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 2x4 for the bottom of the base and a 2x6 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?