Emily / Relentless Furniture
Emily / Relentless Furniture
  • Tutorial Team
  • South Milwaukee, WI

Updating a Nightstand With Milk Paint

9 Materials
4 Hours

I got this old nightstand for free! It was clearly I rough shape - layers of dirt and spiderwebs, scratches, peeling paint, old stickers. Yuck. I had recently purchased some Rustoleum Milk Paint for the first time (it was on sale!). I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to see how well Rustoleum's milk paint worked on old furniture.

updating a nightstand with milk paint

This is where the makeover began. This old nightstand had chipping paint, stickers that wouldn't come off, and stains in the drawer. Obviously, the first step was cleaning!

updating a nightstand with milk paint

I wanted to stain the top so I did a thorough sanding - first with 80 grit, to get all the paint off and then I went over it a second time with 120 grit sandpaper. The second sanding really cleared off anything that remained and smoothed it out nicely. I wasn't worried about seeing the wood grain in the rest of the nightstand so I just did a quick sand with 120.

updating a nightstand with milk paint

The first coat of the Rustoleum milk paint goes on fairly thin so I new immediately that I was going to need two coats. The finish is matte and textured with brush strokes. If you wanted the old chipped paint, vintage look, a little sanding would definitely get you the look you desire. I wanted a full coverage, matte, textured look so this product worked great for this nightstand.

updating a nightstand with milk paint

I covered the top with Minwax Jacobean stain - I've used this stain many times and I absolutely love the color. After the first coat completely dried, I added a second coat to darken the color. The second coat also help hide any blemishes.

updating a nightstand with milk paint

When the second coat of stain was dry, I protected the top with Varathane semi-gloss polyurethane. I did two coats with for extra protection and shine.

Sidenote: I bought this for another project that is for outdoor use so this polyurethane is for exterior projects, but it really gave this nightstand a great shine.

updating a nightstand with milk paint

I sealed the rest of the nightstand with a furniture wax from Michael's. I would brush on the wax and wipe off any excess with a clean rag. Once the whole piece was covered, I let the wax cure for 24 hours and then gently buffed everything with a clean, soft cloth.

updating a nightstand with milk paint

I also scrubbed and painted the drawer handle with a Rustoleum hammered spray paint in the color Chestnut.

And here is the final look!

updating a nightstand with milk paint

Before and After

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