Yard sales and flea markets are excellent sources for old hutches that just need some TLC to blossom into the piece de resistance of a room. A hutch might be a dresser and toy shelf in a child's room; an instant home office; a country kitchen pantry; or necessary customized, decorative storage. Worn, ugly or painted puce, that hutch is just waiting for you and a paintbrush -- and its Cinderella moment.
A narrow hutch with glass-paned doors migrates from the dining room to the living room or library with a completely transformative paint makeover. Lacquer the interior with soft jade and the exterior with a deep cinnabar red. You want lots of gleam, so work with enamel paint and add a clear high-gloss protective finish if the shine isn't dazzling. Attach fine brass, gold or gray powder-coated chicken wire panels to the insides of the upper door windows for extra interest, and replace all hardware with brass knobs and hinges. Put leather-bound collectible volumes on the visible upper shelves; store messy magazines and paperbacks in the closed lower cabinet.
Sleek and Modern
Don't be afraid to paint a massive wood hutch a strong dark color. Matte or low-gloss black turns a clunky, dated, stained and shellacked behemoth into a sleek modern wall system that complements both contemporary and traditional dining room decor. Remove the hardware; pull out the drawers, and lightly sand the piece all over. Now be super-smart and coat the whole hutch and the drawer fronts with a multipurpose latex or oil-based stain blocking primer. The primer dries quickly and prevents any color or oil bleed-through from the old finish or wood to the new paint. Give the piece two coats of black flat or satin-finish acrylic latex. Sand the edges lightly to distress them if you're going for a vintage look. Otherwise, just complete the transformation with one or more coats of clear matte polyurethane to protect it, and add reproduction or contemporary hardware.
In the Pink
A flea market hutch turns into a sweet cupcake of a storage center for a little girl's room with a few embellishments and a coat or two of pink and white paint. Sand the old finish to create a good surface for the new paint. Paint the hutch white and, when it dries, tape the areas to remain white with low-adhesive painter's tape before painting the rest of the chest and trim in palest petal pink. Mix it up, and paint the face of the base cabinet white and the drawers, doors and inset panels pink. Paint the exposed interior backing of the upper section pink, framed in white. Change the hardware to painted white porcelain knobs and pulls with delicate botanical images on them. The fairy princess will appreciate it as a suitable place to park her gossamer wings.
Surprise Home Office
A hutch with a fold-down tray makes a functional and invisible home office when you're short on space or prefer to work in a common room instead of the guest room. Paint the exterior of the hutch to match the room's decor -- dusky gray, antique white, matte black or high-gloss bayberry. Give yourself a blast of instant energy at the start of every work session with a startling, cheerful paint job inside the hutch. Try a warm pinkish salmon, a vivid lime green, sunny yellow or tangerine interior for small drawer fronts, cubbies and shelves. Paint the fold-down desk-shelf surface and the insides of the doors with chalkboard paint. Now you can make notes, doodle creatively when you're stuck for an idea, and scribble important reminders right where you can't miss them.
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