How to Take a Nightstand from Ugly to Stunning

How to Take a Nightstand from Ugly to Stunning

How to take a nightstand from ugly to stunning?  This guest bedroom had a too small for the space nightstand and lamp.  It was something we’d had for awhile.  The current nightstand wasn’t working and the lamp was tiny and didn’t look right in the space.

I had refinished a nightstand for a different room and loved the way it looked. I wanted to refinish a matching set the same way.   

Finding the Perfect Nightstand

For the first nightstand I did a little Goodwill shopping trying to find the perfect nightstand.  There were a few options but nothing that really spoke to me.

I finally decided to look at Deseret Industries and found the perfect nightstand.  It was a Broyhill nightstand, wood and in decent shape.  

Refinished Broyhill nightstand

Looking for a Set of Nightstand

I wanted to find a matching set.  I looked on craigslist and Offerup but didn’t find anything I wanted. 

We decided to look at Deseret Industries again.  I couldn’t believe what I found.  An exact match to the one I had recently purchased and refinished plus another one I love.

Matching nightstand from Deseret Industries

I found a set of nightstands at the same place, at different times and from different homes.  I couldn’t believe how lucky that was.  The second one was in worse shape then the first one I found but nothing a little cleaning, sanding, staining and paint cant fix.  

Steps to Sand the Nightstands

Because the nightstands we found were wood and good quality I was able to sand them and start fresh.

  • Step 1  I’m staining top so I sanded to raw wood for the stain.  I used my Black and Decker mouse sander and course grit sand paper to remove the finish and existing stain.  
  • Step 2  The bottom portion was going to be painted.  It doesn’t need to be sanded to raw wood.  Just roughed up so the paint will stick.
  • Step 3 Removing the saw dust is key for a nice finish.  I use blue shop towels to wipe off the saw dust.  I use the air tank with a spray nozzle to blow off as much sawdust as possible.
  • Step 4 Use a wire brush and go over all areas of the sanded nightstand.  This gets in the grooves and removes the trapped in sawdust.  You will be surprised what gets loosened.
  • Step 5 Wipe the nightstand again with a blue shop towel.

Here are the links to the Black and Decker mouse sander, Scott blue shop towels and Wire Brush.  

sanded Broyhill nightstand purchased from Deseret Industries

    sanded broyhill nightstand from Deseret Industries

    Steps to Stain the Top of a Nightstand

    After the top of the nightstand was sanded to the raw wood and saw dust removed it is ready to my new favorite stain combination.

    • Step 1 Condition the top of the nightstand with Varathane wood conditioner.  Because I’m working on a small surface I can condition the whole top before wiping off with a blue shop towel.
    • Step 2  Using a disposable foam brush paint on the wood conditioner.  Wait just a minute and wipe off with a blue shop towel.  You will be able to tell when you’ve wiped it enough
    • Step 3  Because real wood isn’t consistent I have noticed some places where the conditioner didn’t soak in as much.  If you see areas that need a little more conditioner because it looks different then the rest of the wood add a little more conditioner wait just a minute or two and wipe off.  
    • Step 4  According to the directions on the Varathane conditioner can you need to wait a couple hours before staining.  After the appropriate time apply Varathane White Wash.  Paint on with a disposable foam brush.  Cover the entire surface if you’re working with a small piece like a nightstand.  If you’re doing a long dresser or desk work in sections.  Let the applied white wash sit for a couple minutes then wipe off with a blue shop towel.
    • Step 5  After the white wash has set for the appropriate time as directed on the can apply the final stain color.  For these nightstands I chose special walnut.  Paint on with a disposable foam brush wait a couple minutes and wipe off with a shop towel.
    • Step 6  If a darker color is desired repeat step 5

    Here are the links to the Varathane Wood Conditioner, White Wash, Special Walnut Stain and Disposable foam brushes.

      Painting the Nightstand

      I am ready to paint the nightstands. 

      • Step 1  To start remove the drawers.  The drawers are easier to paint standing on the ground and the nightstand frame is a lot easier to paint without the drawer.  

      The nightstand has been sanded, wiped clean and ready to go. 

      • Step 2  Choose your color of choice.  I used Sherwin Williams color Dover White but purchased the paint from Home Depot.  I am really happy with the Behr line of paint.

      The key to getting a beautifully finished nightstand is using a foam roller as much as possible. 

      • Step 3  Paint the nightstand and drawers.  You will need to use a paint brush for corners and along the edge the meets with the top but I like to use a roller so you don’t have brush strokes.

      It doesn’t look great after the first coat of paint but don’t fear with each additional coat it will look so pretty.

      • Step 4  These nightstands required 3 coats of paint.  Repeat step 3 until you get the beautiful finish you are after

      Staining and Painting a Broyhill Nightstand

      Staining and painting a nightstand

      painting and staining a nightstand

      The Final Step to Take a Nightstand from Ugly to Stunning

      • Final Step  Adding new hardware is the final step to making a ugly nightstand stunning.  Find something that works with your design style.  I found these glass knobs at Home Depot.  They make these nightstands looks amazing.  

      They are so easy to install because I used the same hole as the previous knob.

      Newly refinished nightstand

      refinished nightstand

      I loved Taking these Nightstands from Ugly to Stunning

      How to take a nightstand from ugly to stunning?  These are the simple steps.  It really doesn’t take a lot of time but the results are worth the effort.

      Whether it’s a nightstand you already own, you find one at a garage sale or Goodwill store it doesn’t matter.  They are fun to refinish and make new and amazing.

      Check out the nightstands and dresser I refinished for my son and daughter in law.  They required a little more work but looked stunning.  See them here.  

      Decor to the Door

      Having a beautiful piece of furniture in a guest room is a perfect space for some fun and unique decor.  Check out the products at Decor to the Door.  You will definitely find something that would look great on a beautifully refinished nightstand.


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      I am passionate about cultivating home. Whether you like DIY, design, decor or organization I want to help you cultivate the best home for you. One space and step at a time. Small simple to maintain changes with big results.