Using Paint Or Wallpaper Inside Cabinets - My Cabinet Transformation!

Longed to experiment with really dark or bright colours in your home, but can't pluck up the courage? Seen an expensive fabric or wallpaper that you love, but just cannot afford to use it to paper a room or upholster a sofa? Of course you have! This happens to me ALL THE TIME. I obsess about it until I work out a way to add it into my home somewhere!

Over the next three weeks i'm going to share with you 3 DIY tricks that I have used to incorporate wallpaper and fabric that I can't afford, and how I've added pops of strong colours I love, without the worry that i'm overspending or making a large decorating mistake. I'll show you how easy it is and how you can do it too....


I'm really into the current geometric trend in interiors. I didn't think it would be my thing as it is so trendy and modern and my style is usually a bit more classic, but i've fully embraced it. I saw this cabinet on Instagram taken at the London Design Festival earlier this year and thought it worked so well, it totally inspired me to add together geometric brights and wood in furniture:

This piece is by UK furniture makers Turner Furniture.

This piece is by UK furniture makers Turner Furniture.

A few years back at auction I brought this gorgeous old display cabinet:

In my old home we had this tucked away upstairs in the hall and it housed my husbands toys (*cough*, sorry, I mean 'collectable figures'), so I didn't really bother with it. Moving to our current home it was obvious that this piece should be in the living room, so in it went and I filled it with ornate objects and books. The thing was that everything I put in there looked so lifeless, the musty old fabric lining in the cabinet did not make my decorative objects sing - they needed a dramatic backdrop.

A while back I saw a piece in an interiors magazine of a home where they had a Cole & Son mural in their hallway of a colourful geometric print called 'Circus,' and fell in love. I knew it would be expensive (the couples home was in Marylebone and full of amazing Julian Chichester chairs), but at £350 quid it was well out of my budget. Then Cole & Son released a wallpaper version of this print called 'Prism', but it was still an eye-watering £92 a roll. Now I know wallpaper lasts longer than paint, but seriously, even a feature wall takes more than one roll! That's soooo much money to spend on wallpaper.

With the print being rather, shall we say, 'jazzy', I was also aware that if it wasn't hung in a perfect spot it would totally take over a room. But what about if I hung it inside this cabinet, replacing the faded lining? I'd have my very own geometric print piece of furniture for a fraction of the cost of the Turner cabinet, or buying multiple rolls of 'Prism'. Perfect! Who said wallpaper had to be hung on a wall anyway, right?

Here is the inside of the old cabinet before....I know, pretty old and gross....

And here is what it looks like now!

Now whatever I put in my cabinet totally pops out and looks so much better than before. White ceramics and gold and neon colours work especially well:

HOW YOU CAN DO IT TOO:

First - be nifty about getting the amount of wallpaper you need for a fraction of the price. Measure how much surface area of your cabinet needs to be covered and then set about trying to get an offcut. People often sell left over rolls of expensive wallpaper on Ebay that they haven't completely used. Visit showrooms and interior shops and try and get them to give you a decent size sample to take away with you. I managed to get this Prism offcut from a friend who works in set design.

Then, buy a £1.50 packet of wallpaper paste from the DIY store and get cracking! If you are not a wallpaper expert you may be tempted to buy the ready made wallpaper paste at around a fiver, but don't do it. You only need to add water to the packet of powder flakes and stir until it's a jelly-like consistency. It's easy - honestly.

Cut your offcut to size (being a bit generous as you can cut away the excess), paste the back of the paper with a paintbrush, then stick it in your cabinet. Smooth out any air bubbles with a wallpaper smoother (if you have one, otherwise for a small job like this something like an unused credit card would do):

Trim any excess paper with a trimming knife (I would recommend getting one of these), and wipe away any excess glue with a slightly damp sponge.

If you are not taken with any wallpaper, try painting the inside of a cabinet a fabulous colour like teal. How great do the items in this cabinet look against a teal backdrop? And how well does the colour work alongside the dark wood?

Image courtesy of Home & Garden Magazine

Image courtesy of Home & Garden Magazine

Farrow & Ball do a good teal by way of 'Vardo' , as do Paint By Conran with 'Blue Kale' .