DIY Shabby Chic Nightstands

Hello lovely friends!
As promised, my first DIY instructional! I promise you, not all my projects are this labor intensive. I’m lazy.

When we first moved into the house in Jacksonville, we literally had no furniture. Nothing. My random collection of furniture was all still in Memphis, and we ended up waiting an entire month on a military funded move because some lady in some office screwed up all our paperwork.

I digress. During this time, I learned the ways of the magnificent world of Craigslist. Now, as a disclaimer, I must warn you that their are some strange people on there. Hopefully you have decent enough judgement to weed out the crazies from the good stuff (They want $30 for a broken CD player? Come on!).

I knew I wanted a unique pair of nightstands for our master bedroom, and most certainly was not going to pay $99 a piece to get them. Not even $50. I had every intention of finding two totally different pieces and then painting them to match. Plans change.

After several days of Craigslist browsing, I came upon a matching pair of Ethan Allen nightstands. These little beauties were banged up, scratched, and missing some knobs. Perfect! And the best part? $10 a piece!

The way the drawers were carved to look like 6 little ones instead of 2 big ones (like a card catalog!) made me want to paint them to emphasize that feature. I wanted them to pop, so instead of painting the whole thing and distressing it, I decided to paint only the drawers and to sand and restain the rest.

What You’ll Need
Thrifty nightstand find (try or your local Goodwill)
Screwdriver for removing/adding knobs
– Sandpaper I used 60 grit and 120 grit
– Sanding block ($4 at Walmart) OR electric sander (as low as $20 at Walmart)
– Wood stain
– Paintbrush
– Latex interior paint
– Polyurethane
– Painter’s tape

Step 1
Take all hardware (knobs) off of the drawers and pull the drawers out.
Mine didn’t have all the knobs. I stored them in a Ziploc bag.

Step 2
Sand the finish away (with the wood grain) This will go very quickly if you use an electric sander, though I took the long way and used a sanding block and 60 grit sandpaper plus a bit of elbow grease. Coarser is fine if necessary.

I wasn’t very concerned with getting every bit of finish off. Quite a bit got left on the legs, actually, but this only adds to the shabby look we are going for!

Step 3
Sand again lightly, using 120 grit. This prepares the wood for staining.

Step 4
Stain the wood.
I used Minwax’s “Special Walnut” and applied using an old paintbrush.


Please do this outdoors. I learned the hard way that there is no such thing as low fume when it comes to wood staining. You will get a massive headache and possibly worse if it is not properly ventilated. It is very dangerous. My husband had a coach who died from this.

Step 5
Paint your drawers.
Since I wanted to emphasize the drawers’ detail, I waited for the stain to dry then cut painter’s tape into thin strips and placed in between the little boxes. Then I painted them using a satin coral latex interior paint from Walmart and let them dry overnight.

Step 6
I used my coarse grit sandpaper to scratch up the paint on the drawers and make them look worn around the edges and knob holes.

Step 7
Spray with a couple coats of Polyurethane. This will seal and protect your project.


I used Minwax Fast Drying in a spray can.

Step 8
Put your hardware back on!


Since mine were missing some knobs, I picked up a pack of drawer knobs from Target. They have some adorable ones! I mixed them with the existing knobs.

Ta da!




Hope you enjoyed my little project!
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s project!


One thought on “DIY Shabby Chic Nightstands

  1. Hi just wanted to give you a brief heads up
    and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.

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