Cream Colored Antique Buffet Makeover

painted antique buffet stained top

Funny story how I came be painting a buffet, and mostly how I came to own this amazing buffet.  I had an MCM china cabinet for sale, and someone contacted me to inquire about trading for it. 

I don’t usually trade my finished pieces for unfinished pieces because the price points are so different.  I buy low and sell high, or that’s the goal at least.

Then she sent a picture…and all logical thought flew out of my head!  She traded me the antique buffet plus $100. 

I had paid $10 for the MCM china cabinet, and I thought it would be a harder piece to sell, needing just the right buyer, so I was thrilled!

Here she is in her original state.  Even with the dated finish, the many details stood out.  The fluted legs.  The door mouldings.  The curved front.  The little circle carvings under the doors.  The teardrop shapes across the bottom front.  She had me at hello.

antique buffet before

She was manufactured by Northern Furniture Company in Sheboygan, WI.  They were in business from 1904 to 1949.  So this buffet is at least 70 years old!  Also, she is from my home state!!

Before I get into all the steps of painting a buffet, here are the products I used:

Resource list

(These are affiliate links, for which I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.  Thank you!)

If you’d like to learn more about Dixie Belle paint and products, you can check out this post and click this pic for my free guide:

Staining the Top

Of course, refreshing her was not without challenges.  I didn’t want to strip the top.  If you’ve been around here a while, you’ll know that ain’t nobody got time for that!  Instead, I went right over the existing finish with Espresso gel stain.  One coat looked pretty good.

antique buffet top before & after

After it sat for a few days, though, some greasy spots came up through the finish.  Not to worry; I have a fix for that!  I applied a coat of Zinsser Shellac with a sponge brush, and let that dry for an hour.  Another coat of gel stain on top of that, and I had perfect coverage.

painted antique buffet stained top

Painting a Buffet Buttercream

I chose Buttercream, a slightly warm white, for the base.  After painting one coat, though, I started to see bleed-through.  Certain wood species have tanins that will come through white paint as a pink or yellow tinge no matter how many coats you paint. 

Dixie Belle has the perfect product for that, called BOSS.  The name stands for Blocks Odor Stains and Stops bleed-through.  There are both a clear and white version, so I used the white to ensure better coverage.  Ideally you would use BOSS first as a primer, and then paint.  But it’s fine to use it over the first coat of paint if you need a solution on the fly. 

A second coat of Buttercream over the BOSS was enough for good coverage.

painting a buffet creamy white

I couldn’t wait to distress this piece.  I use 80 grit sand paper which is a little more aggressive than some would use, but I like the chippy look.  Distressing all those edges and details is really the crowning touch to highlight them.

antique buffet circle detail

antique buffet teardrop detail


The hardware was yet another challenge.  There was one pull missing from the original hardware.  Rather than order all new, I ordered 2 new pulls for the cabinet doors.  They have a verdigris finish, to mimic copper that has oxidized. 

I decided to paint my original drawer hardware to match the 2 new pulls.  This was a 4 step process:

1. Paint with Mint Julep

2. Wash with watered down Mermaid Tail

3. Wax with brown wax

4. Rub with Gold Rub N Buff

They don’t match perfectly, but they are pretty close.

duplicating verdigris hardware

The top drawer had a big stain on the inside, as older pieces often do.  I lined the drawers with this pretty daisy paper.  I cut it to size, and used Mod Podge to stick it down and seal over it.  One tip I learned is for large drawers, only apply Mod Podge to half of the drawer bottom at a time.  Managing the whole thing at once, you will get more bubbles and tears. 

lined drawer before & after

Lining with fabric is easier to do, and easier to change out down the road.  My goal is to do more with the interiors of pieces in the future.  Whether it is paint, fabric, stencils, whatever.  It gives a more custom feel, and can be the thing that steals a buyer’s heart.

If you enjoyed this makeover, you might like these as well:

Vintage Vanity Makeover

Ombre Blended Buffet

Vintage End Table | Trash to Treasure

As always, please Pin!

antique buffet before & after

If you’d like to get my free 1-page guide called “6 Elements of Farmhouse Style”, click on the picture below.  Let’s stay connected!

farmhouse cover small

11 thoughts on “Cream Colored Antique Buffet Makeover”

    • Yes, the No Pain gel stain is oil-based so it should be allowed to dry for 24-72 hours depending on humidity. The Voodoo gel stain is water-based, so that one dries quickly. I like to do the top last, after the base is complete and sealed. But you can do either according to your comfort level. Thanks! xo Shannon

  1. Your buffet is gorgeous! Love the neutral cream color and the stained top is perfect! Thank you for linking-up each week at Tuesday Turn About… I’ll be featuring you at this week’s party! Pinned!

  2. Okay, I would have jumped on this piece in a heartbeat! I LOVE it and love what you did with it! I’ve become a big Dixie Belle fan. I’ve never used BOSS but now I think I have to get some! (I’m a big Slick Stick fan.) Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm:) Pinned! xo Kathleen

    • Thanks, Kathleen! I am a big fan of a simple cream distressed finish on a beautiful antique as well. Dixie Belle is the best 😉


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