The easiest, FREE DIY ever

I made over a nightstand for one the friends I mentioned in my last post. And really, it was the easiest DIY furniture makeover I’ve ever done. I almost feel bad, calling it a DIY furniture makeover, because there really wasn’t any degree of difficulty or skill to it, it was more just a matter of doing it. Which I guess in and of itself can justify it, because I know there are many people who wouldn’t be inclined to do it in the first place.

Anyhoo, I was driving through one of the nicer old neighborhoods last Sunday afternoon, when I spotted a pile of furniture with a “free” sign on it at the bottom of a driveway. In the pile was a nightstand. I knew my girlfriend was looking for a nightstand that wasn’t too big but had some storage. So I stopped to investigate. The nightstand seemed to be decently made, wood with dovetailed drawers, although someone had spray painted it maroon ( of all hideous colours!). It looked to be a mid-century modern piece from the 60’s or 70’s that was probably originally part of a bedroom set. It possibly could have been teak, which would account for the good craftsmanship, but I doubt it; and it would have been a crime for someone to pain it if it was! So, I grabbed it and threw it int he back of the car. I figured, hey, it was free, so worst comes to worst and she doesn’t like it, back to Goodwill it can go, no loss!

The nightstand “Before” in all it’s maroon glory:

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It was a bit scratched up, and hideously colored, but it had the good bones of solid wood construction, and the nice detailing of the rounded drawers and the rounded, tapered 60’s legs. Plus, great storage for a bedside table. And those dovetailed drawersIMG_1730

So, first things first, whenever you’re making over an older piece of furniture: prep first! It will make or break the end result. Give the piece a good cleaning;  to get rid of any buildup and really grimy spots. Then, if you are painting, give it a good sanding:

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Sanding evens out the surface for painting, gives the paint something to stick to,  and gives you an opportunity to attend to any little nicks or scratches, like these corners:

IMG_1735The corner of the original surface was chipped a bit, so sanding allows you to even out the rough edges so it blends in seamlessly. Sand first with a coarser sandpaper to eliminate any scratches or gouges, then with a fine grain sandpaper to smooth out the surface and any roughness the coarser paper may have created. Don’t just sand with a coarse sandpaper, as you will probably end up with little scratches all over that the paint will settle into and it wont result in a smooth paint finish. You can tell from the above photos what a coarse grain sandpaper does to the surface.

After you’ve sanded and are satisfied that the surface is smooth, give it another good wipe down to remove any dust that camp up from sanding. Then, paint away! I started by using  a can of Rustoleum Painters Touch in Glossy White that I had left over:


I started with the legs, as they are the hardest to get to, and I didn’t want to be trying to tilt back the piece to get at them after paining the rest of it.


Then I tackled the sides and top… its best to go slowly, but not too slowly so that the paint gets too thick and starts to drip down. Its better to do thin coats with the spray paint, and go back over it again later if it didn’t cover thick enough. And Voila! after the first coat:IMG_1742 IMG_1743 IMG_1744 IMG_1746

After letting the first coat dry, it seemed like the wood had really sucked up a lot of the paint; in the above photo, you can see how the paint was sucked down into the grooves of the wood, instead of filling them in and sealing them with a thick, glossy coat. Sometimes, dry older furniture will do that, as will old walls,  just suck the paint right in, causing a need for many coats to get a glossy painted finish. So I decided to break out the regular paint and mini roller rather than doing a second coat with the spray paint; I didn’t think I had enough left int he can to really saturate the wood again. So trim paint it was:



You can see that the regular paint covered much thicker than the spray paint did. Spray paint can do wonders for some pieces, but it really depends on the condition of the surface you are painting, as I found with this piece. The regular trim & door paint ended up working much better, and providing that thick, glossy surface I was after: IMG_1762 IMG_1763And the finished product! As I said at the beginning, this wasn’t some amazing blow-your-mind-DIY project. But it is a good example of how a quick & easy coat of paint ( that you have lying around your house) can transform a piece of furniture and turn it from tired and dated to fresh and new.


And there you are! Pretty, new night stand for FREE!!  How can you beat that?!? My friend loved it, ( or at least said she did!)so double bonus! A bit risky, because I didn’t even text her a photo of it before, as I wanted to surprise her with it, but it worked out great!

What about you, any fresh-coat-of-paint furniture makeovers that gave new life to a piece? Leave a link to it in the comments, I would love to see them!

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