Enamel Cabinet Makeover ~ Cottage Style

Are you ready for some fun? It’s Trash to Treasure Tuesday and my blogger friends and I love to show you some awesome makeovers. In honor of my husband’s grandmother that passed away this time last year, I decided to give her old enamel cabinet a much needed TLC makeover.

Enamel Cabinet Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Normally at this time of year we would be celebrating my grandmother-in-law’s birthday. However, just after her birthday last year she quietly passed while sitting out on her porch…her favorite thing to do in the evening before bed. What a way to go! I mean, not to make light, but if I had a choice of how I was going to meet my Lord, that would be it.


Dear Opal is missed by her 7 children and all the family left behind, including us. She was a tough little lady that knew how to work hard, and get a good laugh. Gardening was her passion and she worked in an Amish furniture store where her smile was thoroughly enjoyed. Her and her husband built their home and managed to make it through raising their brood, while sadly burying their 6 month old baby boy. That is one of the many things that her and I had in common – saying goodbye to our babies far too soon.

Like all of us who pass from this world, we leave all the “things” we acquire for those left behind to sort through. One of those items was this enamel cabinet that was…well…pretty rough.

Side of Enamel Cabinet with Damage | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

When I was asked if I wanted it, I was like, “Ooh…is that an enamel top? YES!” Little did I know that the cabinet would be so in need of love. meh. The top had some rusting and chipped spots and that is no biggie. I removed the top and all the hardware. I’ll get to that later.

Enamel Top of Cabinet | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

The inside, however, was another story. The bottom is rotting out. Also, the front skirt and bottom of the sides were made of veneer that have moisture damage from being in her basement.

Rotted Out Inside of Enamel Cabinet | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

So, the plus side is the enamel top is in great shape. I only had to replace one caster that is ate up by bugs. Then, it’s demo time. See the skirt at the top of the picture below and how it’s separating? Removing Damaged Cabinet Bottom | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

*post includes affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)


The sides and bottom of the cabinet consist of a 3-ply veneer. The bottom was nothing but a flaked mess and came out easily. Once that was removed, I used some scrap wood, clamps, and wood glue to clamp each side for a few hours to see if it would do the job. It worked!

Gluing Enamel Cabinet Base | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Not only is he hardware is awfully rusty, but the chrome has damage too. First, I soaked every bit of screws, hinges, brackets, and closures in CLR. (ya know, that Calcium, Lime, Rust remover) Then, I began cleaning with a scouring pad and toothbrush to get into the tight spots. I lubed the hinges and closures with oil and they were good to go.

After that I used a trick to repair the chrome that I learned from my friend, Heather at The Heathered Nest (she’s one of the most talented and hilarious bloggers I know). I took aluminum foil and water and rubbed each piece to give it a fresh new shine.

Repairing Chrome with Aluminum Foil by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

As for the enamel top, I went to one of my favorite tools, Bar Keeper’s Friend. I could have also used this on my chrome parts, but didn’t see the need. However, when it came to the top, I knew that it needed this stuff. It took out a bazillion scratches and removed the rust like a dream. So much so that my kids kept walking by going, “Whoa! That’s incredible!”

Bar Keeper's Friend for Enamel Sinks and Tops by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com


Now, back to the cabinet. The drawers were in great shape and even had the metal bread box too. It is just missing the sliding lid and needs some rust-be-gone love. That was an easy fix.

A new piece was cut to fit the bottom and I attached it with my nailer.

Ryobi AirStrike to Repair Cabinet | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

After that, I went to town on that cabinet with my sander. Since the original paint is in immense flake state and had nasty stains, I gave the cabinet a new color I knew Opal would love. She and I both thoroughly enjoy aqua. While my go-to color is in these posts, I decided to give another seconds sample I found a try. It’s kind of a minty blue and went on like a dream with my favorite brushes.

Painting Enamel Topped Cabinet | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com


After a few coats and reassembled, here is Opal’s enamel cabinet. Sniff…I sure hope she likes it.

Vintage Enamel Topped Cabinet Made New with Love by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Top View of Restored Enamel Cabinet by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

To say I’m pleased with it is an understatement. It came out far better than I expected and am so glad I was able to restore this little gem. No more wavy and damaged sides, and spruced up for new life.

Aqua Enamel Cabinet Side by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Cottage Style Aqua Blue Enamel Cabinet Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

All of the interior now has vintage wallpaper that fit the style. Remember, there was foil laying over that rotted out bottom…bluck. Wahoo for the new and improved look!

Inside Cottage Style Cabinet by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Open Bread Drawer on Vintage Enamel Cabinet by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

As much as I tried to figure a way to keep this, we have decided it needs a new home. You can find it available in my shop. (SOLD)

Shop Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

We sure do miss Opal. It’s a treat to recall memories with JC and our children. Time flies and we need more time with those we love.

Cottage Style Retro Cabinet by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

I’m all about inspiring you. And, don’t forget that my blogger friends have some fun projects for you too. (see below)

Do pin and share Opal’s enamel cabinet makeover because you never know you needs to see it and ignite that spark of creativity.

A vintage enamel cabinet was left to rot until Prodigal Pieces gave it new life. Come see the amazing transformation at prodigalpieces.com

Oh, and here’s the other piece I received from Opal’s basement. It will be a bit before I decide what to do with it. It is one dirty, hot mess. I have at least cleaned it for now.

Antique Hutch Before | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Guess what?!? You can get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox. Woot! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop.
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WAIT! Before you go…check out these fantastic makeover by my blogger friends.

Trash to Treasure Tuedays - Thrifted Makeover Fun | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Trash to Treasure Tuesday | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

  1. Artsy Chicks Rule
  2. Confessions of a Serial DIYer
  3. Girl in the Garage

More makeovers like this enamel cabinet:

Build a DIY quilt rack using repurposed parts. Prodigal Pieces shows you how! Head here: prodigalpieces.comVintage Kroehler Vanity Gets French Country Cottage Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

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  • Vangie

    Love the new look. I have one similar and need to paint it. I love these cabinets. They are a good size and go so many places. Make a great coffee bar.

    April 11, 2017 at 7:34 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes, they are. I really need a bigger house for all the stuff I would love, but also love the less is more style of living. Thanks for stopping by!

      April 11, 2017 at 9:45 am Reply
  • Rebecca

    Beautiful! Loooove those old kitchen cabinets. Opal would be so proud!

    April 11, 2017 at 8:43 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I’m happy to hear you think so. Thank you!

      April 11, 2017 at 9:49 am Reply
      • Joan casey

        I think I would have sprayed the bread drawer white enamel. Came out nice. Have seen atleast ? in my time.

        April 11, 2017 at 10:23 am Reply
  • Gwen

    you picked a wonderfully vintage color for this enamel topped cabinet – it looks authentic & beautiful! i used CLR and BKF just this week on my brass handles in my kitchen – what a combination! i’ll have to try the foil trick on some chrome pieces i have – thanks for the tip!

    April 11, 2017 at 8:50 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I was so stoked to find the piece to use that color on. It was one of her favorites and I know she would be pleased. Thanks so much and hope the chrome trick works for you too!

      April 11, 2017 at 9:50 am Reply
  • Patty Soriano

    I also go gaga for enamel and have a small table missing two legs that needs a makeover. I would have a hard time selling something that belonged to Grandma, though. There was an elderly lady living in our trailer park when I was young; her name was also Opal and I have great memories of her. You don’t hear that name anymore. I REALLY love that wooden chest!

    April 11, 2017 at 8:55 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes, enamel-lover here! We all agreed we didn’t need it or it would stay. Space is at a premium and so is our sanity. I’m sure it will find a forever home. Opal was her name and her mother was Lily – love both those names.

      April 11, 2017 at 9:51 am Reply
  • Christy

    LOVE how this hot mess of a little cabinet turned out, and of course I love the color! It is always sad when we lose a special loved one, but I thnk Opal would have been thrilled with how you brought her cabinet back to life! Too bad you dont have room for it, but I totally get it! XOXO

    April 11, 2017 at 9:07 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks for the love, Christy. Yes, sad to see them go, but know they are in a far better place. Room is always an issue, but at least we have memories. Now for the next piece. 😀

      April 11, 2017 at 9:52 am Reply
  • Cecilia

    How wonderful you could save this piece. I bet it would make her smile to see it in all it’s refreshed glory. It looks wonderful.

    April 11, 2017 at 9:14 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Cecilia.

      April 11, 2017 at 9:53 am Reply
  • Marie|The Interior Frugalista

    Wow, Wow, and Wow! Opal is probably up in Heaven grinning from ear-to-ear and probably gathered a group of her friends and family to see what her granddaughter-in-law did to her enamel cabinet. Beautiful transformation, Larissa!

    April 11, 2017 at 9:33 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I sure hope so and I know she is in the garden of her dreams. Thank you, Marie! 🙂

      April 11, 2017 at 9:53 am Reply
  • Eleanor

    I just love love love your cabinet, good work girl! 🙂

    April 11, 2017 at 9:35 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks! I had fun seeing it come to life.

      April 11, 2017 at 9:53 am Reply
  • Cathy

    Gosh, how could your grandmother-in-law NOT love what you did to her little cabinet. It almost looks like the bottom to a Hoosier doesn’t it? Again, just lovely. Congratulations on another job well-done.

    April 11, 2017 at 9:53 am Reply
    • Larissa

      aww…thanks, Cathy. It is one of those carts that would be used for most anything in kitchen and laundry. Love the versatility!

      April 11, 2017 at 9:54 am Reply
  • Sherry Stuifbergen

    Looks like a different cupboard. I thought the aluminum foil trick to clean chrome was interesting. I will get some Bar Keeper’s Friend too. You really know how to “jack up” furniture, give them new life! I admire your ability and look forward to your blog in my email. Never miss it. God Bless You and your wonderful family.

    April 11, 2017 at 9:54 am Reply
    • Larissa

      You just made my day, Sherry. Thank you!

      April 11, 2017 at 8:32 pm Reply
  • Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule

    Aw too bad you can’t keep it, it’s a beauty now!! Love the vintage paper you used too, it’s perfect! xoxo

    April 11, 2017 at 10:12 am Reply
  • Julie Higgerson

    I love the cabinet, it is so gorgeous in the blue!! I would love to have one like that & for it to be from a special relative makes it even more precious!!

    April 11, 2017 at 10:51 am Reply
    • Larissa

      It really does. Thank you!

      April 11, 2017 at 8:33 pm Reply
  • Jen @ Girl in the Garage

    Oh girl, I love this so much! The new color really gives it a fun vintage vibe. You’ve completely refreshed it. <3

    April 11, 2017 at 12:46 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I had fun and most of all reflecting on Opal and her life. <3

      April 11, 2017 at 8:33 pm Reply
  • PrettyPotato

    What a difference! I would have for sure left it in the bin, but it’s absolutely beautiful now! Amazing!

    April 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      It think that was where it was headed, and am glad I took a chance on it. Thanks!

      April 11, 2017 at 8:35 pm Reply
  • joan

    was the body of the cabinet made of enamel or wood? I have a similar cabinet that is all metal and a bit rusted. Can I sand the metal body and also, what kind of paint did you use? beautiful job!
    thank you

    April 11, 2017 at 7:45 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      All wood. You can definitely sand and prime using Rustoleum products to spray it.

      April 11, 2017 at 8:35 pm Reply
  • Jean Q

    I wonder if your cabinet originally had a cabinet top to it? I have a two piece Hoosier kitchen cabinet that has the same enamel top on the bottom section.

    April 12, 2017 at 11:45 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I wondered the same, but since it was on casters I didn’t believe so because the ones I had seen didn’t. Fun to find out though! 😀

      April 17, 2017 at 6:06 am Reply
  • Sharon Graham

    Oh,Ms Opal is LOVING it !!! That is beautiful,and will make someone very happy. Thanks for the great tutorial,as always! (BTW,we lost our son in 1987…born on Easter Morning,and passed away suddenly the day after Mother’s Day …You never forget,but it does get a little easier to bear as the years go by,with God’s help.)

    April 13, 2017 at 10:11 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I’m so sorry, Sharon. I was thinking of you on Easter and hope the day was filled with as much joy as possible. Yes, time does soften the blows of losing a loved one, but I sure can’t wait to see my babies again. Hugs to you!

      April 17, 2017 at 6:04 am Reply
  • Nancy

    Gorgeous look!

    April 24, 2017 at 2:52 pm Reply
  • Renee

    Beautiful! Quick question when painting drawers. Do you paint the inside (or backside) of the drawer overhang or just the just the part front and sides of the drawer?

    May 19, 2017 at 12:45 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks! Just the front…most of the times. 😉

      May 22, 2017 at 6:20 am Reply
  • Angie ~ Ambient Wares

    Unbelievable! I’ve seen quite a few of these out and about especially at estate sales and I always think they’re way over my head and would require more than I can do. The result on this is just gorgeous and makes me dreamy. Maybe I’ll pick one up after all 😉

    August 14, 2017 at 8:13 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Go for it! You can do it. 😀

      August 15, 2017 at 7:15 am Reply
  • Janette

    Larissa I could cry when I see how beautiful you made this look and saved it’s life, years ago I had one in the shed, as long as I could remember it had been in my grandmothers scullery so it was OLD….it finally started to fall to bits and got thrown out, so you can imagine…if only there had been an internet with so many fab blogs sharing idea’s, alas no…you did a wonderful job once again…x

    August 20, 2017 at 8:02 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I have sooo been there, Janette. Sometimes we do have to let go. Thank you for stopping by and showing love!

      August 20, 2017 at 9:38 pm Reply
  • phoebe c hastings

    How would you paint an enamel cabinet? I have one with sliding glass doors and the rest is enamel

    January 24, 2019 at 6:43 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I would make sure it’s prepped properly and then use a spray enamel.

      January 24, 2019 at 10:45 am Reply
  • Amy Giannini

    I would have been scared to tackle such a “fixer upper’–but you rule! It turned out so cute! Love this project.

    January 30, 2019 at 9:57 am Reply
    • Larissa

      haha…I’m a nut like that! 😀

      January 30, 2019 at 9:20 pm Reply
  • Kathy Harris

    I know Miss Opal has to be pleased with the results of your makeover.
    It’s absolutely gorgeous ‘
    I had an Aunt Opal and my grandma’s name was Lily.

    January 30, 2019 at 6:45 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you for saying so. That’s crazy to hear as her mother was Lily too. Cool!

      January 30, 2019 at 9:23 pm Reply
  • gwen

    you got me Larissa, i had to look back at this one – i love enamel tops! your mistinted paint couldn’t be more perfect for this vintage piece – very retro color! i guess i’m off to Salvation Army today to get that vintage wallpaper i saw last week for my stash – you always inspire me! thanks.

    March 26, 2019 at 10:04 am Reply
    • Larissa

      How fun! There are many projects new and old followers have never seen, so that’s why I share. I certainly had a blast. Thank you!

      March 27, 2019 at 5:09 am Reply

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