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How to Paint Wood Furniture – DIY Nightstand Makeover

DIY Nightstand Makeover with paint! This is my simple three-step process to paint wood furniture and breathe new life into thrifted pieces.

DIY Nightstand Makeover

I’ve been working on the dinosaur bedroom makeover for our youngest and found the cutest nightstand at Goodwill the other day. My goal was to keep this bedroom makeover as budget-friendly as possible. I found this little side table for $12! I seriously couldn’t believe it. Thrifting isn’t always the best in this area, but I walked in to Goodwill and there it was – right in the center aisle like it was waiting just for me.

DIY Nightstand Makeover before

Of course, it was cute as it was. But, up close, the finish was in pretty rough shape after many years of love. A quick refresh was just what it needed. Plus, this was the perfect way to add a pop of color next to the bed!

3 Steps to Paint Wood Furniture

It’s so simple to paint wood furniture, and is a great way to breathe new life into an old piece. I like to stick with three simple steps.

1. Clean & Scuff

There are some primers (and paint/primer combos) that claim you don’t have to sand ahead of time. However, I always at least lightly scuff up a piece of furniture before priming. This gives the primer a good, scratchy surface to stick to. I have skipped this step in the past and regretted it because the paint wasn’t nearly as durable and got scratched up or peeled. It does ok, but just not nearly as nice as the pieces I’ve taken the time to sand, which is a bummer after all that work. So, personally, I prefer to take the little bit of extra time to sand – better safe than sorry!

DIY Nightstand Makeover step 1

First, thoroughly clean the piece with soap and water. A lot of people recommend a degreaser like TSP, but I find soap and water works really well and I always have it on hand. Then, use 120 grit sandpaper to scuff all surfaces. If you use an orbital sander, lightly sand the surface. No need to worry about getting it down to bare wood. The goal is just to scratch the shiny surface to give the primer something to grip. If sanding by hand, make sure to go WITH the grain.

I used an orbital sander on the tabletop since it was quick. I sanded the legs by hand so I could get around all the spindles well.

2. Prime

Don’t skip the primer! Primer is the adhesive surface to bond your new paint to the old finish.

Once the piece is all scuffed up, wipe it down with a tack cloth or damp cloth to remove the dust. Then you’re ready to prime. Bullseye 123 is my go-to primer to paint wood furniture (they also have it in spray cans if you’re doing a small project and want to spray). Use a brush for the tight corners and then a trim roller to roll the rest. I love this Wooster Shortie Brush and these Foam Fine Finish Trim Rollers for all my painting projects.

DIY Nightstand Makeover step 2

The shop has been set up for painting the cabinets the last few weeks, so I went ahead and used my sprayer on this table. Normally, I would do something this size by hand with a brush and roller. However, if you’re looking for an affordable paint sprayer, I really can’t recommend the HomeRight Finish Max Pro enough. It’s supposed to be kind of an entry level, light-home-improvement type sprayer. But I just finished all the new cabinets for our kitchen renovation – every single interior and exterior surface with multiple coats – with this sprayer and it did AMAZING. I’ve had it for about 5 years and that is WAYbeyond what this sprayer was made for, but it did great. Probably one of the best $70 investments I’ve ever made for projects 😂

PS: the kitchen renovation is coming along!!! I can’t wait to show you guys how the cabinets turned out.

Anyhoo – back to the DIY nightstand makeover.

3. Paint

Once the primer is dry, you’re ready for paint! I recommend two coats of paint for full coverage. Sometimes you can get away with one. But, again, I’m a better-safe-than-sorry sort of furniture refinisher and always go with two coats for great, full color and durability.

DIY Nightstand Makeover step 3

I painted this nightstand in one of my favorite soft green colors – Sherwin Williams Retreat (SW 6207). I’ve used this paint so many times! Most notably in our bathroom renovation in our last house and a bookcase makeover for this same room when I turned it into a nursery:

  1. DIY Bathroom Vanity Makeover with SW Retreat
  2. DIY Amazon Bookcase Makeover with SW Retreat

It’s a beautiful soft green with slight blue-gray undertones.

DIY Nightstand Makeover

The bookcase sits at the front of the room and I love how this bedside table pulls the color across to the far end of the room by the bed.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. I’ve repainted countless furniture pieces using this 3-step process and each one has held up very very well. Taking the time to clean, scuff, and prime is 100% worth it for a solid final product!

Stay tuned for the full dinosaur room reveal coming at the end of the week!

| Tylynn |

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DIY Nightstand Makeover

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