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cedar chest – before & after


I am in search for the perfect coffee table for the living room.  I want something interesting…maybe a skirted ottoman with curvy legs or something on wheels.  Whatever it is, I haven’t found it yet.  I’ve had this round side table in the room for a few months and really liked it there, but it was even more perfect for my family room, so I was left with a hole in the living room.  (This is a constant problem for frequent furniture re-arrangers like myself.)

So, I hauled in the cedar chest that was used to store a train set in my family room and tried it in front of the sofa.  Hmm…the scale of the piece is right, but the orange color wasn’t working.  I know you’ll just die of shock when you see what I did next…



…you know me so well.  Yes, I painted it.  I thought ASCP Louis Blue with Old White might do the trick.


I like the chest better, but it’s still not really working in the room.  It’s a little too “sweet”, if that makes sense.  So, it’s back to the drawing board.  I’m going to Lucketts on Thursday to move my stuff from the third floor to the first floor (into a smaller, more manageable space), so I’ll look around for something while I’m there.

Tonight we’re heading back home and I am bringing my secret weapon back with me…Mini Mustard Seed.  Woohoo!  She decided to hitch a ride home with us, so I’ll have my assistant and baby sitter back again (and she’s just a sweet girl to have around, too.)  I love visiting with family, but I’m looking forward to getting back to work.

I kind of like work…in case you haven’t noticed.

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  1. I do know what you mean about it being too “sweet”. It would look perfect in a child’s room as a toy chest. Something about the round feet for the living room just doesn’t work. Nice job covering up that orange color, not always easy to do!!


  2. Lynn Ehrlich says:

    Love it! I have missed your furniture makeovers. Post photos of your new Lucketts space. I am going to make another trip to VA in a few weeks. I will definitely be stopping by your space!


  3. Wish I would have found your site sooner you have the best ideas. I love things painted.

  4. You covered the orange wonderfully! If you didn’t live with boys, it would work beautifully, but I understand! I’m glad Mini Mustard Seed is back because now you are going to be the craziness that is December!


  5. What if you removed the feet and added industrial casters?

  6. Love it! It is still a fight with my husband…just because it is wood, doesn’t mean it is beautiful. I have an old chest that resembles the before picture, now you’ve got me thinking.

  7. Oh wow I love it! Goregous. Yes industrial casters is a good idea also. Amy x

  8. Linden Townhouse says:

    Oh, I do love the blue of that chest! But I hope you find exactly what you are looking for. Isn’t it true that we can only take so much sitting around and eating?!!

  9. Nicole Reilly says:

    I absolutely love it where it is! I think that you should take the knobby feet off and replace them with casters.
    If you still find it too “sweet”, then add some grey color to the blue. I adore it!

  10. I love the new look of this old cedar chest. Much better than the orangey wood and it looks great with your sofa and the pale blues in the room. Perfect!

  11. Lynne says:

    I am surprised that the knots don’t show through the paint. I recently passed up a perfectly beautiful french style table and chair set because it was made of pine and the pine knots scared me. Did you do something special to cover them?

  12. The chest looks great! My dark-stained, oval, Queen Anne legged, dropped-leaf coffee table would look fabulous in your living room.

    : )

    Julie M.

  13. i agree- its the feet. LOVE how the chest turned out though. SO much better than orange!

  14. This looks so good! I love your whole living room, the hardwood is fabulous.

  15. I have a cedar chest a lot like that one and have thought about painting it, but am afraid of that huge expanse in the front. I am considering an inner “box” of 1/2 round, sort of like a panel on a wall, painted a lighter color with a stencil in the middle. Does that sound like it would work to you?

  16. It looks so much better!

  17. I do like painted version, nice job!
    This is such a warm and inviting room, what did you have in mind?

    I have a wood double high poultry crate with a slide out wire bottom that I cleaned over the weekend. It is not stained or painted just as it was originally (minus the droppings).
    Send me an email if you are interested.

  18. Sharon says:

    i LOVE it! but also agree the industrial feet would work better with it. Where do you get your furniture feet…..same places you find the furniture or do you buy them somewhere? I’ve been looking without much success….

  19. Sharon in Chicago says:

    Or if you decide to keep the bun feet, do a surprise and paint them your accent green instead of blue

  20. Jackie says:

    How about a picture of Mini Mustard Seed! You talk about her so much, I would love to put a face to your wonderful assitant.

  21. Hi Miss Mustard Seed, I too paint cedar chests and I’m not ashamed! I just love the fresh clean look of a painted piece of furniture, even if it is grunge painted. I know what you mean about missing the creative time. I was away from home several days visiting relatives and I enjoy i,t but am thinking half the time about projects I could be working on if I was at home.

  22. Linda S. in NE says:

    I also think the paint did wonders for your cedar chest. Nice job of covering those knot holes. I agree with the other peeps who say the “feet” on the piece is what is making you dislike it in that room. Can’t say I’m in love with the idea of industrial casters, either, though. Maybe just some interesting pieces on top would get the focus off the box. Bring in a little of that green. My living room coffee table is a piece that looks like an antique wood sled. Lot’s of fun to decorate this time of year. Vote me in for a picture of Miss Mini Mustart Seed. Hope you had a safe trip home.

  23. My parents gave each of us girls cedar chests when we graduated high school. (they called them hope chests) Anyway, some 43 years later, mine is worse from wear and moves. I find it difficult to paint wood, but it’s time I let go. Did the chest come with the feet shown? Mine has a plain cut bottom.

    thanks for your wonderful site and so many good ideas.

  24. Holly says:

    I love the cedar chest! I painted one that belonged to my husband’s grandmother and was terrified that my MIL would kill me. It was great meeting you Saturday morning – hate that I had to bail early – it looks like y’all had a great rest of the day!

  25. Hi Marian! Firstly, I gotta say that I do love the eclecticism of your living room. If the proportions of the chest are right you could remove the bun feet and replace them with some industrial metal caster wheels – similar to what I did to this old library card cabinet I’m now using as a side table:
    The baby blue is perhaps a little too sweet so maybe try something bit more sophisticated like a warm distressed french gray? I think even a chalky washed black (similar to my master bedroom armoire: could work well there too.

  26. I totally want this table and am on a hunt for legs like it so I can have it built by a carpenter I know. I have figured out that the legs are probably pool table legs, but I can’t source them. It’s killing me!

  27. Janet Lawson says:

    I love the new look..Good luck though on finding a great piece for your living room..Can’t wait to see what you find..

  28. I love how it came out but I can kind of see what you are saying ~
    A friend of mine gave me an old trunk that her neighbor brought over on a boat
    from Europe with everything he owned many many years ago ! I just love love it!!!

  29. So glad I saw this. I was given a cedar chest when I graduated from high school over 40 years ago, and so often I’ve thought about painting it. It has been a miracle worker at keeping keepsake stuff stored all these years, so I don’t want to get rid of it. Now, I can see the potential in painting it. Good job, Marian!

  30. I had the same issue. Imended up making two ottomans from scrap wood and leftover bits of old couch. Total custom job… Took a single weekend. (I believe the post about it is on the front page of my site right now.) we have needed a coffee ta le for years, but our living room is so oddly shaped and small that we could never find one that worked for us. So we *made* one. (or two, as it were…) we LOVE them.

    I know you can get curvy legs (we just used bun feet) online… I think has some really good stuff.

  31. So, I have to say, how in the world have I not found you sooner??? I absolutely love your blog, your home, your style – & I like the “sweet” blue cedar chest too! :) As a youth pastor’s wife of three little ones, I so appreciate where you’re coming from…. thanks for sharing – I’m your newest follower :) Would love for you to follow me {if ya like!}

    blessings to you-
    Lauren {in Virginia too!} &/or

  32. I know what you need in there, Marian. One of those cool industrial carts on casters. That would look awesome in there!!! :) Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

    oxo laurie

  33. Michelle M says:

    your living room is so pretty! Maybe painting your cedar chest a dark blue would make it less sweet. Something like Napoleonic Blue.

    Have a safe trip home!

  34. The blue cedar chest might work if you removed the quilt from the back of the sofa. It’s a beautiful quilt, but with the pinks in it, I suspect that might be what’s making it all too “sweet” now. If you do go with casters, I’d grey down the chest somewhat too. I love the blue chest, though. Much better than orange.

  35. The cedar chest that is used for our coffee table is probably the only piece of furniture choice that we’ve agreed on. I love the age of it, the size and shape, and that all the board games can be stowed away inside. Our next coffee table project is going to be a chicken crate with locking wheels added to the bottom to make it mobile when needed. I saw this on another site and the chicken crate just screamed out to the farmgirl in me. Now I have the crate, but need to remember to pick up the wheels.

  36. I’m searching for the perfect coffee table too. If you decide to keep that one you could always stain it a darker color to match the room?


  37. Design that is perfect for me. I’ll go to a carpenter to make a coffee table and I’ll put it in the family room.

  38. Come to Texas and thrift with me! I have the perfect ottoman, that is round on wheels that you could have! It was even a freebie, found curbside!

  39. Hi Miss Mustard Seed. For some reason my previous comment isn’t showing up. I love that chest though for a bit more edge definitely think you should add industrial casters. i just added some to an old library card cabinet I’m now using as a side table.

  40. Jane Ray says:

    It’s not the feet, it’s the light paint colors that make it too sweet. I would have sanded it and stained it darker to match the piano, sofa feet and other dark furniture in the room.

  41. Thank you for making the comment identity auto-filled on your new blog!

    I agree with you on the chest and have complete faith that you’ll find a solution! It’s good to know that it’s not just me who doesn’t get things right the first time, every time!

  42. I love it just the way it is! I just picked up a Lane cedar chest a couple of days ago thrifting. Did you all know that you can contact the company via their website to get new locks sent to you? The old ones (up to year 1987) have dangerous locks. I am taking mine off until my replacement arrives for safety. See this link:

    Be safe!

  43. Well, I love it. Style it with some tarnished silver and a big glass compote and it will be great! I think it would look great styled for Christmas with some greenery and silvery ornaments or some shiny brites! Oh, well. You like what you like. When you find jus the thing, you’ll know! 😉

  44. Sheila Edwards says:

    I have a question for you and don’t know where the best place is to ask: So here goes:
    I re-did a dresser and the drawers just “fall out” when pulled out. Can you buy the tracks for old dressers and install them to keep the drawers from falling out?
    Wasn’t sure…thanks so much for any response or advice you might have for me!

  45. Like a few other commenters, my first thought was to go green also. Coincidentally, I have a cedar chest at the end of my bed and am planning to paint it green to match the blue/green/cream fabric that I picked out for pillows/accents. Most of the elements in the room are pale blue/cream, so I think I want the chest to stand out a bit.

  46. Where did you get those curtains? I love them!!!

  47. debbie klausing says:

    I am wondering who is Mini Mustard Seed? I must have missed when you first talked about her and have been wondering for a while. I really like your blog and all the inspiration! You are an amazing person who “gets it done” and I wish I had “just a pinch” of that! Thanks, Debbie

  48. No industrial casters! It’s too “powder puff” blue. Add white or add green or add grey. Just tone down the cutie pie blue. Otherwise I think the style and size is great.


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