Nicola Holden Designs – Contemporary Interior Designer, London.

A while ago I was approached by Ronseal asking if I would be interested in collaborating in a DIY project. As I am in the middle of my own home renovation project, much of which I am doing myself, I said yes.

My husband had inherited a mid-century Swedish corner cabinet from his Swedish family that I thought would make a good project. A lot of Swedish furniture is painted but this was plain varnished pine, and the yellow tones and country-cottage feel of the piece didn’t work with the scheme in our home, so I was only too pleased to attack that with paint.


As with most projects, preparation is key. I could have just painted over the varnish but the paint probably wouldn’t have stuck very well and would have chipped off as we used the cupboard. So, the first steps were to give it a good clean with sugar soap and then to get rid of the varnish. I thought the varnish might just sand off but that was wishful thinking and I had to resort to Nitromorse which is not very pleasant to work with.


As part of the collaboration I needed to use a Ronseal product and as Ronseal don’t do a wide range of paint colours I decided to use their undercoat which I had had a good experience with on my office shelves. It is a one-coat undercoat which obviously saves time too!

Then it was time for the main paint colour. After much deliberation I had chosen to use Jazz Cafe from Fired Earth – a rich and gorgeous cobalt blue that will really ‘pop’ in the finished room scheme, and totally transform the corner cupboard from a very bland piece of furniture into something bright and fun. (My mother-in-law thinks the colour is very Swedish which is an added bonus!)

The penultimate step was to stencil a pattern into the panels in the doors. I have long been wanting to find an excuse to use a Royal Design Studio stencil, and this was the perfect opportunity. The pattern we selected is actually a traditional African pattern which links to my African heritage. I painted the white bits in some very matt ceiling paint that I had lying around. I wanted the matt finish to add texture to the unit. And then, to add a final layer of interest and texture, I sprayed on some Rust-Oleum Metallic Bright Gold paint to bits of the pattern to add a bit of pizazz.

After trawling the internet I came across some brass knobs whose size, shape and style worked with the African pattern on the Swedish mid-century unit. They’re a bit cheap and cheerful, but they will work fine until I see something else more suitable.


I have put together a video of the transformation process. Please be kind as being on camera is not my favourite thing to do!

So there you have it – a totally transformed piece of furniture! My still plaster pink dining room walls don’t do it quite justice but I have an image in my head as to how it will sit in the finished scheme, but you’ll have to wait a while for those photographs. But in my mind the colour of this unit will be an unexpected pop of colour, and I for one can’t wait to see the whole room come together!

Swedish Unit

What do you think? Do you love it or loathe it?

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, in partnership with Ronseal.

Nicola's AvatarThis is where I share progress updates on projects, news from exciting shows that I have visited and insights into what inspires me.

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