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Sonia’s Side Table Makeover: before, during, and after

Earlier this summer, I poked around Facebook Marketplace to find a small table for Sonia.

There was an old black dresser there (from Mr. FG’s bachelor days!) and she wanted something smaller and more beautiful to replace it.

old black Ikea dresser

So, I found this table.

Facebook Marketplace secondhand side table

It wasn’t bad as-is, but the finish was kind of worn. And it didn’t match the rest of Sonia’s furniture at all.

For all of you that hate to see old furniture painted, rest assured that this was just a mass-produced piece.

No dovetails!

small table drawer

The nightstand sat in her room for a while, untouched, because

  • July was consistently too hot for painting
  • August was consistently too wet and humid for painting

Finally at the end of August, the weather broke enough for me to tackle this project.

I sanded it, using my trusty Bosch orbital sander.

sanded nightstand

Since I was painting, not staining, I just removed the majority of the finish. I didn’t have to get down to bare wood.

sanded table drawer

Then I rolled/brushed on a coat of Zinnser 1-2-3 primer.

primed side table

You can see that the primer coat always looks a bit blotchy; that’s totally fine. Primer isn’t for coverage; primer is for helping the finish stick.

primed side table

primed side table drawer

Once that dried, I applied two coats of Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Cloud White (sheen is satin).

Sonia's painted nightstand

I’ve used this paint on:

Benjamin Moore Advance paint is easy to apply, cleans up with water, and dries to a hard, durable finish. Major thumbs up!

microfiber roller

(not sponsored; I just like this paint.)

It is fairly expensive, but I only needed a single gallon to do my entire kitchen full of cabinets.

oak kitchen cabinets painted in Benjamin Moore Advance paint

And this second gallon has done two beds, a big dresser, and two nightstands. I’ve only used about half a gallon even after all that furniture painting.

Sonia's white bed


rubbed bronze drawer pull

I considered just painting the original wooden handle, but instead, I went to Home Depot and bought a knob that matched the finished on Sonia’s dresser drawer pulls.


Goodwill dresser painted white

And while I was at it, I switched out the brushed nickel pulls on her desk for bronzed pulls.

Sonia's desk and dresser

Now all the furniture in her room has matching pulls, and it all looks so much more coordinated!

Sonia keeps her sunglasses, wallets,keys, mask, and inhaler in the drawer; all the things she needs to leave the house.

nightstand drawer with sunglasses inside

Her record player fits perfectly on the shelf.

teal record player on white shelf

And on the top she has an oil lamp (from an antique store), a vintage container with buttons (from my aunt) and a vintage radio (from 605 Mod).

vintage button container

white painted nightstand with vintage accessories

The Facebook Marketplace seller had asked to see photos of the table when it was done, so I messaged her a few “after” photos, and she was delighted.

So. The seller is happy, and so is Sonia.

Happiness all around!

side table before and after painting

If you have any questions about furniture painting, let me know in the comments.

P.S. Click here to see all of the posts I’ve ever done about painting.

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Saturday 19th of September 2020

Great job on the side table! And, really, on all her furniture. I am pretty smitten with the button tin, though.


Thursday 17th of September 2020

I am almost done with my first wood furniture painting project--an old mass-produced dresser.

My 8-year-old is just happy to have it bright blue, but where I had to hand-sand the awkward bits, there are visible scratches. (I tried a few different grits but it didn't seem to make much difference.) Any advice how I can avoid that next time?


Thursday 17th of September 2020

Usually the scratches are caused by high grit sandpaper. The finer the grit, the less likely you are to leave scratches.

Do you know what grit you started with? Next time, I'd try a finer grit than whatever you started with, and that should fix the problem.

Happily, eight-year-olds are not that picky!


Thursday 17th of September 2020

A nightstand (bedside table) without a lamp for reading in bed? Or does she actually use the little oil lamp? It looks beautiful, though; all of your furniture painting does!.


Thursday 17th of September 2020

Oh she does actually use the oil lamp!

But this table is not right by her bed; her desk is right next to her bed. So, her little white swing arm lamp sits on the desk next to her bed.

You can see it in the first photo in this post:


Wednesday 16th of September 2020

When I first saw the table, I thought it was veneer on top of wood, which was quite common in the sixties at least, but I guess it has to be a wood finish to sand it? Can you sand and paint over a veneer?


Wednesday 16th of September 2020

I think this one is indeed a wood veneer. I've sanded and painting lots of veneer pieces; you just have to be careful not to get TOO crazy with the sanding, or you will go through the veneer.


Wednesday 16th of September 2020

Marvelous job on the table. What a perfect bedside table! But .... I love the button tin the best. And the cute bunny in her top drawer. :)


Wednesday 16th of September 2020

Isn't that bunny the cutest??

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