If you have wood furniture, of any age, updating it to fit current styles and trends is as easy as sand-stain-and go – check out this gorgeous bedroom set update.
I sometimes take commissions – projects that friends ask me to do for them – where I charge for the labour and then post the before and afters on the blog. I don’t do it too often because I figure you guys would get tired of seeing nightstand after nightstand after nightstand and I want to be able to switch up projects to keep my interest piqued as well.
Factory-line makeovers are boring for everyone…
when a friend asked if I would a bedroom set update for their new apartment – and the pieces were/are solid wood – I couldn’t help but salivate at the thought of getting my hands on it.
Mike only needed the nightstands refinished – the dresser was in excellent condition – but because it isn’t easy to match a stain that has (possibly) had years of furniture polish applied to it and/or has been exposed to UV rays, I suggested refinishing all three pieces so that they matched.
Mike was onboard with a complete bedroom set update because he wanted a more current colour to go with his new condo.
*This post contains affiliate links. For more information please read the Amazon Associates disclosure in the side bar.
I usually start by sanding with my random orbit sander and a 120 grit sandpaper. I can quickly tell from there whether I need a stronger grit (for heavier layers of paint/poly/finish) without eating too far into the wood. I finish with a 220 grit for a baby-smooth finish. As it was, these babies cleaned up easily; I had both nightstands completely stripped (sanded down to bare wood) in 1 hour.
Turns out the entire bedroom set is made of walnut! (There was a tag inside one of the drawers, I’m no wood whisperer or anything. lol) Spectacular with no finish at all!
If you are using an oil-based stain, then this is the point where you’d apply a pre-stain wood conditioner. I liken it to dry skin – its dried out more in certain areas than others, but putting on a coating of moisturizer (pre-stain wood conditioner) will help hydrate everywhere and then your makeup will go on an even surface.
Can you tell I rarely wear makeup?
I used a water-based stain for this bedroom set update, so I was able to apply it to the bare wood and get an even coating. Would you believe one 12 oz. bottle covered the dresser and both nightstands? I’m crazy for SamaN stain!
Look at that grain! Drool-worthy!
I learn something on every project I do – sometimes with a hint or tip from online or a friend, and sometimes the hard way – after I’ve screwed up and have to start again.
This time it was a tip from a friend (whew!): when applying your top coat (varnish, polyurethane or whatever) paint it on and then lightly drag a foam brush over the surface to remove brush strokes.
This is absolutely brilliant and saves me so much work – I was putting on coat after coat of varnish and then sanding with 320 grit between each to get as smooth a finish as I could.
*Disclosure: I was provided with Varathane® Triple-Thick One Coat Clear Finish from Rust-Oleum® Canada for the purposes of showcasing its ease-of-use, product quality and overall durability and finish. This is a product I would purchase without hesitation and my opinion and endorsement are sincere.
For this refinishing job I was able to apply my Varathane Triple-Thick, smooth it with the sponge paintbrush, sand it once with 320 grit (once dry) and then finish with one more coat. The triple thick is the equivalent of 3 coats of varnish, so the bedroom set is totally protected – with about 6 coats – but with the application and dry time of two layers. I truly LOVE this stuff!
I’m not sure that my photos (sunny day) are giving the true colour of this bedroom set update – it actually came out closer to a dark chocolate than a milk chocolate.
Mike is going to add his hardware on at home, so I only have the “almost” updated bedroom set to show you – but I think you’ll agree it’s pretty gorgeous.
This bedroom set update took a grand total of 6 ½ hours to do (not including drying time).
For the products and materials I most commonly use – including on this project – please click below:
For dozens more awesome before and afters, check out my “Before & After” page.
Have a great one!