Vintage Washstand Makeover

2 Materials
4 Hours

I love a good thrift store find. If I wanted to live alone, I would probably bring something home every weekend. Can you read between the lines...?

I found this beauty last weekend and was shocked it hadn't been snatched up. The wood was solid, no veneer, the top only had a few scratches and it was sturdy. This washstand was coming home with me.

I had already removed the towel bar that went between the two pieces on the back. That was to make sure it didn't break in the car.

I have to say, as pretty as it was I wanted to give it a little update and add some color. I have been eager to try Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint in Collard Greens. I have seen it used online and it's such a beautiful green.

Green is my favorite color and this is no exception, it's not a hunter green, it's softer, I am terrible at explaining but trust me it's beautiful.

I didn't want to make drastic changes so I decided to keep much of the wood unpainted. I also tried to update the hardware but what I tried just didn't look right so I stuck with the pulls that came on it.


So what is a washstand and why are there so many different kinds? They were prominent in homes before indoor plumbing. They went out of favor in the early 1900's. They date further back, but were most popular in the 1800's and early 1900's.

They lived in bedrooms and held the same importance as a Hoosier cabinet in the kitchen.

My mom had one in her house and it was a more delicate looking piece that really couldn't serve double duty as anything other than a washstand. Here is a picture below:

The one I found can certainly do double duty as an end table, nightstand or perfect for inside a front door to drop keys, outgoing mail and store a few items inside.

Washstands got larger as time went on and the latest ones had marble tops. That's a good way to know the age. Many will have a hole where a bowl would sit and most had the holder for a towel on the back or sides.

The majority were made from a sturdy oak, mahogany, rosewood or walnut. Because of their versatility, they are still sought after antiques. Yay me.


Step 1I completely removed the towel rack and bars holding that in place.

Step 2The next thing I did was to clean up the piece. It had a few scratches on top and after cleaning I saw a little wax mark on the top also. I removed the drawers and they were very dusty and a little moldy. I used my White Lightning in a spray bottle to wipe down and clean the piece all over.

Step 3My next step was to sand, I wanted to see if the scratches would come out, so using a very fine sandpaper and an orbital sander, I went to work. The scratches came right out on top, this was important as I was going to keep this part natural.

I removed the hardware from the drawer and sanded that as well to keep the look similar.

I removed the doors and sanded them as well. There were no scratches but I wanted the wood to look the same.

Step 4I began to paint the sides, legs and front between the drawers and doors using Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint in Collard Greens. This still left the majority of the front wood and that's the look I wanted.

This was just enough to give it more character.

Step 5This was my first time using Dixie Belle Howdy Do Hemp Oil, I added a little to the top and with a lint free rag, and rubbed it in. I waited a few hours and then re-applied to the top, doors and drawers. It soaked in and gives it a rich and beautiful look. Not sticky, tacky or shiny.

Look at the top's beautiful.

Step 6I added a second coat of paint, it really didn't need it, the coverage was great but I decided to give it a quick second coat for good measure, easy to do when the piece is so small.

Step 7I worked on shining up the hardware, I tried a few other knobs and pulls but didn't love them. I did replace the round knobs on the bottom. I had old brass ones from my mom's china cabinet that I polished.

This would still be easy to update more if you prefer different hardware. Since I was not painting the drawers, I had to use the existing holes. I wasn't going to fill them, stain them and change the look of the wood.

Step 8I painted the bottom inside of the cabinet, it was a little rough looking. Then added paper to the inside of the drawers.

Step 9I put everything back together and applied a coat of Dixie Belle Clear Wax to the painted parts. I used a lint free rag to wipe it on instead of a brush then waited a bit and using a new towel, buffed it. This was such an easy wax to apply.

COMPLETEHere she is all done. What do you think? It would be easy enough if you wanted to add the back supports and towel racks - but for me, I'm leaving them off.

I hope you enjoyed my little makeover of this vintage washstand. It was a fun easy flip and now I can no longer procrastinate on the wardrobe waiting for me in the living room.

The changes are subtle but I like them.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog, consider subscribing so you don't miss a post. I love to share furniture flips, tablescapes, DIY decor and overall event inspiration.

XO, Regina

Here are links to the items I used for your convenience.

Collard Greens Howdy Do Hemp Oil Best Dang Wax ClearWhite Lightning Cleaner

This post is sponsored but the opinions and experiences are my own.

I have included affiliate links for your convenience and I receive a small commission if you purchase from a link at no additional cost to you.

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Regina @ Saved From Salvage
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Frequently asked questions

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  1 question
  • B.s53650613 B.s53650613 on Nov 11, 2021

    Why did you put wax on the finished project? The paint job did not look like it needed any additional protection?


Join the conversation

4 of 22 comments
  • Angela Eberhard Angela Eberhard on Nov 15, 2021

    Very inspiring! Classy redo ! I’m subscribing for more. Thank you

  • Amy3721795 Amy3721795 on Nov 16, 2021

    Love the make over. May I ask what your wall color is?

    I have been looking at off whites and going blind. Your floors are the same as mine and your room looks welcoming, while mine is dreary.

    Lovely project!


    • Flipturn Flipturn on Nov 20, 2021

      Amy, Here is the wall color. Keep in mind though that almost any paint can be tinted any color. All counters where paint is sold should now have the cross-reference numbers between paint companies, either hard copy or on-line.