Convert a china cabinet to a linen cabinet - The 2 Seasons


The converted cabinet is the perfect place to store the toilet tissues along with towels, washcloths, candles, soaps, etc.

 Convert a china cabinet to a linen cabinet - The 2 Seasons

All of those items now are readily available when we need them.


Convert a china cabinet to a linen cabinet - The 2 Seasons

 The cabinet still has plenty more room for storage.  I plan to assemble a first aid kit and put it in the cabinet along with sheets and blankets we aren’t using.


Convert a china cabinet to a linen cabinet - The 2 Seasons

And look at this little bonus.  It has a built-in desk, and this is the reason it was called a secretary.  You can see that the finish is distressed (and not in a good way), but I don’t plan to change it.  I am so excited with how this project turned out.


 Convert a china cabinet to a linen cabinet

I must tell you that when I was spending those hours painting, I was saying to myself, “Never again,” but now that it is fulfilling its purpose, I know that it was all worth it.

As you can see my linen closet stocked with Quilted Northern.  What do you keep your linen closet stocked with to be #MegaPrepped?


Take care.


Linking to Stone Gable


  1. says

    Now, that is just lovely. The gold interior is just right! Thanks for reminding me of Eddie Ross. I used to read his blog every day.

  2. Missi Baker says

    Whenever I come to Lexington, my first stop is Room Service! I love the vignettes they create out of what has been brought in. And I, too, have purchased some real finds there! My second stop is Walton Avenue’s House and Provisions. We may have unknowingly passes each other. I love the “new” cabinet. I’ve mulled over doing a small one that was my grandmother’s for some time.

  3. Donnamae says

    Super idea…lots of useful storage! Curious as to where you’ll put that gorgeous bench? 😉

    • says

      Donnamae, I’m going to sell the bench on Craig’s List. I try to follow the rule “if one comes thing in, and then one thing goes out.”

  4. Susan says

    Lovely! I too just painted a dark maple cabinet a medium sage colour. I used a Behr paint and primer in one. I like the painted cabinet so much better. It is lighter and the details really show now. Fun to do!!

  5. Carolyn Rasnick says

    That looks fantastic! You have way more patience that most people to be able to put all those coats of paint on…..especially around the glass panes. Too tedious for me!! Great job!!