Design, DIY

Giving Craigslist Furniture a Makeover


So, as promised, I want to show y’all this dresser I’ve been working on. A couple of months ago, I was browsing the free section of Craigslist and saw 2 matching antique dressers that were put to the curb.
These babies were in really bad shape, but I could see the good bones in them. One was a tall, narrow piece and the other short and wide. They both have an elegant curve in the middle and some of the original (what I thought was) brass hardware.
I rushed across town to get them in the truck. The family was out in the yard & helped us load them. They had many young children, and it looked like they had really put these dressers through the ringer. Many drawer pulls were missing, and the wood had been scratched, burned, drawn on, and ripped apart at the legs. Ouch!
But guess what?! FREE!
Nothing better than free. I didn’t have a place in the house for these lovelies, but I knew someone would want them, so they sat away in the garage until now!
After I showed them to my mother in law, she said she needed some more storage space, so I got to work!


First, I took all the hardware off and pulled all the drawers out.
Then, I sanded the finish off of all the drawers and lightly sanded the top of the dresser.


Next I got some Elmer’s stainable wood filler and filled in the places on the legs where some layers had been torn off and there were extreme imperfections. The goal here wasn’t to make it look new, as I planned a distressed look, but just to ensure that no further pieces would be coming off and make the surface a little more even for painting.
After all that dried, I sanded lightly again in the area where filler was used. I then used Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean the whole piece down, removing any dirt or dust from sanding.

Now the fun part!

I painted the outside of the dresser with homemade chalk paint. It’s so easy & cheap to make and use! Walmart carries gallon sized flat latex paint for $10. I mixed about 1 cup of that in Country White with about 1 tablespoon of non-sanded grout. I just eye it, I don’t bother getting paint on measuring spoons. You can buy non-sanded grout for $4 a container at Home Depot.


Anyway, I painted the dresser in 2 coats of the chalk paint (no priming needed.)
When it was entirely dry, I used my Black & Decker palm sander all over the top, edges, and sides to distress. I wanted this thing to have the charm of something treasured but well used through the years.




Then, I stained each drawer in Minwax’s Dark Walnut and quickly wiped it off before it got too dark.


While the stain dried, I picked a few of the original drop-handle drawer pulls that weren’t broken or cracked. They were super tarnished, so I soaked them in a mix of apple cider vinegar, water, and salt for about an hour. After that, the black gross stuff came right off with an old toothbrush.


When all was dry, it was time to seal. I lightly brushed clear Polyurethane on everything.
While that was drying, I had some minor repairs to do by gluing loose drawer tracks in place with Elmer’s wood glue.

For the final touch, I replaced the missing drawer pulls for all but the top drawer with some drawer pulls that were only about $1.30 a piece at Lowe’s. They came in silver and black. I bought the black ones and spray painted them with Rustoleum in Almond.



I think it turned out really beautifully. The rustic, chippy-paint look of the outside mixes well with the rich, deep color of the drawers. The mixed drawers pulls add a touch of character.



So, what do you think? I love it!


Updating Your Old, Gold-Framed Mirrors

Hello everyone!

I always hate throwing things away, even after they’ve long been outdated. I’m also too cheap to buy things I already have. This works out nicely.

I have a lot of old mirrors with unattractive frames, fake gold or plastic black. It’s really easy to sweeten them up with a little paint and add the perfect country chic touch to your home!

You’ll Need
– Painter’s tape
– Black paint
– Lighter colored paint
– Paintbrush

For this mirror, simply lay your mirror somewhere on a drop cloth or some newspaper to keep things from getting too messy.

Cover the mirror along the edges of the frame with painter’s tape.

Paint on your dark layer of paint. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Make it streaky.

Once that dries, paint on your lighter paint color. You are going to dip the tip of your brush in the paint, then wipe off as much excess as possible. Then drag your “dry” brush across the frame.

Doing this makes a light, distressed (streaky) effect. Keep doing this until you have achieved the look you want with as little or as much paint as you want.

You can choose whether or not to add a clear coat, but for me that is overkill.

I hope you like this quick little project! Enjoy!




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!