Makeover for my armoire – Choosing Color


Linda Merrill's white brick fireplace with beach rock hearth and stained pine armoire cabinet
My Nook Cottage dining room fireplace and china cabinet

What is it about the New Year that makes us want to do makeovers – ourselves, our homes, for our clients, etc?? I have a desire to just blow everything up at my house and start over. However, that’s not really in the cards for the moment. So, I’ll be focusing on smaller items – or maybe not so much small…

Above is my dining area (photo taken before I put away the Christmas decorations). As you can see, it’s kind of country rustic. The hearth is covered with stones collected on Duxbury Beach. My armoire was from my parents house and used to house their television set.

A Cape house family room with rustic beams, Oriental carpet, pine armoire, wrought iron coffee table.
Linda’s parent’s Cape Cod House family room

Speaking of makeovers, my Dad reconfigured this cabinet many years ago so that the upper doors could pocket into the cabinet when open, revealing the tv set and hiding the doors. Pretty cleaver guy was my Daddy! I might also point out he made the Grandfather clock on the right and designed and built the entire kitchen on his own. Plus he added the ceiling beams. He was good that way! I made the window treatments. Anyway, back to my cabinet.

I’m thinking of painting it – using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I was inspired by a client who painted their large wall unit as part of their family room/home office makeover that I’m working on.

This was the original cabinet configuration and finish:

And repainted in Annie Sloane Chalk Paint, Chateau Gray, which is really a green color, plus antiqued with a finishing wax. Looks great, doesn’t it? The entire cabinet has been painted and we broke up the configuration so that the center section is in one part of the room and the two end sections (minus doors) are in another part of the room flanked by the little curved corner display shelves.

Linda Merrill Decorative Surroundings Hingham Sitting Room and Home Office Work From Home matching furniture

So, back to my cabinet.

Here is context for the space. This table view below (photo by Michael J. Lee Photography)  was taken when standing next to the left of hearth/armoire. I was standing behind the table when I took the photo the armoire – it’s very close quarters. Oh, and the armoire now houses my china, silver and other similar items.

A dining space with green tablecloth, slipcovered chairs, pink and beige walls and pink drapery.
Linda’s own Nook Cottage

The photo below, also shot by Michael, shows my little painted green desk (refinished by my Dad when I was in elementary school for my bedroom) is directly to the right of the armoire (you can see it in far right side of the armoire photo nearly hidden behind the pile of books).

Linda Merrill design accent chair nook cottage green velvet
Design: Linda Merrill | Photography: Michael J. Lee | Location: South Shore of Masschusetts

In other words, the painted desk and armoire are right next to each other as you can see in this un-styled scouting shot that Michael took. You can see all the final photos of my Nook Cottage here.

And for a final bit of context, the dining table without the table cloth (also an un-styled scouting shot by Michael).


So… what color to paint it? There are a lot of choices and they can be mixed for a custom color:


Since I tend to love green, my first thought was the Chateau Gray, which I mocked up:


I also looked at French Linen which I thought might be neutral and work well with the beach rock hearth:

Here are examples of French Linen finishes:

And finally, I looked at Graphite, which is not quite fully black.

My concern with black is that it’s such a large piece, it might overwhelm the space. It’s always important to consider the whole space when making a change like this – not just the item itself. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make – only thinking about each item on its own, not how it relates to the rest of the space. The actual cabinet would be darker than this as I needed to reduce the opaqueness of the color in order to see the cabinet form underneath.

I also looked at similarly painted cabinets:


Black chippy cabinet armoire in white room.
Black Chippy armoire in white room with black baskets via Lantiv


Black armoire, blush pink bedding, white room
Photo by Frederic Ducout

This one below, painted in Graphite, concerns me as it look more blue than black which I would not want.

Black painted bureau with brass hardware.
Annie Sloan Graphite black painted bureau by The Refurbished Gentleman

I am leaning towards the black with a light amount of antiquing,  as I think any other color would conflict with all the other colors I have going. By the way, I had a similar debate with myself back in 2009 when I repainted my kitchen cabinets and you can see the final outcome here.

What do you think?

14 thoughts on “Makeover for my armoire – Choosing Color”

  1. I’m just reading this. I’m interested to see what color you painted your armoire, and what it looks like. I’m looking for a color to paint to paint my amoire. Thank you.

  2. I want to paint my veneer dining table in the french linen. Do you have instructions on how to get the distressed look?

    • Hi Meredith – I’m afraid I don’t have real instructions. When I’ve painted my cabinets and things, I usually paint and then lightly sand off and decide as I go how I want it to look. But, you can definitely find lots of instructions on YouTube and also the Annie Sloan website! Good Luck!

  3. Had you considered one of the whites, to blend in with the brick of the fireplace? I think the black or darker colors would overpower the space.

    • Hi Merlyn! I was thinking of white, but if it’s slightly off white, it might look dingy compared to the brick wall. And I don’t think I want a truly white cabinet. Plus, I feel like white is less forgiving for a DIY project! Thanks!

  4. Hard to tell from here on the computer screen, but how is Nonfleur? Is that a less blue gray than the Graphite? and I love your desk 🙂

  5. I have a painted black armoire, but the top trim and door insets are painted a different color. It breaks up the black and really looks great! Just an idea. I can send a picture if you would like one.


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