Repurpose Grandma's Curio For Extra Bathroom Storage With This Easy DIY

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Whether you've recently inherited an old curio cabinet or have owned one for a while, you might notice that they're not the most modern or stylish piece of décor. Before you consider getting rid of it, think of all the ways you could liven up the piece with a DIY refresh. With just some sandpaper and some chalk paint, you can create a lovely vintage look for a beautiful shabby chic upgrade to your bathroom storage options, according to a simple TikTok how-to.

If you don't have a curio but would like to try the DIY upgrade anyway, the TikTok video recommends searching Facebook Marketplace, where they're often listed for sale. Other options are apps like NextDoor and OfferUp, which allow people to sell personal items in their local area. For older Internet users, Craigslist and Freecycle still exist, but always be wary about posting personal information, meeting people at their homes, or allowing people to come to yours. And don't underestimate the thrill of finding an unexpected gem in a thrift store like the Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, or small organization shops in your town. You can find a list of places in your area — with ratings — at The Thrift Shopper.

Refinishing the curio

Use painter's tape to block out the glass in your cabinet so it won't be damaged in any way. Get some sandpaper to sand down the finish off the curio. Choose a medium grit paper between 80 and 120 for this purpose. For easier handling of the sandpaper, you might consider folding around a block of wood, as seen in the video. Once you've sanded things down smoothly, brush any dust off so you can start painting.

The user creates her lovely farmhouse-style bathroom curio look with white chalk paint and a bristle brush, which will show evidence of brush marks. Apply two coats to get full coverage, then rub the sandpaper lightly around the corners again to add a distressed look to the piece.

Finally, because chalk paint was used on the cabinet, it must be sealed. There are different options when it comes to sealant, some designed expressly for use with chalk paint. These are chalk paint wax and chalk paint varnish (sometimes called lacquer). Wax generally takes days or weeks to fully cure, though, so if you're eager to get your cabinet up, go for the varnish. It can be applied just like the paint and will be ready to use as soon as it's fully dry, in a couple of hours.

Wood in the bathroom

The TikTok user in this video is putting the upgraded curio cabinet in the bathroom, but when they're wood, painting your bathroom cabinets isn't a great idea because the varying humidity causes paint to peel and crack. That's probably more of a distressed look than you were going for. However, there are a couple of easy fixes to this problem. The first, obviously, is to put your curio cabinet in another room. It would be gorgeous near a dressing table or vanity, holding personal care items.

The other option is to refinish the cabinet not with chalk paint but with a white wood stain. As stain seeps into the wood, rather than sitting on top of it, it will expand and contract with it as the bathroom humidity changes. To do this, however, you will need to completely sand the old finish off the cabinet first before you can apply the new one, for which you might want to use a chemical stripper. The effect, though, will be nearly identical, and it will withstand the wear and tear of sharing a room with a steamy shower.