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Giving New Life to Old Nightstands

7 Jun

Yes, you can paint laminate furniture! That’s the moral of the story today.

You might remember the following photo from my blog earlier this week that covered how I redecorated our guest bedroom for minimal cost. I moved the large dresser and matching side table to another bedroom and wanted a pair of matching nightstands for this bedroom, instead. Little did I know how difficult it is to find two matching nightstands, secondhand, of course. I wanted something I could refinish.


After scouring, I finally ran across these lovelies (Sorry for the terrible picture – this is actually what was posted in the ad. And there are two of them. And it’s the only true “before” picture that I have.):


I thought they had an interesting shape, and I liked how they were open with just the one shallow drawer. The ad said they were solid wood, and that was good enough for me because I was planning to sand them down and restain them. I bought them for $30 for the set.

Then I brought them home and started sanding them down a bit. I quickly realized that while they LOOKED like solid wood, the tops were laminate. Boo.

New plan? White paint. I was a tad concerned about that laminate top, though, because I didn’t want it to chip or peel off. Soooo…like I tend to do, I researched, and researched some more. All sorts of other blogs told me that I could paint laminate, so I went full speed ahead.

First, I sanded down the top with my electric sander and a nice, rough, 80 grit sandpaper.

Next, I removed the knobs because I wanted to replace them with wide, brushed nickel handles to better fit the shape of the drawer. I filled the knob holes with wood putty and planned to drill new holes. The drawers look lighter here because I sanded them down after filling the holes to get a smooth finish.


Then I got the best, stickiest primer I could find:


Let’s call it the stinkiest primer too. That oil-based stuff is potent! I put two coats on both nightstands for good measure (the nice part about oil-based primer is that you can recoat in about an hour), then followed up with two coats of off-the-shelf white latex paint.

And here’s a lesson learned the hard way – for flat surfaces that you want to paint smoothly, use a small sponge roller instead of a paintbrush. I brushed on my first coat of paint, then realized I could see the brush strokes. So, I rolled on the next coat and that helped a ton.

Back to that laminate top. I was still a little nervous about scratches and chips, so I pulled out my favorite top coat (Minwax water-based polycrylic in semi-gloss) and threw on a couple of coats just on the top.


Voila! Done – and no chips yet. Honestly, the tops seem like Fort Knox to me so far. That polycrylic really did the trick. DSC_0442


Here’s a reminder of the “before” so you don’t have to scroll to the top.


So go ahead – don’t be scared. Paint that laminate. Anyone have any laminate pieces that they’ve painted? How have they held up? I’d love to hear your comments below. Thanks for reading!


Kitchen Situation

8 Jan

Wow! Sorry for the blogging hiatus. The holidays just sort of took over and I hadn’t had much time to work on projects. However, I am up and running again and things are heating up around here (i.e. I’m doing lots of projects with lots in the hopper)! Stay tuned later this week – I have a fun, new, very unique furniture redo that is nothing like I’ve ever done before!

Back to the task at hand. A few months ago I decided to repaint our kitchen…for the third time. Back when Ryan first bought the house (upwards of 7 or 8 years ago) and we were playing the friend game, I helped him paint the kitchen a sort of celery green because, well, I love to paint. Here’s a throwback from that painting project (I was so young!):

sarah painting2

And note those horrid gold knobs in the picture above. I changed each of the 41 knobs in our kitchen to oil-rubbed bronze knobs back when I painted it the second time (see next photo). Anyway, the previous green color lived in the kitchen until shortly before we married, when I absolutely HAD to repaint. I was feeling the whole brick red thing, and I liked the way it looked with the oak-colored wainscoting.




However, my tastes have changed. First of all, with the honey oak floors, the honey oak cabinets, and honey oak wainscoting…that’s a lot of honey oak. I just wanted to break it up a bit. Plus, three years is enough time for a paint color…right? 🙂

First, I decided to paint the wainscoting white. I am planning on repainting all the trim in our house white (yes, I know I’m crazy), so I thought I’d start with the kitchen. The wainscoting is actually a laminate, so I absolutely had to prime it to make sure the paint stuck to it. Then, I put two very substantial coats of off-the-shelf white paint (I used Olympic no-VOC primer and Base 2 paint in a semi-gloss – I’ll be using the same for the trim throughout the house).




I didn’t worry about being careful along the edge because I knew I’d be repainting anyway.

I was really, really liking the look of the white, and it has given me the courage to continue throughout the rest of the house.

Next came the wall paint. I wanted something very light and airy, so I went with Wythe Blue by Benjamin Moore. I used a flat, no-VOC paint (also Benjamin Moore). I normally use satin, but I wanted to try something with just a little less sheen.



Yep, I’m liking the direction this is going. And look how different it is from that brick red with honey oak wainscoting! It’s crazy how paint has made the kitchen feel so different. However, I do have to do some new decorating work. The mirror on the wall – which I LOVED at one point – clearly does not fit with the new paint. It just needed to look more fresh and light. Nothing a little spray paint can’t fix.



It looks a little pink in the photo, but it is actually kind of a copper color. It’s called Sparkling Canyon by Krylon. I like it – at least for now. I wasn’t ready to get rid of the mirror, so its life has been extended indefinitely.

Here’s a few other new additions – rugs from Pier One Imports, a stainless steel sink, and bright curtains that I sewed.


The fabric is from JoAnn’s, and I basically just made two big rectangles and attached them to the rod with ring clips. I’m not 100% sure about my fabric choice, but I wanted to bring in some other colors besides the light greenish-blue. The nice thing about these curtains is that to change them won’t cost much – perfect for a mind-changer like myself!


I don’t have a picture of the valance that was previously above the sink (that was pre-blog so I didn’t think ahead), but it was similar to this gem that was literally held up with paper clips and stick pins. I have different plans for the big, front window (you can be sure I’ll blog about it).


Now, about that sink…I am apparently at the age where I ask for kitchen sinks for Christmas. My lovely, handy husband delivered…literally…he bought and put the sink in while I was out one afternoon! Our previous kitchen sink was white, and I’m not sure what it was made out of but it.showed.everything. Pots left black scrapes, and it always looked dirty and dingy in general. In short, I’ve hated it for years. To get it to look NOT gross, I had to clean it often with either Soft Scrub or baking soda. Here was our sink before:


An awesome “during” photo (I’ve trained Ryan well – he photographs a project if he thinks I might blog about it): IMG_0572

Ahhh…so beautiful: IMG_0686

Okay, well that’s it for now. My next kitchen plans involve creating a window covering for the large front window and adding some DIY art in a lonely, blank corner (I couldn’t reuse or refurbish the décor that was over there so I’ll just come up with something new!).

I’m so, so excited to show you all my next furniture redo. And it’s not even for me! It’s a little thing I like to call…my first official sale. 🙂 Stay tuned…and thanks for reading, as always.