DIY Dinning Room Buffet

Check out how I transformed old windows and pallets into a shabby chic dining room buffet!

Hey everyone,

Over the course of the holiday season, I got myself into a bit of a predicament when I extended an offer to my family to come for Thanksgiving. The problem in trying to host a big old fashioned Chevy Chase family holiday is that my dining room table is housing all of our fine china that we received from our wedding! I’ve been scared to move any of it since I currently don’t have a safe place to store it. With practically no money in the budget to buy a buffet, china cabinet, or sideboard, I convinced the hubby to help me build one. Here’s how to DIY your own dinning room buffet. 
We decided to build the buffet using materials we had on hand such as multiple pallets, various lengths of scrap 2x4s, finished plywood, and our old wood windows we had in the garage. The only things on our shopping list were knobs & hinges, as well as a few different sizes of white boards (we bought a total of six 1×2, one 1×3, four 1x4s, and one 1×6) you can find white board in the “common boards” section of your hardware store. The total cost to build was still WAY less than what we would have paid at an antique or furniture store.

We drew out a picture of what we wanted the buffet to look like. To fit nicely in our dining room, I wanted the buffet to be 14 inches deep and 40 inches tall. As for the length of the buffet, I wanted it to be three windows across, and the dimensions of the windows determined the maximum length of the buffet, coming in at 87 inches long. Our sketch of the buffet is REALLY professional (wink, wink).

The dimensions of our windows are 32 inches long and 24 inches wide. We had to allow a few more inches between each window for the hinges.

c1Zach started on making the legs for the buffet with 2x4s. We didn’t want the bottom shelf to sit directly on the ground, so he used 2×4 blocks to hold up the bottom shelf. A 1×6 board that wraps around the entire base of the buffet will hide the 2×4 legs in the end.  We used the finished plywood and cut out pockets for the 2×4 legs to slide into. This helps to make the entire buffet sturdier.

DSC00283Here’s a how it looked once we had all the legs in place with the bottom shelf attached.


I caught the hubs working at warp speed! He had cut out the pockets in the middle shelf, and was sliding the shelf in to sit on top of the 1×2 board.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good picture of the 1×2 board that supports the shelf. The 1×2 board runs along the front and back of the buffet on inside of the frame. We made sure to securely attach 1×2 board by nailing it to our 2×4 frame.

DSC00316The hubs used another 1×2 board to nail to the front of the finished plywood, to hide the unfinished edge to give the buffet more of a polished look.
Once the shelves were secured in place, I decided I would apply the finishing color on the buffet. I figured it would be easier to white wash & stain before the sides & top were attached.

DSC00338I first painted on a whitewash mixture using Olympic color, Mountain Grey. To make the whitewash mix, add 1 part water to 1 part paint then shake it like a Polaroid picture, Hey-ya!

DSC00344Once the whitewash was dry, I applied stain on top of the whitewash. I mixed my own color of stain by using Minwax Espresso, and Minwax Weathered Oak. I used a brush to apply the stain, and then wiped off the excess after a few seconds with an old t-shirt.  The ratio of espresso to weathered oak I used is: ¼ cup espresso to 1 ½ cup of weathered oak, be sure to stir the stain mix (sorry, but no shaking this go around).
DSC00309I used the same process of whitewashing and staining with the pallet boards we used to wrap the sides and the back of the buffet. (Before you start your next pallet board project, check out our tips for picking out a pallet here!)

DSC00333The buffet was getting a tad heavy to lift-even for the hubs, so we decided to assembled the rest of the buffet in our dining room. Our next step was to wrap the buffet with the pallet boards. (Sometime all of our scrap plywood laying around our garage makes me feel like I have a little lumber section at my own personal hardware store. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad…)

c2While the hubby was cutting the pallet boards, I prepped our windows. Please excuse the sawdust 🙂

DSC00272Our windows were already painted white, and the previous paint job was pretty horrendous. I used a razor blade to get off any paint that was on the glass and to flake off any chipping paint. I then sanded the windows down a bit to make sure the stain would take. I made sure to wipe the window clean before I applied my stain mix.

The next step was using a microfiber cloth to rub Minwax finishing wax over the buffet.

DSC00363DSC00362I really encourage you try using a finishing paste or wax on any piece of furniture you build, because it not only helps to protect the wood, but it also gives a nice smooth furniture finish quality.


The last step was to attach the window to the buffet. We purchased these hinges from the hardware store, and the knobs from a hobby store.

Here is our finished buffet. How does she look? I love how the build turned out, and I’m thrilled I can proudly & safely display my wedding china and grandparents’ china!


I would love you hear from you, and if any of you all have any questions, use our contact page or post in the comments!

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