Advice on updating 60’s/70’s in built wardrobes

Reshma Patel
4 August, 2019

We are currently going through a renovation and we do not have the budget to update the wardrobes. I believe they are 1960’s/70’s inbuilt wardrobes which have been painted in various colours across the rooms.

They are spacious and we would like to revamp them by adding some shelving, changing the colour and handles.

Any ideas on paints to use, colours, handles etc any photos of anyone that has done something similar would be great.

Currently we have a gloss type paint in yellow, green and baby pink.



Comments (12)

  • Sonia

    They look rather nice, but they could be improved with a lick of paint. Colour depends on the final decor of the bedroom. You could opt for white which will give a fresh look to the room. I would use Satinwood paint if budget is tight. Give the doors a light sand to key the paint, wash down then paint a primer, let it dry then two topcoats of Satinwood. Use a small sponge roller as it gives a nicer finish. Pale grey would also look nice. The world is your oyster as far as handles go, there are hundreds to choose from! Here are some ideas to inspire:

  • Emma Lamb

    As well as painting in soft shades like Sonia suggested, you can also add a frame using MDF cut into strips, they'll do this for you in b&q if you give them the sizes, then just glue them on, then paint. This will transform them and make them a bit more interesting and contemporary.

  • Reshma Patel

    Thank you both for the ideas with regards to paint is satin wood the best paint to use, I would like to get a good finish and therefore if we have to spend a bit more then we will.


  • Sonia

    Oil eggshell is supposed to be the best paint, but it does stink to high heaven! Waterbased eggshell is good but not as hardwearing. Both are available at Little Greene. There are other paint companies, so I hope others will recommend some soon!

  • Emma Lamb

    Again Sonia, same hymn sheet. Little Greene is the best, their flat oil eggshell I've used, and the smell isn't too bad due to the new regs regarding VOC's and the water based eggshell is fab too. Always use their colour matched primer and undercoat if using oil, but the water based is self priming if used on bare wood. Prep IS KEY for a long lasting finish. So a good sanding is important. I'm going to guess the old paint is oil given the age and water based will not stick to it. So all your hard work will be wasted because it will just peel off! So sand as far back as you can. Their website is fab and you can download all their info sheets with tips on getting the perfect finish. If you are in North Yorkshire however, you can come see me at work and I'll help you.

  • Reshma Patel

    Thanks Sonia & Emma for your advice unfortunately I am in Hertfordshire I will get a test pot and try this in 1 room we have 3 in total to do.

  • Reshma Patel


    I am looking at neutrals so whites and greys any that you would recommend?

    Bedroom 1 - paint is pavilion grey FB and black and yellow scheme
    Bedroom 2 - paint strong white with a mint green feature wall.

    Bedroom 3 - strong white with blush pink feature wall.

    Thanks for all you help so far.


  • PRO

    Once they are painted, some long oak handles could look good. In terms of painting and labour, I would use oil eggshell paint from Little Greene or Paint and Paper library. Although I do use Farrow and Ball emulsion for the colours, I think the quality is poor and the water based eggshell truly awful. As a comparison, when doing woodwork, it often takes 3 to 4 coats of F&B to cover properly, compared to 1 or 2 of oil based from the above. You have a huge area to paint, so this needs careful thought. The other thing is that F&B eggshell dries as you are applying it, making it very difficult to use as it drags - this can be helped by adding a paint mix to increase flow. However, if you are painting flat panel doors like yours it's not like painting sections, it has to be done carefully in one go so again, give it some thought.

  • Reshma Patel

    I have ordered some little green samples unfortunately could only get the Matt emulsion to check the colours.

    I like the long handles, the leather ones look nice too.

    Thanks for all your advise once completed I will add some pics to this post.


  • Emma Lamb

    When you get your samples, paint them onto some lining paper and stick them to the cupboard doors, rather than painting straight onto the doors. Saves trying to cover with your final choice. :-)

  • New girl

    before and after. Just gone plain white. added some shelves too. kept handles as they were ok. x

  • Reshma Patel
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><md>They look really good thanks for the photos I am thinking of painting them white or a pale grey.

    Can I ask what paint you used also love the internals did you get these made?

    Inside they simply have a rail and not really practical for 3 girls
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