Nightstand Niptuck


What a Deal!

A solid wood nightstand for $15?! I haven’t been in this furniture buying business long, but I’d call that bargain! Real wood (not the cheap particle board stuff) is durable, and once it’s stripped down to its original form, the revamping possibilities are endless! I of course scoured Pinterest to find ideas on how to give this little nightstand a makeover.

Stripped Down!

Stripping the varnish from this nightstand was way more time-consuming than I thought. I used Klean Strip Premium Stripper as I was attracted to the 15-minute time frame. What I didn’t take into account was that I would have to repeat the whole process multiple times because there were several stubborn layers.


The directions were straightforward: 1). Apply a liberal amount of product by brush to the surface 2). Allow it to sit for 15 minutes. 3). Use plastic putty knife to scrape away the old finish.

Step three of the stripping process was so satisfying! Sometimes the finish came off in little, frustrating pieces, and other times it coiled into the longest, most gratifying rolls.

Oh yea. That’s the good stuff.

I probably repeated the stripping process three times, brushing over the spots that still appeared to have a shiny varnish on it with each go-around. Finally, I gave up on the stripping chemical and used a hand-held power sander to get the last little stubborn pieces off.

Kyle stepped in to help when my hands and arms got tired.

Painting the Base!

After what seemed like hours- no wait, it actually was hours- the nightstand was stripped and sanded. A few bits of old, relentless varnish probably remained, but at this point I was over it. I briefly worried that not being diligent with the stripping step would somehow ruin the project, but then I equated it to cooking a recipe and omitting the 1/2 teaspoon of random spice-it can’t be that important. Besides, the best step of any DIY project is the one that provides the most visual alteration, and I was ready to see a big change.

Not getting too ahead of my impatient self, I did bother to apply a primer despite the fact that it would take an hour to dry. I used Kilz Primer and let it set while I watched HGTV’s Fixer Upper (yes…again). Finally with paint roller and brush on hand, I applied Glidden Premium Interior Paint in Earthy Gray.


Staining the Drawers!

I love two-toned anything! Kitchen cabinets, purses, decorative pillows, and now furniture pieces! I wouldn’t describe my style as plain (I don’t care for that word’s connotation), but I admit that I shy away from overly colorful things and ornately crafted patterns. Color schemes containing two hues that are so perfectly contrasted and beautiful add interest without being garish. More colors, more problems (at least for me).

With a grey base, I originally intended on painting the drawers white. It’s clean and classic, and the neutral color combination can fit just about anywhere. However, before I could get the paint on the brush, my brother-in-law saw the nightstand in progress and said he wanted it for his bedroom. I expressed my intention of painting the drawers white, and he vetoed the idea. He then suggested I leave the wood it’s current color (completely stripped with no stain), and I vetoed that idea. It needed something- although I did see his point in featuring the wood’s grain. We compromised on whitewashing the drawers to lighten the wood’s color while still showcasing the grain.


I used Minwax Wood Stain White Wash Pickling.

  • First I used a brush to paint on the stain (with the grain).
  • Once the the drawer was covered, I let the stain set for about 10 minutes. Because this is a water based stain, it dries somewhat quickly, so I didn’t want to leave it for too long.
  • I then used a clean cloth and worked the stain into the grain in circular motions.
  • Finally, I wiped the excess stain with the cloth (going with the grain).


Putting the Pieces Together!

For the finishing touch, I added hardware (purchased at Home Depot) to not only make the drawers easier to open but to add an appealing aesthetic. I made sure to have Kyle drill the holes for the hardware before staining the drawers.





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