Instagrammer turns a secondhand broken cabinet into a modern and unique piece – for just £160

The end result looks as though it would easily cost double what she spent

. We love it when we spot an upcycled furniture idea that undergoes such a good transformation that it looks like an entirely different piece – and this one is a great example of how a little bit of vision and creativity can go a long way.

When Instagrammer Jen Rothbury, aka @crack_the_shutters, bought a secondhand broken cabinet, she knew she was going to turn it into a modern and unique piece without spending a fortune. In fact, the project cost just £160, which is a fraction of the price Jen would have paid for a cabinet of this size and style – had she bought it new.

Clever cabinet makeover

Searching for a unit to go in her bedroom, Jen scoured Facebook Marketplace and finally found what she was looking for. 'I was after a glazed cabinet and then I stumbled on this one, when was up for sale for just £40' she says. 'There weren't many pictures of it and the description was brief, but I thought it had good potential so I went to pick it up.'


room with white wall and window with curtains and cabinets and drawer and arm chair

(Image credit: @crack_the_shutters)

The cabinet had an oval shape to it that Jen liked, along with two drawers and glass doors – however, she also discovered a few defects. 'When I picked it up it was dark and I just hauled it into the car without checking it over,' she recalls.

'Once I got it home I| found that it had two holes in the back board and the glass was cracked around one of the hinges – it probably explains the bargain price! Thankfully the repairs were fairly minor and I still managed to make the best of it.'

Starting the prep

wooden cabinet with glass door and drawers

(Image credit: @crack_the_shutters)

To get the cabinet ready for painting, Jen began by glueing the crack in the glass and then filling both of the holes. Next, she sanded and cleaned the outside of the unit, giving it a good base on which to paint.

painted wooden cabinet with glass door and drawers

(Image credit: @crack_the_shutters)

Then it was time to prime the cabinet, before painting it both inside and out. 'I used Farrow & Ball's Borrowed Light for inside the cabinet and the outside I painted in Oval Room Blue,' says Jen.

Buy now: Zinsser B-I-N Multisurface matt primer, £43 for 2.5 litres, B&Q
Buy now:
Borrowed Light Modern Eggshell, £77 for 2.5 litres, Farrow & Ball
Buy now:
Oval Room Blue Modern Eggshell, £77 for 2.5 litres, Farrow & Ball

Updating the glass

reeded glass door with glass film

(Image credit: @crack_the_shutters)

'I wanted the cabinet to have reeded glass doors,' says Jen. 'So I bought a reeded glass film for £80 from Glass Films Europe, which I added to the glass. It  also helps to hide the crack!'


blue painted wooden cabinet with glass door and drawers

(Image credit: @crack_the_shutters)

The end result is pretty spectacular, with the cabinet a far cry from the sorry-looking wood unit that it was before. A sleek blue painted finish has transformed the wood. The reeded glass film looks like the real thing, and decorative gold handles ensure the piece has an expensive, luxe vibe.

'I added new handles from Etsy as a finishing touch and it's now a lovely cabinet in our bedroom,' says Jen.

Buy now: Semicircle handles, £11.47, Etsy

What do you think of this furniture hack? To see this and more, follow Jen on Instagram at @crack_the_shutters.

Share your own upcycled creations with us, here at Ideal Home we're always looking to celebrate creativeness.

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at