I was lucky enough to buy this 1970ish china cabinet and its matching buffet at an auction for $50 total. BUT it smelled horrendous, worst stale cigarette smell in the world! I will never buy another piece of furniture that smells like that! But guess what, I didn't smell it before I bought it! You better believe I am sticking my nose in every piece of used furniture I buy from now on!! You can read about the buffet makeover here and here is the china cabinet.
I used a stain blocking primer and MANY coats of white paint. For the record, I will never paint another china cabinet..... We removed the backing in hopes of removing the odor and letting it air out. It sat in my garage for months while I tried all the odor removing remedies I could find. The odor improved but I keep air fresheners in the cabinet just in case :) The back was replaced with crisp white bead board and I sprayed the hardware with oil rubbed bronze paint, I bought clear glass knobs for the drawers.
No the best side by side, but you get the idea!
This is where I started.
See all the pretty 1970s detail!!
I chose to remove the extra trim on the doors to make it looks less heavy and dated. I also filled in the holes and moved the pulls.