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Thursday, August 24, 2023

Furniture Makeover: Antique Multi-Drawer Storage Cabinet

A painted antique multi-drawer storage cabinet gets a fresh new raw wood finish! 

Last week, I picked up an antique multi-drawer cabinet from a local auction.  

It was damaged, poorly painted, and covered in dirt and dust.  I love anything with drawers, so I took a chance, bid without seeing it in person, and bought it based on the online pictures. 

The cabinet was solid wood, so I knew I could give it a raw wood finish or a fresh coat of paint.  Either way, it was bound to look better than it did before!

raw wood antique multi-drawer storage cabinet

I don't know who made the executive decision to paint the top of the multi-drawer cabinet fire engine red, the body deep blue, and the drawer numbers bright yellow.  

The colors were not doing the cabinet any favors and needed to go ASAP. 

painted antique multi-drawer storage cabinet before

painted antique storage cabinet before

original antique hardware


- 80/150/320 sanding pads
- 400 grit sandpaper
- 14-in-1 painter's tool (or large chisel) 
- Screwdriver
- Disposable Gloves
- Plastic wrap


I had to split this project into two days, so I started with the drawers and stripping the blue paint from the original metal hardware.

Months ago, I removed unwanted spray paint from antique brass and used the same technique to restore the drawer hardware. 

stripping hardware with Citristrip

While wearing gloves, I coated the metal hardware in a generous amount of Citristrip.  I let it sit for about 20 minutes (away from direct sunlight) until I noticed the paint starting to peel away.  I wiped off as much of the Citristrip and old paint as I could then washed the hardware in hot soapy water.  

Any leftover stuck-on paint or stripping gel was cleaned off with Mineral Spirits

Antique hardware coated in Citristrip

hardware covered in Citristrip

The hardware is worn, rusty, and far from perfect, but it's original, full of character, and better than being painted blue.  

stripped original hardware

For the drawers, I started with 80-grit sandpaper to remove most of the paint and stain and then finished sanding the drawers with 150-grit and 320-grit sandpaper.  

sanding antique storage drawers

The next day, I got working on the base of the cabinet.  

I started with Citristrip to remove the first couple of paint layers.  The old paint scraped off effortlessly using a 14-in-1 painter's tool and then I sanded off the last layer of stain to the raw wood. 

stripping furniture with Citristrip

stripping furniture with Citristrip

Sanding wood after using Citristrip

I sealed the entire cabinet with Briwax Liming Wax using a lint-free rag.  After waxing, I gave the cabinet one final sanding with 400-grit sandpaper for an ultra-smooth raw wood finish.

There's still a bit of red paint in the dings and gashes, but look how well the cabinet and drawers cleaned up!

Antique raw wood multi-drawer stroage cabinet

raw wood look with liming wax

raw wood antique multi-drawer storage cabinet

I love antique pieces with loads of texture and character.  This one definitely has both!  

raw wood antique storage drawers

raw wood antique multi-drawer storage cabinet

raw wood multi-drawer storage cabinet

This antique multi-drawer storage cabinet came a long way from layers of paint and stain to a beautiful raw wood finish.  I can't wait to see how someone uses and styles it in their own home! 

What do you think?

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before and after antique multi-drawer cabinet


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  1. Hi. Katie! You find the best pieces And then you work your magic. Another great makeover.