Vintage Mahogany Nightstand Makeover

11 Materials
12 Hours

This dark and dreary set of nightstands was destined for something better! We found these on Marketplace and knew they could have a beautiful new look after some much needed attention.

Structurally they were sound, but cosmetically they needed cleaning and sanding so that is where we started. We used Krud Kutter to clean and make sure to use a small toothbrush to get in between the twists of the legs.

Then we used our Surfprep sander that has a flexible sanding pad, perfect for those barley twist legs to sand each nightstand.

We then used some wood filler to fill in the old hardware holes since each drawer originally had two pulls, and we wanted to go with one per drawer for the new look.

There were a few areas on the body that needed more than just scuff sanding with a 220 grit, so on those areas we used 80, then 120, then 150 then back up to 220. We then removed all sanding dust with a tack cloth.

Knowing this is mahogany, a primer was applied to minimize the likelihood of bleed through. We used the spray can of Zinsser oil based primer and applied two coats, lightly sanding in between each one.

Then it was time for the base coat. We had originally planned on spraying the base coat with my paint sprayer so had taped off the drawers with the genius tape/plastic from 3M. We ended up using one one of our favorite brushes, the Zibra Round brush to hand paint the drawers and body in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Country Grey for the base coat. We brushed on two layers, making sure to vary the brush strokes since it would help achieve texture, especially for the next step.

We then stippled the next color called Original (which is just dabbing your paint brush onto the surface you are painting rather than using strokes) and while it is still wet, using a paper towel for extra texture.

We started that step by crumpling up a clean sheet of paper towel into a tight ball.

Then we opened it, making sure not to smooth out any crinkles that had formed. The crinkles are the good part.

Once the paper towel is open, we pushed it onto the wet painted surface and then pulled it right back up. See it happen right here.

Here is a close up of the drawer once the paper towel was lifted. We continued that process over the entire piece. It took a while, but the result was worth it.

Next we used a gorgeous pearlescent glaze to bring a touch of shimmer to the piece and to highlight some of the details. We used out Zibra angled sash brush to fit into those turns and twists.

Then we measured the drawers for the new hardware and drilled holes. Before attaching the new hardware, we used a flat top coat (three coats lightly sanding with 600 grit in between each) to protect and seal all that hard work. We then attached the new hardware.

On the drawer faces we dry brushed the glaze to get a touch of shine. Dry brushing is just making the tips of your paintbrush wet, then taking off most of what was just put on so there is only a hint of glaze left on the brush.

We then used some 220 grit sandpaper to lightly distress some of the edges and used a tack cloth to remove the dust.

Here is the final look. Completely updated and in style.

Resources for this project:

See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Loretta Loretta on Feb 23, 2021

    What are the knobs made of and could they be painted using the same technique?

  • Jean Jean on Feb 23, 2021

    If you used an oil base primer, don’t you have to use oil paint on the furniture? It’s my understanding water based paints won’t adhere to oil base. My art teachers say never use water base over oil.

  • Cindy Cindy on Jul 19, 2021

    Can you do this on a wall?


Join the conversation

2 of 61 comments
  • Gail Sisson Gail Sisson on May 13, 2021

    Having lived with Mahogany furniture all my growing up years and rimu and kauri in my older years I am loving painting all my furniture now in white and distressing it. Also have a couple of cabinets yellow on outside and purple inside. green two tone walls and white doors not a sign of wood left and lots of colour with quilts and couch etc. Obviously gone colour mad in my older years LOL

  • Ann Stough Ann Stough on Nov 12, 2021

    You ruined beautiful antique side tables!