DIY an Apothecaries Chest for your Linen Closet

DIY an Apothecaries Chest for your Linen Closet

How to DIY an Apothecaries Chest for your Linen Closet. See how I converted a brand new CD holder to look like an old vintage Apothecaries chest for my linen.

Today I am going over how to DIY an Apothecaries Chest for your Linen Closet. I am so grateful to everyone that followed along on our One Room Challenge journey this season. It was truly a jam packed 6 weeks with a lot of projects. I got several messages and comments about the DIY portion of the Apothecaries cabinet from Week 4. This was such a long post on painting and organization. So I decided to divide the post and release the DIY separately, so you could see exactly how we achieved this look.


This is my hack on a DIY antique Card Catalogue, because they are getting harder and harder to find. This is a CD cabinet that I found online, for just little over $250, and it is a really great option if you are looking for a card catalogue. I decided that I would add a rough coat of my favorite Amy Howard Selznick Gray chalk paint to give an antique effect, then coated it with light white antique wax  to seal it.

So for this project we removed all the hardware and only painted the fronts of the drawers and the outer shell of the cabinet. I actually like the way it exposes the oak color drawers inside when you open them. To me it makes it feel more like a found antique versus a new item that I purchased, considering all the card catalogues I remember in school  were always oak.

Since the popularity of card catalogues are on the rise, they are hard to find. Generally libraries only had one catalogue per library. Back in the day not every city even had a library, only the larger cities and schools. So it boils down to basic supply and demand. I am seeing an influx in a lot of replicas, or items that are similar to what I have just created right here. So if you are looking for an authentic one, make sure to do your homework first and know exactly what you are looking at.

Once my piece was dry, I waxed the chalk paint to seal it and reinstalled the hardware back to the drawers and it is already to go up for the Linen Closet Organization as my new Apothecaries Chest. These little drawers are going to be perfect for medications, cotton balls and Band Aids.


This was the before picture of our linen closet. We have the basic wire shelves which I don’t think are very attractive to look at. Even though they are very functional, allowing air circulation around your towels unlike wooden shelves. Which keeps your towels from getting that musty smell that may remind you of your grandmothers old linen closet. See it really was not her fault, just a lack of materials back then.

I developed a way to cover the ugly wire in a previous linen closet last year, by using a facia board to cover only the front rail and still keep the wire rack for air circulation. I loved the look so much that I just knew I had to replicate the look into this linen closet as well. Plus, it matches the UFP Edge Barnwood that I used on my mirrors too! We added the chalk painted card catalogue seen above, to the base of the closet, which was a pretty tight fit, but I had pre-measured so I knew it would work. We did have to remove one of the wire shelves to accommodate the height of the cabinet. It was absolutely worth it, considering how much the cabinet can hold. We actually gained space by adding this cabinet.  This will now replace all of the plastic totes seen on the top shelf, that was used to house all of our medications, first aid supplies, travel supplies, razors, and tooth bushes. We were also able to add the entire basket of nail supplies, cotton balls, q-tips, cotton pads and many other items to the cabinet.

Finally, it was time to add back in the large bulk items like our towels, shampoos, soaps and other toiletries. By eliminating the need for all the miscellaneous baskets and totes, it really streamlined the organization of this linen closet.

Now the only thing left to do is label each of the drawers with my P-Touch to soothe all my OCD requirements, LOL! I thought it would be cute to use a clear label and showcase the provided gray craft paper tags. Now with just a glance even my husband can find anything in the linen closet, no more searching for cold medicine, Neosporin, back pain patches or band aids.  The drawers are clearly marked and honestly, I am not sure how we ever survived before this cabinet. I am not sure I will ever go back to any other methods of Linen Closet organization. So take notes my fellow Marie Kondo lovers, this is an innovative organizational game changer.  If you are worried about little hands getting into to your medicine cabinet? That is an easy fix with child proof locks on the door.

On to our next project…. You can be the first to know what the Gainer’s are up too! Sign up for our monthly Designer Notes to stay in the know about all of our upcoming projects.  

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Apothecaries Chest for Linen Closet DIY JENRON DESIGNS

The Supply List:


  1. What a great idea and what we really need at home. We need more organization ideas and solutions after 2 small children.

  2. Jen, clever and beautiful idea for storing all those small things that drive us nuts! I know just the place to use this …. my craft room! I love you comment that even your husband will be able to find things (maybe?). You know how men are. They never look for things with their eyes open!! Beautiful!!!

  3. I think this is such a genius & adorable idea! It’s perfect for storing all the random stuff that ends up everything! Everything has a place & I love that!

    -madi xo |

  4. I will definately reccommend this post to my mum. She’s into DIY stuff. So im sure she’ll love this.

  5. I love DIY projects! Might need to tackle this one when we get home from our road trip! 🙂

  6. This is so great and organized! I love it

  7. This is so cool! Those little drawers really come in handy too. What a good idea to keep everything in one place!

  8. Our Little Fox Hole

    I have been looking for a card catalog too and this is a great hack!I would have never know to be honest, it looks like a vintage piece.

  9. Farmhouse Fixer Upper

    Such a wonderful way to really organize a linen closet, you are so right about the baskets getting out of control with stuff just tossed in. I agree that the labeled drawer are a much better solution.

  10. sunshine and daisies

    Such a pretty piece Jen, and it does really look like an antique. I do really like the ability to sort the smaller items and label too. Great post.

  11. gigi58

    Jen I love this Apothecary chest and that you made it look like vintage antique. Honestly it is very eye opening to see how a a current item can be altered to look like an antique but it really is not. I need to be more vigilant at the Vintage Picking shows and local Antique Fairs, I have a feeling this happens a lot.

  12. Hey Gigi you are correct I do see a lot of knock off at those events, for example dough bowls, sugar molds, and Tobacco Baskets are the among most replicated and I see tons of those even at local craft stores.If you really want a “true antique” that will gain value as a investment piece, you need to do your research and know exactly what it is that you are buying. However, if you are just going for a trending look, it is totally okay to buy the knock offs and reproductions to save money just know they will not be worth anything going forward. Also artisans have spent time refinishing items to look old are still very pretty and works of art as far as I am concerned.

  13. Jarry Brown

    I am really enamored with this project and this concept. I have been search for a great card catalogue but unable to find one in the shape and color I like. This is such a brillant way to create that look, for a really great price. Just a little bit of work but that is half the fun.

  14. Southern Sassyfrass

    Useful information on how to better organize a linen closet, I gotta say the basket approach has not been cutting it lately they get crapped up fast around here, lol. Love the card catalogue idea.

  15. I absolutely love this DIY and need to do this for my linen closet. You did a wonderful job on it, you can’t even tell it is a DIY project!

  16. This is so organized, I’m so jealous of your closet is not even funny

  17. Amber Myers

    You did such an amazing job with this. I might have to make one!

  18. Such a useful tip! I love the style and it is so practical and organized which makes my heart flutter! Love it and thanks for sharing!

  19. Digitaldaybook

    You had me at the word apothecary! Hehe such a nice DIY!

  20. How cute! I have always wanted one of these for my art supplies. Love it!

  21. What a wonderful DIY upgrade. A great mix of beautiful decor with functionality for more space.

  22. I love this, it’s so creative! Keep these ideas coming.

  23. OMG I love it! This is the perfect organization for a linen closet. Thinking of getting a wooden file cabinet for toiletries.

  24. Wow want a cool idea! You make DIY look easy

  25. This is such a great idea to stay organized! I love the look of the chalk paint too!

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