Want to see my new black nightstands?

I’m finally finished painting the two nightstands that I bought at Goodwill recently, so I thought I’d share pictures.

First, here’s what our old Ikea nightstands looked like. We had two, and this one was in the best shape. The other one came from an antique store(I know…what kind of antique store sells Ikea furniture??) and it was in far worse condition than this one.



Here’s what the Goodwill nightstands looked like when I got them.


And here’s one prepped for priming.


Ta-dah! No more Ikea nightstands! In fact, there’s no more Ikea furniture in my bedroom. I feel very grown-up now.



Ahhh, much better.


You can see a picture of the grain on the top in this post(it’s the last picture).

In case you’re interested, the two Ikea nightstands now reside in my son’s room, where they hold toys. The toys used to be held by a flimsier plastic three-drawer contraption, so this is a definite improvement. The Ikea nightstands are sturdy, and I couldn’t care less if the kids abuse them(which they will, of course).

The three drawer plastic unit is now in my crawlspace, where it’s being used to organize all my gift wrapping supplies. They used to all be mixed together in a cardboard box, and it was nigh onto impossible to find anything. Now everything is neat and accessible.

Thanks to all of this rearranging, nothing was thrown away except for a cardboard box(which was recycled, of course). However, I do still have the old hardware from the nightstands that I need to deal with…I’m going to offer them on Freecycle, and hopefully someone will want them so that I don’t have to throw them away.

So, I currently have no painting projects waiting for me, which is a nice feeling. Actually, scratch that…I do plan to paint my son’s bed at some point. It’s wooden and I painted it white when he was small. Now that he’s going on ten, however, I think a black bed would be more appropriate. Plus a black bed would match his black dresser and his (new to him) black nightstands better. I’m sort of burnt out on painting for the moment, though, so I think that project will wait until late spring or early summer.


  1. says

    Hooray! They look really fantastic! Congratulations! I have never in my life wanted to redo furniture, but now I am looking at the chest of drawers in my bedroom and thinking, hmm…

  2. Kristen says

    It’s kind of addicting, I have to admit. Once I did my first piece last spring, I was hooked. And once you do one piece, you look at all sorts of furniture with new eyes! lol

  3. Christina says

    Another option for the old nightstand hardware is to donate it to your local Habitat for Humanity. Here, H for H has a store that sells hardware, furniture, and other home building/improvement materials.

  4. says

    The new nightstand looks so classy after the makeover! They did a similar thing on some old furniture on Better Homes and Gardens (a home improvement show here) and it really makes you see the potential of old furniture!

  5. says

    You never cease to amaze me! :-) I just got an amazing Craigs List find that I’m going to blog about hopefully tomorrow! It’s right up your alley! :-)

  6. Julia says

    It looks terrific, very professional. If this whole mothering/ homeschooling/blogging thing doesn’t work out for you (tee-hee), you can always start up a freelance furniture painting company. :-)
    I’m sitting here at a vintage 2002 Ikea computer armoire . It’s knotty pine and I’ve always hated it, we bought it because it was the only one with doors that hid my husband’s mess. Maybe this is the year I’ll finally paint it, black would make it so beautiful!

  7. says

    What a transformation! I’m on a mission to redo my entire bedroom over the next couple of weeks, including painting my bedroom furniture black. You’ve inspired me! Thanks to your wonderful how-to post a couple of weeks ago…I think I can actually do it!

  8. says

    they look seriously good. I have a chest of drawers i bought with the intention of painting them. I cant wait til summer now (its an outside job!) I think I will copy your method. but not colour. we have a seaside, white n wooden type of place. thanks for the inspiration

  9. Kristen says

    Thanks, everyone! :)

    Julia, I don’t know if I like painting enough to do it for a job! lol

    I bet your armoire would look beautiful in black. It’s amazing what black paint can do to furniture. Oh, and new hardware too…brushed nickel hardware makes a world of difference.

    Mo-I’ve done white paint a lot too. I painted a white dresser and nightstand for my youngest daughter’s room, and I also did a white dresser and nightstand as a gift for my sister-in-law. Oh, and I painted a toy chest white too.

  10. Erika says

    Wow, you are amazing! I just discovered this site and am totally feeling inspired to paint my daughter’s dressers instead of buying new ones! Her furniture is from a cheaper line, I believe it’s made out of solid wood & MDF, veneer tops.

    Would you sand it all down, even the tops that are fake wood?
    I would like to paint them a black color like yours. Would you mind telling me what exact products you used for primer, paint, etc? I am totally lost in the hardware store and picking this stuff out!

    I would really appreciate it!
    Thanks :0)

  11. Angelq says

    The tops of these nightstands are so reflective. Is that just the paint finish (semi-gloss) or did you add a top coat after painting. And do you sand after each coat of paint?


  12. Ellen says

    Black furniture is so pretty. Most of mine is white, but I sure love an occasional piece of black! I love the red wall too. Your have very pretty ideas. Thanks!

  13. says

    Hi yes, If you could please let me know the paint, and varnish, and the kind of brushes you used, that would be much appreciated. I’m going to attempted to get this same look. You have done an amazing job. Thanks

  14. says

    I am reading all your painting posts, as I need to paint a garbage picked nightstand to get the spare bedroom ready for the Japanese teacher who will be living with us for the next six months.

    Can’t have the room looking poorly.

    Kristen would not approve. ;-)

    -Katy Wolk-Stanley
    “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

  15. Elaine says

    Just found your website tonight and I’m very excited about painting some old small tables I have. I’ve done some refinishing in the past, working with stains, but I haven’t really painted any furniture. Love what you did with the nightstands. You’ve got me re-examining pieces I was going to give away and imagining how I can bring them back to life! I’ll let you know how my first piece comes out following your instructions.

  16. sheila says

    Would you beleive I found the exact same night stands at the salvation army ? I know it is many years later but could you tell me what you did with the holes left by the old hardware. Did you use wood filler or spackel.
    Each pull had two holes and like you I would like to have one hole per pull centered.

  17. andrea says

    I too am interested in how you filled the holes from the old hardware. I’m about to paint our bedroom furniture black & not only can’t find the size hardware to fit, but I’d love knobs like on your nightstands also.


    • Kristen says

      I used lightweight spackle. First I took paper shreds, crumpled them up, and stuck them into the hole. Then I spackled both sides of the holes, sanded, spackled again, and so on, until the holes were flush with the rest of the drawer.

  18. carol says

    I can’t wait to try painting my kitchen set black. I found a black/brown that looks interesting Ralph Lauren Turret Stair. My question is do i need to do anything special to the top of the kitchen table so it can withstand the normal wear and tear.

    • Kaybee01 says

      How did the Turret Stair colour turn out? I want to paint a desk and I wanted something that is black/brown.

    • Kristen says

      Sure! It’s the Behr paint in the flattest sheen available, and the color is Red Red Wine (doesn’t that name make you want to sing? lol).

  19. Lara says

    Thanks so much for your tutorials! I’m getting ready to do some furniture for my daughter’s room. I noticed you switched the pulls on this nightstand to knobs. Do you drill a single knob hole between the two holes that were for the pulls? Do you use wood filler to plug up the holes left from the pulls? Thanks for helping!

  20. Melissa says

    Thank you so much for sharing! Have you ever put a finish on top of you paint, like polyurethane? I am painting a table which will get a lot of wear n tear (kids) and im worried about chipping or the paint coming off when its cleaned a lot.

    • carol says

      I did use a polyurehhane (satin). so glad i did. looks great and i am sure it will help my table and chairs hold up to frequent use.

  21. Robert Rajotte says

    Thanks for posting this. I am about to try painting a piece of furniture for the first time and looked on the web for some ‘how-to’. It is an old piece of furniture with a formica top and I had no idea of how to deal with the formica or what paint to use. Now I do.
    Thanks again…

  22. Lisa Parent says


    I’m looking to paint my daughets dresser black however, i’m a little concerned. Most of the dresser is a weird grain plastic feeling top kinda feels like formica and the top drawers have a wicker look on them. How would you address the wicker part of the drawers?

    • Kristen says

      I wouldn’t worry about sanding the wicker part…just spray with the primer and then I might try to spray paint that part instead of brushing the paint on.

      For a formica top, just scuff it up with a sander, spray on the primer, and brush on the paint. It’s worked fine for me!

  23. Diana says

    I would love to repaint a beautiful and pricey Crate & Barrel dresser from black to espresso to match the baby crib. However, due to the value of the piece I prefer to hire someone. Is there anyone you could recommend, or recommend how to go about finding someone…

  24. Betulia says

    I’m planning to repaint my old kitchen table. It it now used as a computer table in our living room. I was thinking black. I usually shop at Home Depot. Can you please give me some color names. That is always my biggest dilema. Getting the color right. Love your site!
    Thanks :)

    • Kristen says

      I’ve just used plain old black and white Painter’s Touch paint. Make sure you get the kind I pictured in my how to paint post!

  25. carol says

    i used Behr Mouse Ears. It is from the Disney collection. It is a great pure black. Have received so many comments on how good it looks!

  26. Amanda says

    I am going to redo some furniture tomorrow. On my current dresser the metal around the knobs is very large. How does that work if you want to put new, smaller knobs on the drawers? I haven’t tried taking one off yet. What do you do if there are extra holes?

    • Kristen says

      If there are extra holes in the drawer, I fill them (I crumple up shredded paper, stuff it into the hole, and fill both sides with wood filler or lightweight spackle..it may take several applications).

  27. Alex Deza says

    Im a college student and want some new furniture for my room. However, even Ikea seems pricey after paying off my classes. Now, from a males point of view, you have inspired me to give painting a try.Thanks

  28. says

    Beautiful job! I’m about to start my first project and feel confident after seeing how easy you made it look. Do you use any paint/varnish stripper before sanding?

  29. says

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE how awesome the refaced furniture looks…but I’m more fascinated by your red walls. WHAT is that color???

    I bought a rancher and I want ONE accent wall–red with black furniture. I’m ALSO spray painting my wrought iron bed!!

    Please let me know!!

  30. lance says

    I have just finished a dresser in black. Do you Need to apply a finishing coat over the black paint. It looks like it might leave fingerprints.

  31. Kathy says

    Thanks for all the tips. Wondering if you can tell me how you go from hardware with two holes drilled for each handle to the single pull knobs which I assume need one hole centered for each? Do you fill the holes? What with?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Kristen says

      Sure-I stuffed paper shreds in the existing holes, filled both sides with spackle, sanded, spackled again, and then painted. And then I drilled a new hole for the single pull.

  32. Lydia says

    Hi,I have sanded and primed, 2 tables.I sanded the primer to a very sooth finish, useing an oil base. Went to paint with a water base paint. Very drippy not sticking to the table. Can I use oil primer with a water base paint?
    Thanks Lydia

    • Kristen says

      I’ve always thought that you can do it that way, but not the other way around. I don’t know why it’s not working for you!

  33. Megan says

    Hi Kristen,
    I have been inspired by your frugal girl website to refinish my own piece of furniture. I have read the steps a hundred times it seems and they seem straightforward until you actually settle down to start the project lol. I purchased my inexpensive cabinet on Kijiji which is a local site where people sell their old furniture. Sanding was a huge thing! Thinking I had to get every single piece of stain off but once I mastered the sanding, I thought geez easy sailing, until I got to the next step priming. I purchased a can of primer instead of the spray but now I’m thinking the spray would be easier to get into the smaller knoks and crannies. Once I had it primed, I was pretty impressed since this was my first piece I’ve ever primed. Then I had to paint and I just cannot get a seamless finish that you seem to achieve. If you have any advice I am all ears! The steps make it sound so easy until you actually get to that next step.
    Thank you,

    • Kristen says

      Yes! The spray primer is much easier to use. But that’s advice a little too late. You can file it away for next time, though. ;)

      If you’re having trouble with getting a smooth finish, try stirring a little bit of paint thinner into the paint. The last can I bought seemed to be thicker than before, so I thinned it and had much better results. I’m not sure if they changed the formula of the paint or what.

      Using long strokes and painting VERY thin coats is also key.

      Hang in there…this takes some practice to get just right.

  34. Joyce says

    I have oak cabinets that arn’t the best and I would like to paint them black. What is the easiet way to go about getting them ready to paint. I think I would like to be able to see the grain, but smooth would also be ok. I think paint really changes things and I am so excited to paint my cabinets. I am also going to paint my counter tops to look like granite. Paint changes the world. Thank you.

  35. April says

    Where do you get your hardware for these painting projects? They look fantastic, and I’ve been looking for some like them at a reasonable cost. Thanks! BTW- Your projects look fantastic!!

    • Kristen says

      I usually look around at Home Depot or Lowes if I need new hardware. Home Depot has some nice multipacks that are handy if you need, say, new pulls for a tall boy dresser.

      And thank you!

  36. says

    I am so thrilled to read this information. I have tried painting furniture before and have done everything wrong-thick coats and sponge rollers. I can hardly wait to help some of my old furniture although my husband cringes when I speak of painting the wooden furniture. I have some of that Ikea furniture but would like to keep it. The cabinet seems to have a thin layer of wood. Should I paint it the same as described by you? I also have some crappy furniture that has a manufacture finish on it and it is not wood. What would you suggest? Thanks for the great iformaiotn. Sincerely Elizabeth

    • Kristen says

      With a thin layer of wood, you should just be able to follow the instructions here.

      With the junky furniture, it’s harder to say. If you sand it, just do it very lightly-enough to scuff up the surface. The finish probably won’t hold up as well as it will on real wooden furniture, but hey, if you hate the way it looks now, painting it is worth a try!

  37. Lynn Elder-Blau says

    You do an exceptional job and I LOVE your blog! I write a blog also and would like to place your website address on it for others to read, if that is okay with you. My blog is as follows:


    Until I hear back from you, I will not post it.

    Thank you!!!

    Leoti, Kansas

  38. Shelly says

    I love the look of the two nightstands you painted!
    I have 2 bookcases I want to take from finished wood to black like yours.
    Please tell me what you did…
    Did you sand well or just enough to remove the shine?
    Or, did you just use a deglosser?
    Did you prime? With what brand and was it white or dark?
    What brand and color did you use to paint the nightstands?
    Did you use a top coat for shine? And if so, which one?
    This will be a big job for me, so I’d really appreciate your help! Thanks! Shelly

  39. bobby says

    if you buy a brand new nightstand 2 nightstands to be exact in there chestnut do you have to sand new nightstands or because ther new can you just paint over themyou did a beautiful job…..when I purchased my black bedroom set the black nightstand were discountinued so I had to go with chesntut with hopes of getting them done in black

    • Kristen says

      I wish I could save you the work of sanding, but I’m sorry to say that you’d have to sand them even if they’re new, because an unsanded finish will be too shiny to hold the paint properly.

  40. Juju says

    Just curious, the original handle had two holes, correct? The newly painted nightstand has only one pull (one screw needed not two like the original). Just wondering if you filled in the other hole or left it open. Hope this makes sense!

  41. VANESSA M says


    I was wondering, in your ready for primer photo, it looks like the flat spaces are sanded thoroughly and the edges with details are just lightly sanded. Am i correct? I have a dry sink that I would like to turn into a bar and have sanded all the flat surfaces but the detailed edges are driving me nuts. Is a light sanding on these areas enough?

    I was originally going to re-stain because i like the wood grain look but yours look great!

    • Kristen says

      Yup, I never get down to the bare wood in the details…it just takes way too long and is too hard. I just try to get the shine off of those parts and call it good!

  42. Anya says

    Boy, am I glad to have stumbled upon your website. I am basically a DIY person, and always wanted, among the other things, to paint furniture. It’s like a face-lift for your room. I just love changeovers.

    Your site is very inspiring. The bedroom colors are awesome.

    • Art M. says

      Thanks for the step by step! This was extremely well done. I have two night stands that need this sort of work and this was a great How To. :)

  43. Anna says

    Kristin dear, what a great job you’ve done!

    Would you mind to share how did you prime it, did you use just any latex primer? Then patched the holes you didn’t need any longer? (from the existing hardware) And what kind of paint? Looks terrific!

    I have a limited experience painting walls but not furniture, at least not yet. This remains on my list of the next projects. Yours is very inspiring.

    Thank you.

  44. Katie Sainsbury says

    Love this painted furniture so going to start having a go. Thank you, I will follow your methods, it all looks great and I can’t wait to get started

  45. Deanne says

    I see you now have done both white and black painted versions of dressers. I am faced right now with the dilemma of painting dressers either white or black. If you had to do it all over again would you still paint them white or black and why? Which ones held up better and you still like better? Thanks : )

    • Kristen says

      For my room, I definitely like the black, as my walls are a wine color. But for all of my girls, I really think white looks best with their lighter walls. It really all depends on the other colors in the room.

    • says

      That’s totally up to you. For a heavy use item, a coat of poly would be wise. These nightstands don’t get a lot of abuse, so they’ve been fine without a clear coat.


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