Before & After: A Craigslist Credenza Gets Dressed Up



If there is one type of furniture that often gets the short end of the stick, landing forlorn and forgotten on the curb long before its expiration date, it is most certainly office furniture. With functionality rather than personal preference guiding most workplace purchases, office furniture hardly ever gets the chance to work its way into our hearts, forming the connections that we typically reserve for the furnishings in our homes. This is a real shame, because old office furniture—despite its industrious raison d’être—can function just as well in the home as in the workplace. Just ask Alice Crick. When this Redlands, CA resident found that the midcentury credenzas she coveted were out of her price range, she turned to Craigslist, purchasing a dinged-up metal office cabinet with a laminate top. After giving it a glossy layer of mint green paint and a new wood top, the piece was transformed from a sad cast-off to a focal point that fits perfectly into the home. Check out all of the photos, plus Alice’s notes after the jump! —Max

 metalcredenza_ba_form_2 metalcredenza_ba_1 metalcredenza_ba_form_3 metalcredenza_ba_2 metalcredenza_ba_3 metalcredenza_ba_form_4 metalcredenza_ba_4 metalcredenza_ba_5 metalcredenza_ba_6 metalcredenza_ba_7


  • 2″ walnut edge banding
  • PSA Walnut flat cut veneer
  • Medium & fine grit sandpaper
  • Kilz primer 
  • Valspar spray paint in Mellow Spring



  • Removed draws and took out chrome drawer pulls
  • Taped off legs and chrome base using plastic sheeting and Scotch blue tape
  • All over sand with fine sand paper
  • All over prime
  • 5 coats of spray paint
  • Ironed on walnut edge banding. Lined up the bottom of the banding to bottom edge of laminate. Trimmed the top level using a Stanley knife.
  • Cut a piece of veneer just larger than the top. Very carefully, starting from the center, stuck veneer down.  Used a scrap plank of wood (end sanded) as a veneer scraper to force out any air bubbles and get the surface completely smooth.
  • Trimmed edges with Stanley knife.
  • Waxed the walnut Howard Feed n’ Wax
  • Put the drawers back in et voila – job done!


  1. Cuero&Mør says:

    Love it!! This kind of projects are the best, low cost, simple but with great results!!
    We did something similar with some ikea chairs and lot of simple and easy DIY in our blog. Also, we have a few projects in mind for makeover of a few furnitures!!

  2. Lisa says:

    Love this and love the bird print even more! Is there a source for this?

  3. Cheap upgrade on an old cabinet. The key to the upgrade is still the skill on fixing the new material on it like spray painting which I find it hard to manage till today.

  4. Renee Ozer says:

    You’ve just given me a great idea for a bathroom vanity in an MCM home!. Thanks!

  5. Alice Crick says:

    Lisa – the bird print is by Alice Melvin, a British Illustrator.

  6. Jessica says:

    That really turned in to a gorgeous piece of furniture! And really, what a great price for a piece that you love! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Debbie says:

    Lovely but seems like it isn’t as easy as description says. Placing of veneer and bands appears a bit complicated for a first-timer. Beautiful results though

  8. Lisa B says:

    I always really enjoy seeing how you get from A to B with projects, thank you it was interesting and the end result is fantastic!

  9. Jen O says:

    Finally, a rescue project that replaces an old plastic wood top with true wood veneer. Now that we all have seen the results of this DIY technique, it would be great to have a more detailed ‘how to’ tutorial to show us the process. I’m inspired by the possibilities!

  10. Barbara says:

    You have to love craigslist and a handy guy. Beautifully done

  11. Melissa says:

    This turned out gorgeous! Love it, so inspiring. On to Craigslist to find a piece in need of a makeover.

  12. Love this Alice! It’s always great to see a piece of furniture given new life thanks to a coat of paint. I really like the mint with the walnut!

  13. Samantha says:

    The possibilities available once you turn to veneer are endless. How many pieces have I seen only to say, “ugh, laminate top”… That’s no longer a deal breaker!

    Did she remove the plastic laminate before adding the veneer, or did she just sand the laminate and stick the veneer on top?

  14. Diane says:

    Wow. I have a metal office credenza just like this sitting in my basement doing nothing because it’s ugly. I knew I could do something with it! Thanks for the plan!

  15. Diane says:

    I’m not clear on what you did with the top though and I really want to do this with my metal credenza. Did you remove the plastic veneer? What’s that board you’re sanding??? Couldn’t read some of your notes. :)

  16. Loved the transformation its amazing what you have made with that small budget

  17. Sarah says:

    That is some great work! Very inspirational… thank you for sharing.

  18. WOW it turned out incredible! Such a good job!

  19. e says:

    Where is that black and white striped basket from?

  20. e says:

    Where is the black and white striped basket from?

  21. Alice Crick says:

    The black & white basket is from

  22. Stephanie Layton says:

    Love it…I just revamped a very similar piece for my home office!!!! I love the organized storage it provides.

  23. Amanda Miars says:

    Do you finish it with a varnish or polyurethane? I did a similar project after seeing your DIY (thanks for sharing!!), and I’m don’t want the pretty veneer top to get messed up. Is the Howard Feed n’ Wax enough to protect the veneer?


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