Asked on Dec 01, 2015

What should I do with my Grandmother's 1930's vanity table

My Grabdmother's furniture sat in her house for a long time after she passed away without air conditioning or heat. By the time I got to it a lot of the veneer was completely lifted up. I've removed most of the rest. Any ideas for what to do with it? It's been sitting on my porch for a couple of years now but it does have sentimental value so I would like to do something, even if it's using the drawers which does have very cool original hardware. Please help. Thank you!
Grandmother's vanity. Need ideas on what to do with it.
  38 answers
  • Debbie Runk Debbie Runk on Dec 01, 2015
    I wonder if you can shellac it, or perhaps paint it. Does it have doors that open to put stuff it? If so, I would use it again as a makeup table.
  • Ardis Olson Ardis Olson on Dec 01, 2015
    It's a beautiful piece! It would be great painted! Pick up a great old mirror at Goodwill and Paint it to match. Check out Pintrest for awesome Ideas.
  • Linda holder Linda holder on Dec 01, 2015
    That is a beautiful piece of furniture! If it were mine, I would stain it. I just hate the look of painted & distressed wood, it just looks to me like a bad, sloppy paint job. Staining it would bring back the original look of the piece.
  • ROBT. ROBT. on Dec 01, 2015
  • Chris aka monkey Chris aka monkey on Dec 01, 2015
    paint it or stain it or just give it a real good rub with hemp oil and move it indoors it is so gorgeous i hate seeing it sit in the weather wish it were mine xx
  • Shannon Ilene Duffy Shannon Ilene Duffy on Dec 01, 2015
    I think I'd stain it and move it inside to use as a desk or a tv stand, maybe? I think painting it would ruin it's natural beauty.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Dec 01, 2015
    I would like to see the piece with a nice color stain on it.I don't know how much room you have inside, however I think it looks nice right where you have it.
    • Susan Williamson Susan Williamson on Dec 02, 2015
      Yes, one of the problems is room inside and it was the piece that already had damage. Love it still just the way it is❤️
  • Greta Long Greta Long on Dec 01, 2015
    I agree with Shannon. Like the desk idea.
  • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Dec 01, 2015
    @Susan Williamson It's gorgeous, gotta Love those Legs! I personally would stain it give it several coats of urethane & bring it inside to use however it might be needed in your home. As a vanity, a desk, TV stand, put a book shelf on top, drop a sink into it for a new bathroom vanity, etc... It would also be nice painted as well, anything but left outside to further deteriorate!
  • Roger S Roger S on Dec 01, 2015
    Woodworker's Supply sells new veneer that just irons on with an ordinary dry iron. We have replaced the old veneer on many old pieces and then give it a good stain and a good two or three coats of Poly and it will be restored good as new. These old items are too good looking and a lot of care went into the original making to cover it with paint. It is always better to restore when you can. With love and care you can do it just make a pattern of the area you need to replace the veneer from paper then place it on the veneer with the grain running correctly and using a pencil trace your pattern to the veneer and then cut it with a pair of scissors. Then when you have the veneer cut to size place it on the table and just like putting an iron-on on a t shirt lay a cloth over the veneer and iron it in place from the middle out to the outside. Keep a little pressure on the iron and keep it moving. Be careful not to scorch the veneer and let it cool down before you move on to the next section. Take your time and you will have a piece you will be proud of.
  • Snapoutofit Snapoutofit on Dec 01, 2015
    Instead of thinking of it as a dressing table, think of it as a tv console.
    comment photo
  • Doni Doni on Dec 01, 2015
    one option is to cut close to eah side piece whic will give you two bedside tables, then paint or stain to match your decor, seen it someplace and it looked nice
  • Susan Williamson Susan Williamson on Dec 02, 2015
    Thank you all for your suggestions! I agree it is too beautiful to paint. I will try the veneer and stain to restore it to how I remember when I was a child playing dress up. Always loved this piece, such a shame. Thank you all again!
  • Vdi2805084 Vdi2805084 on Dec 02, 2015
    Paint it with chalkboard paint and antique it with wax. There are some good videos online.
  • Sherry Gipp Sherry Gipp on Dec 02, 2015
    if it doesn't have a clear coat finish on it, wipe it down with lemon oil, which will bring out the beauty in the wood. If you have room in your entry way, use it there as a entry table. You have the added benefit of drawer storage.
  • Oh, wow! What a beautiful piece! Not to mention the sentimental value :) Do you have an entry hallway? Might be nice place to drop keys in a dish, or store gloves and mittens in the drawers. Lamp on top, etc Fun place to vignette for holidays too...
  • Laurie Laurie on Dec 02, 2015
    I would not recommend painting or otherwise hiding the original wood. It is a vintage piece so I agree with @Sherry Gipp . Keep it natural.
  • Richard Perry Richard Perry on Dec 02, 2015
    Looks to be from the late 20's. Could be a flat screen TV stand or a foyer piece with a large mirror over it or a collection of vintage family photos. Also could make a cushion for it and place in front of a window. You decide wheather you want to paint it or refinish it!
  • Lisa House Lisa House on Dec 02, 2015
    This is gorgeous! Please do not paint it, however,myou could use Unicorn Spit as a stain on it, you would still see the beautiful wood grain but it would have a bit of color...the best of both worlds in my opinion. Whatever you do, keep this in the family as pass it down.
  • Maureen Thomassen Maureen Thomassen on Dec 02, 2015
    What is Unicorn Spit Stain?
  • Bobbie Bobbie on Dec 02, 2015
    What gorgeous wood piece!! I would use it as a entry table or sofa console table or even a beautiful tv stand or even a dining room buffet. PLEASE don't paint it!!
    • See 3 previous
    • Susan Williamson Susan Williamson on Dec 02, 2015
      Thanks Sandra, I want to leave it as natural as possible but maybe just a little stain would be good. Thank for your help!
  • Bobbie Bobbie on Dec 02, 2015
    Yes if you sand it down carefully. Or you can buy veneers and replace it
  • Susan Williamson Susan Williamson on Dec 02, 2015
    Great feedback from so many! I have good ideas now.
  • K Jones K Jones on Dec 02, 2015
    I have some family furniture with the same question of how to use it as it's not large enough to really be useful. I have collected some old windows. I've decided to use one of them to make a cabinet to place on top to display some of my valuable family dishes.
  • Kathryn Kathryn on Dec 02, 2015
    It's beautiful but I would 'chalk paint' it if I were you. I love the colors of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and even more the colors of APC....better known as American Paint Company's chalk paint. This paint combined with the waxes make an old and ignored vintage beauty just come alive as if it had been reborn. Chalk painting is easy and so so much fun....I've just begun chalk painting and have completed 5 pieces that I love. Just check it out by Googling "chalk painted furniture"! If you are not immediately enthralled as I was then I think that the advice you have gotten from others is also really good!
    • See 3 previous
    • Susan Williamson Susan Williamson on Dec 03, 2015
      Love it!!!!
  • Gloria tulip Gloria tulip on Dec 02, 2015
    Molly AuBuchon Paducah, had a vanity similar to yours. She is here. Just find her post and it will be helpful.
  • Janet chambers Janet chambers on Dec 03, 2015
    I would find an antique mirror that would fit nicely on the back, then lightly sand and re-stain, then poly coat both the mirror and vanity. And, of course, buy some ornamental drawer pulls!
    • Susan Williamson Susan Williamson on Dec 03, 2015
      lol, the mirror is inside on another vanity that is in perfect shape that another family member gave me. Also have the original drawer pulls which are really cool.
  • Linda ferguson Linda ferguson on Dec 03, 2015
    Cut the middle out and make to tables or night stands.
  • Valerie W Valerie W on Dec 03, 2015
    Beautiful lines. This could be painted and used in a hallway or entry. You could add a mirror or picture on the wall and a lamp. A dish to store keys. You could also store mitts and other items in the drawers.
  • Kim Kim on Dec 04, 2015
    I love this! My mind is just going in circles...Lol! Not a fan of chalk paint, love original wood and old wooden furniture. So well made! I could see this being a movable kitchen island with storage. A medium sized garbage can mounted in the middle on sliders for catching scraps. Make legs higher, sand the heck out of it, stain and or paint, put a nice finish on it......Yeah I'd have to think more about it and see it in person. Lol
  • Judy Gordon Judy Gordon on Dec 05, 2015
    I would sand super smooth, use some tongue oil and give it a place of prominence. I am a fan of painted furniture, but this just says "leave me alone, I am too grand for paint". Love it.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Dec 06, 2015
    Refinish with stain and then oil-stain mix applied with fine sandpaper. You could do some research and get some repro hardware for the drawers.
  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 02, 2023

    Add a chair and use as a Desk or Craft area or for displaying nice things!

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 02, 2023

    New hardware on the cabinets and a good cleaning of the wood. Then decide if you want to just seal it or stain it darker. Somewhat depends how good the wood looks after a deep cleaning.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jan 15, 2023

    Hi Susan, this would look beautiful chalk painted! Hope this helps you out.

  • Condition the wood and give it some new knobs. Use it in your home as an accent piece.

  • Mogie Mogie on Aug 06, 2023

    Super cute for a young girls bedroom. I can see a young lady siting in front of this brushing her hair or even practicing with makeup.