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Painting oak cabinets and countertop: Sewing room build-in revamp

Painting oak cabinets in the studio and refinishing the countertops that are in the second room, the one I am going to use as the craft room was one of the very first projects I decided to tackle after we purchased our house. I loved the build-ins, but I was not a fan of the oak finishing and the dark wood countertop. So check how I painted my built-ins to brighten them up!

painting oak cabinets

I wanted to start by saying THANK YOU! for all the lovely comments we received when we announced that we are homeowners, I loved reading all of them! It feels so good to be in our own house now. We moved weekends ago and after a full week with no internet service I am very happy to be back, but still trying to catch up with work and emails =]

The very first project I got to tackle the week we moved (other than cleaning, trying to unpack, and organizing) was the revamp for the built-in desk in the sewing room because from the minute I saw it I knew I wanted to prettify it.

I started this project with the countertop because it made sense to me to start from the top, just in case I splattered paint in the bottom.

Painting the countertop

The countertop was a laminate surface, so I come out with a bunch of different ideas to revamp it, I thought the painting was not going to be a very durable option with me using it all the time, but once at the store, I realized that they had a special paint for laminated surfaces! silly me =]

painting countertops

I guess I just needed to go out there and see what the store had, I was planning on adding a vinyl sheet as one of the top ideas on my list, but they were all a lot more complicated than just paint, so I went with the Rust-oleum countertop coating, I am super happy they had the exact color tint I was looking for – a light grey – (they only carry 16 different colors).

countertop paint
RELATED:  To check out the reveal of the sewing room check out the second part of the reveal tour here: The HowJoyful Sewing room, to check the other room of my studio check the first part: The howjoyful office, and to check how I planned my shipping station check out: The HowJoyful Shipping station.

Painting the oak cabinets

To start the process, I took all of the drawers and doors apart, then took all of the hardware off, clean it very well, and added paper with tape around all the areas I was going to paint.

painting oak cabinets prep

The inside of the cabinets was super dark, so I also planned on painting them (white) that way I could see inside better. For the whole surface, I picked a bright pink color. The exact paint color I used for the cabinets is BEHR ultra 110B-4 (Foxy Pink).

Because this is a build-in taping was kind of hard on some areas but it just required some extra patience =]

For the countertop I was surprised at how good of coverage the paint had, I could have left it with just one layer, but to be sure I did 2 anyway.

painting the cabinets pink

The rest of the structure was solid wood, so I end up giving it 3 layers of paint, the pink covered really well but since it had more intricate corners I preferred to give it one more =]

painting the inside of the cabinets

Painting the hardware

I also wanted to share a little trick I use every time I need to paint hardware and screws, if I need the heads of the screws to be the same color as the hardware I just pinch them to a piece of styrofoam, as for the hardware I choose the side that will be visible to paint first and then once it's dry I take it out and finish the other side.

This has always worked really well for me, so I hope it can help others too =]

painting the hardware

Extendable tabletop

I also wanted to share one of the things that excited me the most about the built-in, it has an extendable top!

I think it would be the perfect space to have a Serger (since they are not needed all the time) I could easily pull it out every time I need it =]

painting the inside white

Now I just need to buy one, but with the new house and such I don't see it happening anytime soon, but at least it already has a place in the sewing room =]

I just love the mechanism inside, it has a little handle in the bottom that you pull to unlock so you can put it back it. So perfect!

inside details of cabinets

For the hardware I just spray painted with a very similar color pink, it's a shade softer but you can hardly tell.

At first, I wanted it to be a hotter pink but now I think it looks good and I am starting to like it more and more.

painted cabinets details in pink

And as usual, I had to share a picture of how Curly keeps me company when I work, it was pretty cold with all the doors and windows open in the studio, so he just crawls into a ball to stay warm.

He is doing so much better now in the house, at first, he was super scare of the stairs (we use to only have a 2 level house, not 3 like now) He used to cry for us to take him up and down but after a few days he goes all by himself and we play hide and seek whenever I have to go up or down =]

Curly in the office while painting

I can't wait to have more time and keep on going on the rest of the projects I have lined up, so I can unpack and start to sew again =]

painting oak cabinets

The before

And to remind you a little bit about how the full sewing room looked before, here are some pictures!

the sewing room before
the studio and joy

2014 Update

After years of use both the painted cabinets and the counters are still doing awesome, I've had little nicks here and there on the countertop because I have not used the cutting mats I had before. But right before my last sewing room update, I re-touched everything with some left over paint and now they look brand new again.

sewing room update

Above you can see the 2014 craft room update. I am going to post the 2020 update soon.

That's it for the revamp of the built-in, more on how the studio/office/sewing room is coming soon so make sure you check this category on the blog =]

I hope you all have a lovely day!




Wednesday 4th of December 2013

HI. Awesome! Love this idea for a sewing machine too. Please tell me where you found the hardware?


Wednesday 4th of December 2013

Hi Debbie!

Actually all of the hardware was there already, so I am not sure where you'll find it, maybe you can ask at Home depot or Lowes? Have a lovely day!

Joy -


Sunday 7th of October 2012

I love this color pink. Can you please post what it's called and who makes it? Thanks!!


Saturday 29th of December 2012

Hi Melissa, the paint color is BEHR ultra 110B-4 (Foxy Pink)

Julis Mendes

Tuesday 31st of July 2012

I loved the idea and color! I am looking forward on craft spaces ideas, since I am moving to a new home where I finally will have my space! =)


Monday 2nd of July 2012

I love your styrofoam idea for painting hardware and screws. We always have a block of that lying around from my husband's various projects. Thank you for sharing this! Enjoy your new space. It's beautiful!


Saturday 29th of December 2012

Thank you Phyllis! It's so handy to just paint them like that =] My husband now does the same thing.


Sunday 6th of May 2012

Beautiful! I love the pink, it makes it more girly (as it should be for a sewing room)

I'm in the middle of re-arranging (wish I could "revamp"!) my craft area in the basement. Have a long way to go, but perhaps the "L" desk should be painted a lovely shade such as this.

Congratulations, too, on your impending arrival. I wish you a happy, stress-free, easy pregnancy. There is NOTHING like your first baby, it's heaven on earth.



Saturday 29th of December 2012

Thank you so much Lori you are so sweet!!

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