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A craigslist Ethan Allen nightstand rehab

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Attention: If you are the type of person whose heart breaks when someone paints old furniture, today’s post is not for you. You should probably go visit another blog just for today. 😉

I’ve been on the lookout for a paintable nightstand for Zoe’s room, so when this one popped up on Facebook Marketplace for $25, I picked it up.

Ethan Allen nightstand before

The finish had definitely seen better days.

Ethan Allen Heirloom Nightstand painted

Ethan Allen Heirloom Nightstand painted

But that doesn’t matter in the slightest if you’re painting!

I sanded it down, using my Bosch orbital sander.

Ethan Allen Heirloom Nightstand painted

I also did some hand sanding to get the areas where the orbital sander can’t reach.

I never worry about getting every last bit of the old stain off. When you’re painting, you just need to get the sheen off so that the primer will stick.

Ethan Allen Heirloom Nightstand painted

This is why I like to paint rather than stain! I can be much lazier with the prep. 😉

Ethan Allen Heirloom Nightstand painted

I always use a hand broom to dust off the furniture at this point, and then I wipe it down with a damp cloth.

Priming comes next, with Zinnser 1-2-3- primer. It’s water based, which I love.

Ethan Allen Heirloom Nightstand painted

Water-based primers and paints can be cleaned up with water, which makes things 10000% easier.

Primed furniture always looks completely terrible, but that’s all right. The point here is to create a surface that paint will stick to.

Ethan Allen Heirloom Nightstand painted

I give the primed surfaces a really light hand sanding, dust them off, and then it’s time for paint!

I still had about a half gallon of the paint I bought for Sonia and Zoe’s beds and for Sonia’s dresser: Benjamin Moore Advance, semi gloss, in Cloud White.

Bassett mission dresser painted white

(Which, incidentally, is also the paint I used when I painted my kitchen cabinets.)

oak kitchen cabinets painted white

The first coat of paint is still pretty splotchy, which is as it should be.

Ethan Allen Heirloom Nightstand painted

Multiple thin coats are always preferable to one thick coat.

Eventually, you get good coverage. But you have to be patient!

painted Ethan Allen heirloom nightstand

Once I’m done with the last coat, I usually like to let my furniture sit for a day or two before use, just to make sure it’s completely dry.

I think this is especially important before adding hardware. If you try to screw that in before the paint is dry and hard, it’s easy to screw it in too tight and leave marks in the paint.

Speaking of hardware…I had some pulls leftover from when I rehabbed Sonia’s Bassett dresser, and luckily, the drawer pull was precisely the right size for the existing drawer holes.


Zoe's painted nightstand

Interestingly, I was able to sell the original pull on eBay for $12, which means I recouped half of the original purchase price!

Ethan Allen batwing drawer pull

Conclusion: it never hurts to list random things on eBay.

Remember when I sold the hardware from Sonia’s dresser for more than I paid for the dresser?

Anyway, this project cost me $13 out of pocket, which is very respectable for a solid wood nightstand.

nightstand paint rehab

Start to finish!

If Zoe ever doesn’t need this anymore, I’m sure I could sell it for at least $13. 

painted vintage Ethan Allen nightstand

And that is the nice thing about solid wood furniture! It has a very long lifespan.

Plus when you buy it secondhand, you end up spending way less than you would even if you bought a cheap brand new piece.

And that’s the end of what I have to say about this nightstand project. 🙂

What’s the last thing you painted? Furniture? Wall? Deck?

Right now is a good time to tackle a painting project. 😉

P.S.I embedded a short video in this post showing me sanding, priming, and painting. But if you want a more thorough look at my process, I also made a slightly longer YouTube video, which you can see right here.

(I am a total YouTube newbie, so don’t mind the amateur level of the video. I’ll get better with more practice!)

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