These days, furniture transformations abound around the web – and for good reason! Some elbow grease, paint, and creativity can go a long way from turning a curb-side castoff into an apartment treasure! With a wide variety of products now available on the market, almost any piece of furniture can be given a fresh life. Take this sad little bedside table that has been sitting in the corner of our house for years. It was a nice compact size and made of solid wood, so despite its rough appearance, I just couldn’t bring myself to drop it at the local thrift store.
I’m so glad I didn’t, because with the help of some paint, some small structural improvements, and four casters, it’s now a chic and sleek addition to our home office!
Not only do I love repurposing furniture from something I can’t use (a single, damaged bedside table) to something I can (a stylish home for our printer!), I also love to experiment with different techniques and ideas. For this makeover, I wanted to keep the design simple, but couldn’t help adding a subtle tone-on-tone design on the top and sides. It’s still neutral and sophisticated, but this fun detail helps it feel fresh and unique!
Every piece of furniture is unique and so are the various methods by which one can use to transform it. While you may not have this exact nightstand to make over, the process I use here can be applied to almost any transformation, so let’s get started!
I first started by examining the nightstand and figuring out how it was put together (so that I could determine how to pull it apart) to make some structural changes for both aesthetics and function. Then, I unscrewed and pried off the decorative wood frame along the bottom of the nightstand (bottom left). This gave me cleaner lines and a flat bottom to which I could adhere the casters. Next, I removed the skinny drawers from the base of the nightstand, as well as the tracks that were screwed in on the base of each shelf (bottom right). With these elements removed, I could then see that making these two drawer slots into shelves would be no problem at all (bottom center).
Next, I had the local home improvement store cut some ¾” plywood to fit the internal dimensions of the nightstand. I secured the shelves with wood glue and then puttied up all the raw edges, as well as all the dings and dents on the tops and sides, with wood filler. After several rounds of sanding, it was time for paint!
Here are the supplies I used to paint the nightstand: 1) Zinsser 123 Spray Primer for priming, 2) Sherwin Williams ProClassic Paint in Alabaster White mixed with some 3) Floetrol to reduce brush marks for the base coat, 4) Glidden Paint in Martha Stewart’s Cumulus Cloud for the stripes, 5) Rust-Oleum’s Clear Gloss for the final protective coat, all using 6) a disposable paint tray, a 2″ foam roller, a 1.5″ angled brush, and a small paint brush for the paint applications.
I started by priming the entire nightstand (inside and out) with the spray primer and giving it a light sanding with a sanding block. After wiping away all the dust, I gave the entire unit two coats of the ProClassic white paint, using the small roller and brushes.
Once my paint was fully dry, I taped off the striped pattern on the tops and sides. I started by making an “X” across the top of the nightstand. This initial “X” will only serve as a placeholder and will ultimately be removed before painting.
Next, I created the striped/triangle pattern in each section of the “X”. I first placed tape directly alongside the initial “X” (bottom left). I then used scraps of tape to serve as measurement markers for my next stripes (bottom center). I continued alternating sides, making sure the tape met at the points for each triangle (bottom right).
To clean up my points, I used a ruler and an X-acto knife to cut away the excess tape – be sure not to cut too deep or it will score your paint! I then repeated the same process in the other quadrants of the “X” until the entire top of the nightstand was taped out. Once all my tape was in place, I removed the tape from the original “X” (not shown).
To carry the stripes down the sides of the nightstands, I just extended stretches of tape down the entire stand starting at where the top stripes ended. Because the top stripes are on diagonal and the side stripes are straight up and down, it won’t line up perfectly. Fortunately, the under edge of the top lip is where the lines get a little misaligned, so they can’t really be seen!
With the tape securely in place, I gave the top and sides of the nightstand two coats of the Martha Stewart Cumulus Cloud using the small foam roller. After the second coat and while the paint was STILL wet (very important!), I carefully removed all the tape. I had no stretching paint or messy lines – success!
After the light grey paint dried overnight, I gave the entire nightstand a few coats of the clear glossy protective spray before flipping it over and installing the casters.
After everything cured for one more day, I brought the rolling cart in to its new home!
Talk about a perfect fit (which I of course tested before I even got started!). For the printer cord, I had to drill a hole in the back of the cart; but with the cord pulled through, the printer nestled right in!
The small shelves are the perfect height for holding paper, envelopes, photo paper, and extra ink cartridges! Such better functionality than those tiny drawers! And now, all of our printing, mailing, and filing supplies are in one compact and tidy spot!
Such a neat and useful transformation of an almost-castoff nightstand!
Not only can painting a piece of furniture give it new life, but some small structural tweaks can give it an entirely new function. Before you donate or trash a piece of furniture you have no use for, give it some thought to see if there is something, anything, you can do to make it work right and look right in your apartment!
Have you ever upcycled any furnishings for your apartment? Let ForRent.com know in the comments section!