The Farmhouse Cabinet Makeover

Today we’re talking all about how we transformed my husband’s old gun cabinet into a farmhouse decor friendly cabinet! Man, there’s nothing like a good farmhouse cabinet makeover!

Get more furniture makeover ideas here!

cabinet before makeover

Do you remember when woodshop was a typical class in every high school? Back in the day, my husband LOVED going to his woodshop class. He built this cabinet there.

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My husband built it out of oak, and then lacquered it. Definitely not the style I want in my home right now, so I had to switch it up a bit.

scroll down to see the after photos

Supplies Used for Farmhouse Cabinet Makeover

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Removing Cabinet Racks

First I busted out the hammer and a few straight-edged tools (putty knife, flat head screwdriver, and another type of flat tool that I’m not sure what it’s called ha!) to pry off the racks that held the guns up.

Ohhh man that was a pain! He sure knew what glue was when he put it all together! The top two parts of the racks were just nailed in, but the bottom was glued to the base like no one’s business.

There was a lot of busting, splitting wood, and major scratches made just trying to get that bottom rack out.

The best trick was using my hair dryer to heat up the metal putty knife and then hammering the putty knife between the pieces of wood. We finally got it though!

Repairing Cabinet Damage

Once it was warm outside, I took it out to Bondo all of the destruction that I had caused. Here is a great video and written tutorial on how to repair damaged furniture using Bondo.

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I sanded the rough wood a bit, then applied the Bondo. Once it was all dry, I sanded the Bondo and wood smooth with 220 grit sandpaper.

I didn’t fill in any holes or scratches on the outside of the cabinet. I only used it on the inside of the cabinet, because Bondo doesn’t take stain well. At all.

I knew I had to paint the inside, but I wanted to do something different for the outside.

Once all the Bondo and repair work was complete, and the doors and hardware were taken off, I sanded everything, inside and out with 220 grit sandpaper.

Since this is a super simple design with no detail, I used my power sander. Then I vacuumed and wiped all of the dust off. Read this post to learn more about the best sanders for furniture.

Painting and Staining Cabinet

The inside got 3 coats of General Finishes Milk Paint in Linen. I taped all of the edges off so I didn’t get paint anywhere it wasn’t supposed to be.

Once the paint was dry, I removed the tape and proceeded to stain the outside with General Finishes gel stain in Java.

Here’s the great thing about gel stain, if you don’t already know. It is meant to sit on the top of the wood, and not soak in like regular wood stain.

Sure, you can use it like regular wood stain, but it can also be used for pieces like this, that already have a finish on them.

Check out this post on painting furniture black where we used Java gel stain on the base of this cedar chest!

All you have to do is lightly sand the original finish down a bit so the stain has something to stick to. Then wipe the stain on, let it sit for a minute, and wipe it off with a clean rag.

Gel stain tips: Make sure to always wipe with the grain and not against the wood grain. It’s also best to start with a finish that is in good condition, and not something that has large areas where the finish has worn off, while other areas the finish is still intact. This will create uneven staining.

I gave the whole cabinet two coats of stain, and then sealed the new finish with poly. Check out my list of the best polyurethane for furniture here.

I really wanted this cabinet to look worn and to show the character of how it was built, and how it was transformed.

So there are a few nail holes on each side that are still showing, and the finish on one side is decently splotchy. I love the extra character these elements give this farmhouse cabinet!

See gel stain in action with this tutorial on how to stain wood darker.

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Adding Shelves to A Cabinet

Then I cut down a 1″ x 12″ pine board into two shelves (the Home Depot guys are such a great help when I don’t want to cut wood on my own).

After sanding and wiping off any dust, I applied two coats of the Java gel stain, and then sealed the finish with more poly.

At first I thought about creating shelves that were nailed down into place, but the more that I thought about it, I knew I wanted to have the pin and hole type shelving.

That way I could move the shelves, and even make more shelves in the future if I wanted to.

I soooo dreaded this part. Ohh it was going to be a beast to drill all of the holes in the perfect spot and have them all lined up so the shelves don’t wobble.

That was until I found out about this Kreg shelf pin jig.

I have the pocket hole Kreg Jig, I actually have two of them. So I know that they have good products that make tasks like this sooo much more simple.

I also used these shelf pins to hold the shelves up.

So I bought myself a Kreg shelf pin jig. I waited for shipping, and then got to work. All by myself! And I created all of these perfectly spaced holes in less than 30 min. Seriously. So easy!

drilling holes with a kreg shelf pin jig inside the cabinet

I laid the farmhouse cabinet down on one side and clamped one of my daughter’s books to the top inside of the cabinet (because I don’t need holes going all the way up to the top of the cabinet).

Then I pushed the jig up against the side of the cabinet and the edge of the book.

Then I used the provided drill bit to drill the perfect holes into the cabinet. It also comes with a depth guide so you don’t have to guess how far to drill into the wood!

I only drilled every other hole because I don’t think I’ll need holes that close together for this cabinet, and once I reached the end of the jig, I moved it down and used the little holding pin to hold it into the right place for the next holes.

inside of the cabinet with shelf pin holes on the side
inside of the cabinet with shelf pin holes

I repeated that process on each side of the cabinet to create two lines of holes on each side of the cabinet. But here’s a quick video of the process!

Updating Cabinet Hardware

The hardware got a little makeover too!! They originally were polished brass.

I picked up some Rust-Oleum Champagne Bronze spray paint, and sprayed the hardware (below pictured as the “before”.

Close up view of hardware pulls on a farmhouse cabinet.
Hardware hinges before and after being painted with bronze spray paint

Check out this post to learn about how to paint hardware.

I didn’t love the look and wanted it to be a little more antiqued, so I went over the brass with more java gel stain. It created the perfect look and it was super simple!

I also added these wheels to the bottom of the cabinet. Easy peasy, just lined them up and screwed them in.

Now this farmhouse cabinet is ready to be a centerpiece in our home for years to come. Instead of being stuck in the closet collecting dust!

Pair this up with the perfect DIY farmhouse drop cloth curtains to complete the look.

I couldn’t wait to fill it up with so many decor goodies! Some of them are thrift store and yard sale finds, like the books, the antlers, and the vintage scale.

Refinished farmhouse cabinet staged with decor on the shelves

The signs and olive tree plant were DIY projects, and the rest of the decor, the greenery in the black pot, the black potted succulent, the blackbird (sold out), the moss ball, and the chippy white bowl filled with pieces of this boxwood garland were found at Target and Hobby Lobby.

a side angle of the farmhouse cabinet after the makeover
farmhouse cabinet after the makeover

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

The white container on the bottom shelf was also thrifted, but it was filled with Green Baby Breath Garland.

Find out more about our cheap farmhouse curtains here. And the white and blue chairs in this cane back chairs makeover!

So what do you think? Leave me a comment below! I love to hear from you!

scroll up if you missed the after photos

The Farmhouse Cabinet Makeover

full shot of gun cabinet after the makeover

This old gun cabinet had a major upgrade. Here are the steps for the farmhouse cabinet makeover.


  1. Pry off the gun racks from the cabinet using the hammer, putty knife and screwdriver.
  2. Fix any damages with Bondo then remove the doors and hardware. Sand everything with 220-grit sandpaper.
  3. Tape off edges to prevent overspray then apply 3 coats of paint on the inside of the cabinet.
  4. Once dry, remove the tapes then stain the outside of the cabinet with gel stain. Let stain sit for a minute, and wipe it off with a clean rag. Make sure to always wipe with the grain and not against the wood grain.
  5. After two coats of stain, seal the new finish with poly.
  6. Cut down a pine board into shelves, apply 2 coats of gel stain to them as well then seal the finish with more poly.
  7. Drill holes on each side of the cabinet with a Kreg Shelf Pin Jig to create two lines of holes, and put in the shelf pins to hold the shelves up.
  8. Spray the hardware with some paint and attach the wheels to the bottom of the cabinet.

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before and after of the farmhouse cabinet makeover


  1. I love that jig! I would be a great gift for my hubby and then it would be handy to have around for me to use.?

    1. Happy late father’s day! Right??? 😉

  2. When I first looked at this cabinet, I thought, gee thats kinda plan and just blah. However, as usual, when you put your spin on it, it looks GREAT!. You are so talented.

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