West Elm Inspired Cart: How to Refurbish an Old Metal Rolling Cart

I have been eager to share this project for over a week now!

A few months ago I found a metal rolling cart in a garbage pile at work. I was on my way out the door so I recruited a friend, we’ll call him “Little G”, to rescue the cart before it went down into the dumpster. Luckily Little G humored my need for garbage picking and when I returned to the office this metal rolling cart was waiting for me.

Thanks Little G!

rolling cart before

Needless to say this cart was filthy and starting to rust. I brought the cart home, cleaned it up and started by scraping off some of the rust and chipping paint.

rolling cart cleaned

I then used my palm sander to sand the three shelves to smooth the surface as best as I could.

rolling cart sanding

I disassembled the cart, making it easier to paint. I knew my plan was to paint the legs in one color and the shelves in a different color so separating the pieces saved me a lot of taping.

rolling cart disassembled

The casters were in good shape and I didn’t want them painted so I taped off the casters and started spray painting the legs in gold; Valspar Metallic spray paint in Brilliant Gold #66009.

metal rolling cart legs casters

I spray painted the three shelves in white; Valspar Spray Paint, in Satin White #85001. This is a primer and paint in one so it helps with coverage.

Some tips for spray painting:

  • Wear gloves. I probably don’t follow this rule enough, but spray paint is not easy to wash off your hands and nails so be sure to do this.
  • Wear a mask. The fumes are strong and a mask really does help protect you and your lungs.
  • Be patient. Spray in light coats, allow each coat to dry and then return to spray another coat until you get complete coverage. If you over spray you’ll get drip marks and these are never fun to fix.

metal rolling cart tape edge

How did I find my inspiration for this cart? West Elm recently re-posted a close-up image of their Rubicon Rug on Instagram and inspiration struck… that quickly! If you’re not familiar with West Elm, they “offer modern furniture and home decor featuring inspiring designs and colors” and I am a BIG fan.

West Elm Rubicon Rug

I love when inspiration just hits me. I immediately knew I wanted this design painted on the top shelf of the rolling cart. The challenge then became how to create the design… with tape. I used Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape. It sticks well enough to create a pattern when painting and lifts off without peeling paint.

I started off by taping the edges of the top shelf to create a rectangle (as seen in one of the images above).  

The trick to taping off a rounded corner: Cut 1/4″ pieces of tape and slightly overlap these little pieces as you follow the rounded corner.

Next, I found the center point in the shelf and the center point in each of the four corners. I started by taping off one large “X” and I cut each piece of tape (as shown below) to ensure clean angles throughout the pattern.

metal rolliing cart cut tape on angle

I used 1″ painter’s tape. Rather than measure every single row I just used two extra pieces of tape to create a guide. Once my next row was in place, I removed the guide tape and this is how I created the pattern.

metal rolling cart taping pattern

I did this until I ended up with the complete pattern. This may look tedious, but it really wasn’t that bad. I ran my fingers across all of the tape lines to make sure the spray paint wouldn’t seep through.

metal rolling cart taped

Once all of the pieces were painted (the legs, the shelves and the patterned top) I re-assembled the cart.

What a difference!

metal rolling cart after

This cart was truly transformed.

metal rolling cart after angled

It can be used as an end table or an accent table. It would also make a great bar cart.

metal rolling cart bar cart

I decided to photograph this cart at the beautiful and historic home of my good friends Shannon and Mark.

metal rolling cart vignette

I knew exactly where I wanted to place the cart in their home, and can you see why? Just awesome. I love the modern chairs and the great black and white pictures of Cleveland!

metal rolling cart bar close up

Cart measurements: 16″ x 22″ wide x 29 5/8″ tall

metal rolling cart top shelf close-up

A big thank you to Shannon and Mark for sharing their home, to West Elm for inspiring me and another big thank you to Little G for the pickin’ help!

This cart was sold out of our ETSY shop. Click here to view the listing.

This project is linked up on Tatertots & Jello  and LollyJane blogs… AND we’re featured on Knock Off Decor!

Also linked up here:

Tiny Sidekick


metal rolling cart collage

Happy Salvaging! -Kathy

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    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Hi Jenna! Thank you so much for the compliment! Thanks for giving us the opportunity to share what we do :)

  1. Judy says:

    Finished project is unbelievable, so pretty and stylish. Used to have the exact same cart myself “back in the day.” Kept it in the kitchen where it coordinated so perfectly with my harvest gold ( apt) appliances and gaudy gold-and-brown linoleum flooring. I truly never dreamed cart could look so good. Great job!

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Hi Judy! thank you so much for the compliment. You do a great job of describing your past kitchen. I can completely picture it! :)

  2. Donna says:

    I have the same “rescue” in my garage. Thanks for the ideas and instruction! Hope mine turns out as wonderful as yours did.

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Thank you! Just a little elbow grease and patience. I see by your DIY blog that you probably understand exactly what I mean :)

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Hi Barbara and welcome from SITS! Thanks for the compliment! I love how honest and open you are in your blog, I’ll be following :)

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Thanks, Katie and thank you for having us! Looking forward to linking up more in the future :)

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Hi Jenny, thanks! I’m so glad you didn’t throw the cart away. Please share if you decide to give it a makeover. We would love to see it.

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      We are so happy to share it at The Makers! There were some really amazing projects in that post. We plan on sharing more in the future. Thanks for giving us that chance :)

  3. Robin says:

    This is beautiful! Great job! I have a bar cart I am getting ready to restyle, and I have a question. Did you sand or prime the chrome bars? I find conflicting info on this and I just want to be sure before I ruin them or give myself double the work.

    • The Salvaged Boutique says:

      Hi Robin, thank you! I used Valspar’s metallic spray paint which works great on metal. I didn’t have to sand or prime but I did spray a coat of polycrylic over the metallic gold to help protect it. I hope this helps. Good luck with your project! -Kathy

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