Before and After: Painted Nightstands

So, full disclosure: I had a really tough time with these side tables. Not because they were particularly difficult, but because I never really had a vision for them. I knew I wanted this pair of side tables to sit on either side of the bed in my bedroom. But I wasn't really sure what I wanted them to look like, and more than that, I struggled to envision a finish that would even look good.

But I wanted these tables done, so I started the project anyway. The two nightstands were clearly a matching set (from Ethan Allen, if the stamp inside the drawers is to be believed,) but one had been painted by the prior owner at some point in time.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

The other was still the original, highly glossed "walnut."

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

I figured that by stripping the painted nightstand, I could see what was underneath, and decide what to do from there. So I started there.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

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Part 1: Stripping the Painted Nighstand

I used Citri-Strip to strip the table. This is the third or fourth time this year I've stripped a piece of furniture, and I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. I start by applying a thick layer of stripper, covering the paint stripper with plastic wrap as soon as I've finished a section.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

Then I work my way around the piece, section by section applying the paint stripper and plastic wrap.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

Once the piece is completely covered, I let it sit for at least 30 minutes (sometimes longer if I get distracted!) 

Then I remove the plastic wrap one section at a time, scraping the paint stripper off as a go I with a plastic putty knife. In this case, there was still a fair amount of finish remaining after my first go around, so I repeated the process to get everything (paint and original finish) off.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

Once most of the paint and finish is removed, I clean up the piece with mineral spirits and Scotch-Brite scouring pads. The mineral spirits unstick the paint/stripper combo, and the scouring pad scratches it off the piece. I tend to go through a bunch of scouring pads, but I buy them in bulk at Sams Club, so I don't feel too bad about that.

After a ton of work, the table looks like this:

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

I don't like it. And by that, I mean I carried it into the bedroom, stuck it in place, and decided it was way too dark for room. But the thought of sanding down all those crevices to remove the walnut stain (twice!) was too much. So guess what I did? I painted it. Yes, right after I'd spent a day stripping the paint off. Talk about depressing.

Part 2: Finishing the First Table

I mixed some leftover white chalk paint with some beige latex paint to get an "antique white" color. If you hang around here for any amount of time, you'll come to realize I'm not a fancy paint person. I'm a "get the right color without having to buy new paint" kind of person. It hasn't burned me yet!

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

I left the top and drawers natural, to create what has to be a completely overdone, two-toned look. Obviously, you haven't seen enough of these, so here's another one:

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

I didn't totally hate it, so I decided it was good enough. Also, there was no way I was stripping the table again, so this would have to do.

Part Three: The Second Table

Since this time I knew what I was aiming for, the project went a lot faster. I only stripped the top and drawers of the glossy finish:

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted
Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

Then painted the rest of the piece with my chalk/latex paint mixture. It looks... just like the other table.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

I did put some furniture wax on both tables to protect them from damage. It's fancy Miss Mustard Seed stuff that I found in at my local Habitat for Humanity Restore... full price, it's crazy expensive, and I'm kind of sad that I like it since I don't know what I'm going to do when I run out of the cheap thrift-store jar. But that's a problem for another day.

Final Thoughts

These tables are fine. They are exactly like every other two-toned side painted nightstand you've ever seen on Pinterest.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

I'm pretty neutral about them in the space, actually. I'm not going to proclaim my love for them. Shocking, right? Isn't that what bloggers are suppose to do? Proclaim how much they love their projects, and convince you to try it too?

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

Meh, not today. Like I said, they're fine, I guess. Even bloggers have off projects. Maybe someday I'll come up with a real vision and redo these tables. In the meantime, if you've never seen a two-toned painted nightstand, or more likely, never seen a blogger post a project they didn't love, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again later!

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