How can I update my 80's bedroom furniture set?

Kristen Koors
by Kristen Koors

My grandparents gave me an 80s bedroom set that I want to repurpose for my 13 year old daughter. Has anyone updated large bulky oak furniture with a golden honey stain into something a teenage girl would like? I am thinking about a French country style, but not sure how to translate it to/cover up the 80s style. It has recessed wheat patterns that I think I can fill and add carved wood to cover that is more in line with French country. All suggestions are welcome!

  12 answers
  • Susan Susan on Aug 30, 2018

    Do you have any photos?

    I would sand everything, fill in the recessed areas, and sand. I like your idea of the carved wood to add to the french country flair. Paint in a neutral gray. Head board could maybe be upholstered.

  • 4002639 4002639 on Aug 30, 2018

    Oh Kristen, you had me at redo to a new style, lol. I love a good challenge. My favorite furniture painter on the web just did a segment on this type of thing and the most important first steps are prepping.

    Well in your case, you need to decide on a final look too.

    You will need to inspect the pieces and make sure all of them are good shape. Then strip off the finish. and sand to a smooth finish. For the wheat, you can use a wood filler and in the area or embrace it as part of the country design. Make sure to follow the directions on the wood filler can carefully. Allowing it to dry and sanding it smooth are important.

    Once your pieces are ready for paint you will need to decide what color. PinInterest has thousands of ideas on French country design. Get your daughter involved in this process. I like to do a base coat that is thin and then my second and final coat. I do this even on paint that doesn't require it. I find it dries better and I can see areas I may normally miss better. You can do as you choose though. A good top coat is important.

    Also be sure to clean up your brushes when your done. Letting them sit and dry is a waste and you will need them again on the other pieces. Once one piece is done, continue to the others in the same manner. Do one piece at a time so it doesn't so daunting and make it yours. Changing hardware is always fun too. Have fun with this. It sounds like a great fall project.

  • Vivian Vivian on Aug 30, 2018

    Ok first you have to sand the dresser , pull drawers sand. When that is finished clean with tac cloth to get all dust off. Now you can restrain or paint with chalk paint. I saw a dresser on Pinterest with a design tha came out more when painted they used light color for main dresser and darker for the drawers. Or after painting you can choose to stencil a favorite design on parts of the dresser. Get you daughter to help pick the colors and designs.

  • Vivian Vivian on Aug 30, 2018

    One more thing you will have to either use a finishing wax or a polyurethane to make the dresser finish last longer.

  • Lori Layman Donatelli Lori Layman Donatelli on Aug 31, 2018

    paint it a dark blue, antique staining over the paint, leaving the stain heavy on wheat carving.

    Prep first

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 03, 2022

    You could lighten it using Limed Wax. That always looks good on Oak! or why not sell it and buy something more suitable for your needs - Secondhand.

  • Mogie Mogie on Dec 05, 2022

    A picture would be very helpful so we can see exactly what you are working with.

  • You could use a light colored gel stain. It would be easy to do. You could fill in the cut outs with wood filler, but then you would have to paint the piece. Either way, a light wood top and colored bottom/drawers would be more modern.

  • Deb K Deb K on Apr 03, 2024

    Hi Kristen, hope this helps you. see what colors she likes and use chalk paint to update the furniture, and let her pick out the new hardware!

  • Dee Dee on Apr 04, 2024

    Clean with TSP or a good cleaner de-greaser. Lightly sand. I would like to see a picture of the furniture to see what area's you are talking about that you want to cover up or take out. I personally do not like chalk paint. I would use a good paint from Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams. Those usually do not need a top coat. Diane from the blog In My own Style has a tutorial on how to paint furniture.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Apr 04, 2024

    If you filled in all the places that are deliberately indented, you could paint and I was thinking of wood transfers from Iron Orchid Designs. They are a great company and they guide you through/

  • Betsy Betsy on Apr 04, 2024

    Hi Kristen: First of all, I'd ask my daughter if she likes the furniture as is and, if not, what she would like to see.