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DIY Apothecary Cabinet Inspired Old Hutch Makeover (and where to find Apothecary Drawer Pulls!)

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by Robin

I’m VERY excited about our DIY Apothecary Cabinet Inspired old hutch makeover! It has given us so much more storage in our dining room and it looks so good.

And it was cheap to make – we spent about $160 for this makeover – including the old hutch AND the apothecary drawer pulls!

I first spied the antique hutch on my go-to place for decor deals: FB Marketplace. I’m no Zuckerberg fan – but I can never quit Facebook as long as Marketplace keeps helping me find such great things. (Should I write a post with tips for how to score fabulous things on Facebook Marketplace? I’m at boss level skills.)

DIY apothecary cabinet before
You won’t believe what I paid for the hutch! $60!

And that included delivery from another city right to my front porch.

Like I said in my project inspiration post of ideas for painting an old hutch, people are practically giving these old pieces away. And with a few tweaks, you can modernize them into something fabulous – like this DIY faux apothecary cabinet!

How do you modernize a hutch?

There are three main things that will help you revive an old hutch:

  1. Paint
  2. New Hardware
  3. Removing Dated Parts

We did all three!

DIY apothecary cabinet before 3
The first thing we did was take the way too fancy crown piece off the top.

Without it our old hutch’s lines are clean. With it, it’s just way too over the top (pun! sorry…).

It couldn’t have been easier – a couple of screws held it on.

DIY apothecary cabinet makeover before
Next, we removed the old hardware. It was flimsy, fussy and fancy. Not my (f-ing?) taste 😉

And next, I went searching for the perfect new hardware…

A DIY Apothecary Cabinet Needs Apothecary Drawer Pulls!

Apothecary cabinet hardware is essential for the look I was going for. It’s kind of the essence of the whole thing really.

But, finding apothecary drawer pulls was tricker than I thought! I did not expect that. Every company seems to label them something different.

So, to help you on your quest, should you be on one, I’ve gathered some great apothecary hardware finds below:

DIY Apothecary Cabinet Pulls and Handles
1. These are the exact pulls we used (not sure if Lee Valley delivers outside Canada though. Sorry, because they’re so good!)

2. These are quite similar to our aged brass pulls (and ship from the US)

3. These bronze look pulls are insanely affordable – and get great reviews.

4. These pulls come in four finishes: unlacquered brass, oil rubbed bronze, polished chrome and brushed nickel.

5. This one’s from Home Depot and could be easy to find near you.

6. These pulls are the cheapest and get fairly good reviews.

7. People like these black ones, but suggest you get better screws for them. Very affordable.

8. These antique bronze look pulls have reviews that are all over the place. The photo makes them look cute, but might be a risk.

9. These are so primitive and authentic looking!

10. These are so ornate and beautiful! Ship from the UK.

Ready to see our DIY Apothecary Cabinet AFTER?!

apothecary drawer pulls
Oh, how I love this! The perfect sheen on the new paint and those simple yet interesting apothecary drawer pulls!

Once I get the hutch organized just so, I will write on the little labels what’s inside. (Maybe then my family will put things back where they belong? A girl can dream…)

I’ve labelled a few so far: “Silver”, “Contraband”, “Pets” (Yes, true to my style there will be some goofy ones in amongst the useful.)

BUT our Silverware has a story! It actually IS contraband. It was smuggled over from Belgium decades ago, after it was purchased at a seizure auction there. It makes me love my Silverware even more!
DIY Apothecary Cabinet Hardware Makeover 19
For the top of the hutch, I chose to do a faux DIY Mercury Glass mirror finish.

We desperately need more hidden storage in our small open concept main floor.

This faux Mercury Glass effect means all our junk is quietly hidden (cookbooks, liquor cabinet, extra serving dishes etc.) But the hutch feels less heavy than solid doors would have made it.

That bit of sparkle and light reflection from the mirrors gives the room more energy!
diy apothecary cabinet makeover pin
We love our DIY apothecary cabinet!

So much storage and visual impact for such a low cost.

And it took us maybe two afternoons of work start to finish.

I think my favourite part was changing the fussy old hardware with the apothecary drawer pulls. I can’t wait to fill in all the little cards! Expect jokes.

New -> See those gorgeous bentwood chairs above? You won’t believe how little I paid for them! Plus, here’s how to reupholster dining chairs yourself!)

How do you replace the cabinet hardware on an old hutch?

The easiest way to replace cabinet hardware is to determine the size of the original hardware and find replacement pulls that are the same.

DIY Apothecary Cabinet Hardware Makeover 08
Knobs are easy to change.

They generally have just one hole and can be swapped to new hardware without much fuss.
(these are from Lee Valley).

Pulls and handles are a little more complicated to replace. But not impossible.

The easiest thing to do is replace your old hardware with pulls the exact same size.

You find the size by measuring the space between the holes. That tells you the size in inches (or millimetres).

In some respects, this isn’t the easiest though – if you’re like me you’re picky and unlucky and fall in love with hardware that is larger or smaller. The holes of the new hardware won’t line up!

What you need to do if your new pulls are a different size is:

  1. Remove the old hardware.
  2. Fill the old holes with wood filler.
  3. Sand the wood filler when dry.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until smooth.
  5. Drill new holes for your new hardware and install.

What adding new hardware in this way requires is a way to cover those old holes.

It’s tricky if you’re leaving the wood natural. It’s easy if you’re painting it.

We knew all along we were painting, so changing the size of the hardware was no big deal. I could have the apothecary drawer pulls of my dreams!

How much does it cost to paint a hutch?

I knew from the moment I saw it that we would paint the hutch.

It has great lines, but a mahogany finish that’s not my taste. With the right paint, it’s pretty straightforward to paint a hutch, and not that expensive at all.

We are raving fans of Fusion Mineral Paint. We’ve used it a lot and are amazed at:

  • how durable it is,
  • how gorgeous the matte finish is,
  • how great the colours are,
  • how easy it is to use AND
  • It’s inexpensive!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned before how affordable Fusion paint is. This whole buffet and hutch combo took just one jar – so it cost about $25! That’s it. For an amazing transformation.

Fusion has a built-in primer and topcoat. So just that one jar did the whole job.

How do you paint an old hutch?

We will have a whole post of all the details coming soon. (We just finished painting another hutch for our Music Room/Office!)

In the meantime, here’s a video from Fusion of how to paint furniture. It’s really quite simple!

Supplies for Our DIY Apothecary Cabinet Inspired Old Hutch Makeover

This is just one of our DIY Furniture Makeovers – check them out here – and we have more to share soon!

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Jeanine

Friday 1st of April 2022

I love how your hutch turned out - amazing job! Do you know anything about putting glass inserts into regular cabinet doors? I've always wanted the look but don't want all my dishes to be seen. I'd love to try the faux mercury glass effect.

frugalfamilytimes

Friday 3rd of June 2022

Hi Jeanine! Personally, I've never done it before, but I think the easiest way would be to remove your door and take it to a glass shop. I'll bet it's not too expensive for them to make this cute upgrade! :)

Molly

Saturday 19th of February 2022

This turned out so good! What a steal! Please do share your FB marketplace tips.

frugalfamilytimes

Tuesday 8th of March 2022

Thanks, Molly! Yes - I'll add FB Marketplace Tips to my future blog post list! It's one of my fave things ever to do!

frugalfamilytimes

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

Thank you so much, Molly! I’ll add posting marketplace tips to my post list. :)

sue

Friday 18th of February 2022

Thank you for the inspiration to paint, I have a beautiful hutch in my living room I've filled with books and family photos while it a lovely piece the dark wood makes it look a little too formal. Would you post how you've organized the interior of the hutch and drawers?

frugalfamilytimes

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

Go for it, Sue! I’ll try and post the interiors - right now they aren’t very photogenic as I try and sort out the storage for our whole main floor. Once it makes sense I’ll make it pretty and shoot it! :)

Donna

Thursday 17th of February 2022

I love it! Great job!

frugalfamilytimes

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

Thanks, Donna! :)