before & after: mary’s credenza + justina’s typeset tray


Sturdiness aside, I love the look of little legs on credenzas, tables, sofas — you name it. Actually, I’ve owned a few mid-century pieces of this nature and I can attest to the fact that while they may look wobbly, little legs do their job perfectly and look cute doing it. As someone with little legs, however, I might be biased :)

Nevertheless, Mary’s decision to add little legs to this old cabinet thing and make it a lovely new credenza is genius in my book. While the “before” version seems clunky and obtrusive, the “after” is crisp, fresh and adorable. I also love that Mary added a little wear and tear to her recovering of the cabinet fronts; it compliments the vintage details and adds character. Let’s hear it for little legs! Great job, Mary! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)


We’ve seen some cute projects from Justina before, but this one might be my new favorite. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been tempted to buy one of these old typeset trays from a thrift store or flea market, but I never know what I’m going to do with it. Coincidentally, I’m also addicted to paint swatches at the hardware store, and I’m always tempted to buy paint colors with no idea how I’ll use them. Justina may have just solved both problems at once.

I had one of these typeset trays in my room as a child to hold the miniatures I collected and I loved it. This project seems perfect for a kid’s room, a studio, an office — any room in need of a cheery, colorful place to keep inspiration. Great idea, Justina!

  1. That credenza is fabulous!!!

  2. Now I know what to do with my typeset drawer! What a great idea (love the magazine in the photo, too) ;)

  3. Adding the legs just made this piece! Genius

  4. Sue says:

    I have two credenzas ready for updating. Never thought about elevating them on legs! Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. carolyn says:

    i never seem to tire of ways of using typeset trays. great before & after!

  6. These are great. I love the yellow in the first makeover.

  7. i LOVE the typset tray! we have the exact same one and i thought it was for seeds… oops. ;)

  8. R. Pyper says:

    Love how those legs transform the first piece — such a great idea!

  9. Wow! They both look amazing! I love the style of each too!

  10. Kat says:

    That credenza is rockin’ my world!

  11. sarag says:

    I love LOVE the addition of the legs! Just did one recently that was a similar piece to begin with, but adding the legs combined with yellow is just perfect!

  12. Anne Bryant says:

    I love both of these projects—what a burst of color. One word of caution on the typeset trays is that the type they used to hold was most likely made of lead. So might not be great around little fingers. Great to look at though! :)

  13. Allison says:

    I hot glued pin backings to the tops of the compartments in my typeset drawer and hang my dangly earrings from them. I also left them out of some of the compartments to hold some small figurines.

  14. Emily Rae says:

    I have a little tiny shelf, but no little tiny things to put on it! I like the nature collages. And the paint chips.

  15. Daniel says:

    It’s sad to see the destruction of a functional type case. Letterpress printers like me really value those for their utility. Tough to see.

  16. Kitchens says:

    These before and afters never cease to amaze me. The creativity is unbelievable. Especially the open shelf cabinet.

  17. Nicole says:

    Love them! They look FANTASTIC!

  18. Justina says:

    Thanks all for your (mostly) encouraging and flattering comments ;-) and to D*S for including the letterpress tray! happy weekend!

  19. barb says:

    I LOVE the type tray! I have one that I filled with little individual shells in each opening – and have been wanting to do a second one. Great idea. And if you use plasty-tac or something non permanent, it would be easy to change out the color cards.

  20. Rise Art says:

    You are doing an excellent job on the remakes – our entire team loves this section!

  21. Jennefer says:

    that type tray remix is amazing! i reposted it to my blog (with links/source of course). one of the best before/afters i’ve seen in a while!

  22. christina says:

    wow, that credenza is gorgeous! I can never get the nerve to paint my wooden furniture, but the look is always so charming. Love the yellow.

  23. Sugar says:

    Love that top credenza! So fabulous.

  24. dominique says:

    the color combo on that typeset tray is fantastic. It needs to move in to my office.

  25. megan says:

    The credenza looks awesome! Has me wanting to repaint a sideboard that’s in my entryway. And I’m a little obsessed with those lamps, where did you find them???

  26. nora says:

    love the credenza!! been browsing through all the before+after for ideas on how to updeate our nightstands and i really like the look of these. is there a tutorial/how-to somewhere on getting that distressed yellow look of the drawers?

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