We were lucky enough to have the space but the dilemma came when we ordered a custom reclaimed wood dining table and couldn't think of what kind of buffet would... not match, but at least look decent in the same room. Most of our friends and family had purchased their furniture in a set and I had never seen a room with the table and buffet in such different styles. I was a little worried the end result would look silly (and maybe it does to some people) but since our table is our statement piece, we wanted a neutral buffet. I was also thinking that a narrow frame would be nice so that I wouldn't be forced to keep it against a specific wall and I could move it around if I wanted to redecorate.
This was nearly three years ago and the DIY trend was not as popular as it is today. Honestly, I think people thought we were insane to want to buy used furniture from strangers and paint it ourselves, but I wanted something specific (unobtrusive but still stylish) and I just couldn't seem to find it in a store! We began by looking for buffets/sideboards on Craigslist. I still wasn't seeing exactly what I wanted so I expanded the search to include dressers. I finally found a cute little vintage teak dresser in a non-traditional waterfall shape (look at those long legs!) It actually worked out perfectly, since our dining room is light and open and a heavy piece of furniture (aside from our harvest table) would throw it off balance. We didn't need too much storage so the four drawers were perfect!
It was pretty scratched up, so we decided to paint it a pale grey similar to our walls so that it would sort of blend in. We also spruced it up with some modern drawer pulls in a chrome finish to match many of our retro accents.
Here are the steps in more detail:
1. Source an old dresser or sideboard with interesting lines and proper dimensions. If it is scratched like the little antique dresser shown above, consider whether you want to restore the wood or paint over it. I know some people hate the thought of "ruining" the natural look of wood with paint but I think sometimes, it's the best option. Keep in mind that some scratches may need to be filled before painting.
2. If you purchased a dresser, the drawers may not be strong enough to hold your good china. I suggest picking up some Plywood or Particle Board at home depot and nailing it into the bottom of each drawer frame as shown in the picture on the right. It's not hard to cut and they may even cut it in store for you if you bring the measurements with you.
3. Sand, prime and paint. We used latex based paint with a little bit of gloss but some people prefer oil. Just make sure your primer and paint are the same type. We also applied a coat of polyurethane to the top to give it a reflective shine.
4. This was my favourite part: Choose some pulls (drill holes, if necessary) and screw them in. In the picture, I featured the Bistro Pull from Restoration Hardware.
In the end, we probably spent about $110 for a "custom" sideboard! What do you think?