I don’t know if you caught my new painted fabric bed frame tutorial, but I’ve been working on a bedroom refresh. Knowing our bedroom was about to be graced by the wonder of sage green furniture, I had to act quickly on the poor little thrifted end tables that had been plopped there months ago. It’s nightstand makeover time guys!
I had a love/hate relationship with these 2 tables. I couldn’t stand the sight of them, and yet I couldn’t bring myself to shop around for other nightstands. The built quality is clearly good but they were so mismatched – in shape, size, style, and EVERYTHING – I almost felt frozen when trying to think how to work on them.
The prospect of a sage green bed frame clearly liberated my creativity 😄 !! Read on to find how I brought these old nightstands into the 21st century.
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For this Nightstand Makeover, you’ll need…
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Step 1: Shorten the nightstands
I started with this pair of thrifted end tables that I had been meaning to deal with for a while. They were far too tall to fit in nicely next to the bed since we have a low bed that’s only around 18″ tall. The tallest one was at least 8″ taller than the top of the mattress. It doesn’t seem like much but it’s really inconvenient to reach for the table lamp switch or anything on the tabletop when it’s that high!
There was plenty to fix on these two babies. The color was way off. The satin sheen was just wrong. The drawer pull was caked in several generation’s worth of grime. The wooden top was stained with glass rings. And most importantly, they weren’t the same height. I find nothing wrong with 2 bedside tables of different heights, but in this particular case, it REALLY bothered me.
To harmonize these two mismatched nightstands, I wanted to bring them to the same height and match both paint color and wood stain. So the first order of business was cutting the legs short.
I measured the height of our mattress and added 1 or 2″ (2.5 to 5cm) to figure out the perfect height for the nightstands. I then measured from the top of the tables down the legs and created marks so I would know where to cut. Cutting is pretty straightforward, just keep a steady hand and saw in a straight line so you don’t end up with wonky legs!
Step 2: Sand & stain the tabletops
Once I had 2 similar-height nightstands, I fixed a few holes and broken corners with wood paste and let it dry before I started sanding off the tabletops. If you’re working with wood veneer, make sure you sand lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper. It’s far too easy to go through the veneer 😬
Wipe off the dust from sanding with a moist microfiber cloth and let the wood dry off before staining. I wanted a rich color to contrast the light paint color I chose so I used an oak gel stain.
When your wood stain has dried, brush on your favorite topcoat to protect the wood, there’s plenty of options to choose from! For these nightstands, I forecasted plenty of coffee mug spills and water stains, so I used a waterproof varnish for kitchen countertops!
Step 3: Paint the nightstands
For the paint job, I started off with a coat of white primer. I know, I know, there’s no need to prime with chalk paint but I had to cover DARK BLUE paint with the lightest rosy cream color! In total, I added 2 coats of chalk paint to achieve perfect coverage and banish the blue forever.
I also had a revelation while I was painting on the primer: the cube nightstand was, well, too cubey… So I added a little shelf in the middle – it was boyfriend-approved as at least 200% more functional that way 😄
And voila! I added a new gold drawer pull and painted the inside of the drawer with the same green I used on my bed. It’s a little hidden touch of color that just makes you smile 💚