In the spirit of practicing my home improvement skills before it actually matters, I’ve rehabilitated our old nightstands! As with the kitchen bar cart, the rule was I could only use what we already had in the Garage of Wonders, making these essentially free projects. I knew I didn’t necessarily have a purpose in mind for these two end tables, and I didn’t particularly care if I messed them up. So my goal here was to make them pretty and then sell them on Craigslist.
I’m planning to use an antique finish technique on our kitchen table when I eventually get around to it, so I decided to practice that technique on the end tables. Before I explain the technique, take a look at the results.
I know right? I’m getting so much better at house blog photography! Oh, and the table looks cute too. I believe this look is known by trendy Pinteresters as “”””shabby chic””””.
Overall I think I went a little too heavy-handed with the antique finish, so I scaled it back for the next one, the night stand that used to be in our guest room. Here’s how it turned out.
It’s a little more understated, and I think the sage green paint works a little better than the white for this method. I also like how the wood grain is visible. Anyway, here’s the very basic instructions for how to get this effect with nothing but an orbital sander, paint of any color, and stain of any color:
- Sand the bejeezus out of every part of the wood, even those hard to reach little nooks and crannies.
- Paint it with your chosen paint color. Don’t worry too much about drips or uneven brush strokes.
- Wait for the paint to dry, then sand it again. You’ll want to judge for yourself how much of the paint you want to sand off, but in general just don’t hold the sander in any one spot for too long, and definitely don’t press down too hard.
- Rub stain in and immediately wipe away with a clean cloth. You want the stain to soak into the bare bits of wood you’ve just exposed with the sander and to collect in the nooks and crannies, but over the painted surfaces it should just leave the barest residue.
- Let it dry!
Drying times aside, this is an hour long project for something as small as these end tables. You can also mix it up like I did with the first table, and try pairing the antiquing technique with just straight staining on different parts of the piece. You might also consider sealing the whole thing with a wax sealant or a varnish if it’s going to get handled frequently (like kitchen cabinets or a dresser).
Oh and the best part? I’ve already sold one on Craigslist. Not bad for a free project that took me an hour!