Make-Shift Dining Room Hutch - Juniper Home

Make-Shift Dining Room Hutch


Our kitchen is so teeny tiny that right after we moved in I realized that most of our kitchen items would need to be stored in the dining room. I planned on using the red credenza in there and I thought about painting it a really dark plum color.

Also, I didn’t have a place in the brownstone to put the HUGE bookshelf from the loft’s laundry room and it didn’t fit down the stairs to the basement, so we had put it out on the curb, but only for about 15 minutes.

As I unpacked all of our kitchen stuff, it was pretty clear that my plates and bowls and servingware weren’t all going to fit in the red credenza. So we hauled the giant (heavy) bookshelf back up the stoop and set it up on top of the credenza.

We were shocked and thrilled that it actually fit, but the ketchup/mustard color combo was not so appetizing to me. :) I thought about still doing the plum idea for the whole piece, but really, it is such a huge, huge piece and the room is so small, I thought a big block of dark color would overpower the space. So I decided just to try gloss white. But before I painted it, we secure the shelves to the wall and I added two pieces of wood to the base of the bookshelf to make the whole thing look less disjointed and more like a single piece of furniture. (We did a similar trick with our Billy bookshelves)

I used a 2×4 for the bottom of the base and a 2×6 for the tall part. I made a couple of 45 degree angle cuts with my miter saw, screwed the pieces together and caulked and filled the holes and gaps. 

I painted it all out with Rustoleum’s white gloss enamel and I used a bit of my favorite Penetrol to help reduce the brush marks (this stuff really does work – as long as you use the recommended amount!).

I decided to leave the insides of the shelves the navy color from before and I like the contrast. I know it’s busy – there are so many dishes in there! I’ve since edited and taken some of the things out, but really this space needed to be about practicality (isn’t every small space?). I’ve considered adding doors, but you don’t really see the contents of the shelves from any other angle in the room (and not at all from the entry). Mostly, it is SO nice to have easy access to all of this servingware and I love that my girls can easily grab the dinner plates from the bottom shelf to help set the table by themselves.

I like that the white sort of blends into the pale walls and helps to make the small room not feel even smaller. Though, some days (usually during breakfast, when the light is so pretty in here) I start to daydream again of painting the whole thing dark, dark, almost black, plum. We’ll see if my better judgement holds out. :)

It’s a fun challenge for me to figure out ways to make furniture from previous homes work in (very different) spaces. I’m usually tempted to get rid of everything each time we move, but it never really happens that way and I usually can find a way to make our old stuff work (which is probably for the best) :)

What have you done to make your old furniture work in new spaces?

What did you think?
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70 thoughts on “Make-Shift Dining Room Hutch

  1. Great transformation!!
    As I was reading your post and saw the hutch, I immediately knew you'd put it on top of the credenza. The whole unit now seems as it was there from the beginning, so that's nice!!
    And that chandelier really blows my mind!!

  2. Oh, I'm so glad you posted this picture! I was thinking they were peach. My screen wasn't reading the picture as well. Great call on stacking the pieces, and I like the white!

  3. Seriously, I bow down to you. I have never really attempted much of anything DIY. Although I recently used a glue gun to apply some fab greek key trim around my lamps in my master bedroom, ha!,that is about the extent of it. I am beyond impressed with your project, it looks fab. Thanks for sharing!

  4. How did you paint the inside of the shelves and have it look so clean lined? Did you lay it down? I've found that to be really hard before.

  5. Your piece totally looks like you walked out of a designer show room with it! I love that you left the inside dark, it really shows off your beautiful dishes. As fabulous as the hutch is, can I say how much I want a light just like yours? I was at an event at an old hotel (dated old, not good old) the other day and the conference room had four chandeliers exactly like yours hanging in it, and one in the hall. I totally wanted to make them an offer on one of them! I don't comment often here but read every post. Thanks for your constant inspiration. The way you think outside the box amazes me!

  6. What a great idea, even though I am sad to see the red colour go. I have repurposed so many of our furniture as we have moved every few years. It is so fun to have the lightbulb go off when you have figured out how to fit everything into the new space!

    I really love how the "hutch" looks!

  7. oh, jenny, i will miss the red credenza….it was one of my all time fav pieces. i say go for a color….i think the credenza cries out for a pop.

  8. You constantly amaze me! Your sense of design and your photography skills are astounding!

    But I have a quick question, since you are constantly painting and repainting furniture I was wondering if you strip the furniture of the previous finish, sand and then repaint, or do you just paint over the previous color? Very curious to know.

  9. Hi Jenny, Love the look. I am dying for your dining room chairs. I have tried to search for chairs like yours but have come up empty. Would you be able to help me with key word searches or manufacturer? Thank you!

  10. I LOVED the red credenza – but you have geniously repurposed what you have. I love it! Everytime we move we have had to do similar things to make our space work.

    I'm on team dark purple for the dining room hutch. Your use of color is so inspiring to me. It's fun to see you show retraint and editing your own work though. I like the process. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Absolutely love the transformation here! Would've loved to see a beautiful plum, but youre right – it may have darkened the room.

    Still totally obsessed with the chandelier. I think its my favorite piece in your home!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Sasha @

  12. Beautiful! It's cool to see a hutch that is so unusually tall – the proportions go so well with your tall ceilings. I love the classic white, but I always ooo and ahh over your use of deep, dramatic colors, so I fully support the plum, too! :) And that chandelier…phenomenal!

  13. That red credenza is my favourite DIY on your site and I've been searching for a similar piece. Were it white alone, I'd scream blasphemy, but with the added on "hutch", well, sigh, you once again prove that you can make anything look great :)

  14. Wow. Great post/transformation. I still don't know where you find the time for all these projects! I started to wince as I realized you painted over the red. But it was worth it.

  15. Thank you for this post! I love seeing how you are making things change and work from one home to the next. I am always amazed at how fearless you are about re-working something. Please keep these posts coming!

  16. What about painting the entire piece dark plum and then painting the shelf backs a lighter color? Personally, I'm in a "I want to gold leaf everything" stage, so I think that would look awesome too!

  17. I am trying to learn from all of your wonderful experience! Did you sand before priming? How many coats did it take to cover the red? Love all your projects!

  18. Again, job well done! I'm curious, did you use a roller or a brush for this project? I am considering painting a dresser and I am not sure which tool to use….

  19. you beat me to the punch (i'm doing something similar in my daughters room). i love, love, love how this turned out. the white, the chunky trim at the base of the "hutch". it looks super high-end and amazing…per your usual! xo


  20. You amaze me! How do you do all of these amazing projects with three children running around?? I can barely get supper made :) Very cool piece of furniture!

  21. It looks wonderful and I'm a big fan of working with what you've got – but I have to admit I'll miss that beautiful red on the credenza. Every time I saw a picture of it, it made me happy.

  22. I'd been curious about that red piece (more like: wishing I lived in NYC, so when you moved, I could just scoop up your goodies:) It's beautiful the way you re-used it, and the bookshelf. And I love that you have a lot of "stuff" (even if you did edit it a bit) in the bookshelf! Deep plum would be great with the light blues :)

  23. Love the hutch! I've been looking for one to refurbish recently and I find the glass doors too heavy and dated… Open shelves in a different colour are perfect!

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