For the Home

DIY: Furniture Refinishing

Have you ever found that you go through phases in your life of what you seem to prioritize? I am currently going through one such phase where all I can think about is maximizing storage space.

Ever since David and I moved under one roof and are consolidating our belongings it is becoming clear that 1. we have a lot of stuff and 2. we do not have enough storage for this stuff.

Our first priority was the kitchen. At this point in time we are in an apartment and our storage space is a little limiting. All of the shelves are preset at a height and don’t really allow for tall items, i.e. wine bottles and appliances. After much looking we decided we weren’t ready to invest in a nice piece of furniture and instead decided to go for something affordable that would accomplish the job for our temporary living situation.

We decided on this cabinet from Target, in white.

It really does fit our needs great, but isn’t the most attractive thing I have ever laid eyes on. That’s when we came up with the idea to repaint it and change out the hardware for a little makeover. I am no stranger to refinishing furniture. I have done a dresser and a coffee table. It is an affordable option to spruce up any item you have in your home.

1. You first need to determine what the material is that you are  painting. Different bases require different prep work. Our cabinet was a wood laminate.

2. Determine what you need to do to prep your piece. Laminate does not allow paint to adhere well, therefore requiring more prep. We did a quick google search and used these suggestions as our guide in shopping.

Our shopping list included: our paint color of choice in a laytex base, a laytex primer, a roller brush and regular paint brush, a paint tray, masks, gloves, and our hardware of choice. We already had 100 gauge sandpaper on hand and we ended up not using any sort of solvent to clean the cabinet since it was new and didn’t have any grease or grime on it. I would recommend shopping at a store that will answer your questions and direct you as to what you need for your individual project.

3. Get to sandin’.

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I am going to be honest with you here. Sanding sucks. A lot. I tried to half ass this and just lightly rough up the base and, yeah, that didn’t work. The primer bubbled when I tried to put it on. So take my advice and just do the job right the first time or you’ll be redoing the sanding, which sucks even more than just doing it right the first go round.

4. Prime it.

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Wipe down your surface with a damp rag to remove the debris from sanding and apply 1 coat of your primer.

5. Paint it.

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Allow sufficient drying time for your primer to adhere, and then add your first coat of paint. Depending on your color and taste you will need to apply 1 or 2 more coats. For our color of yellow, it only required 1 more coat.

There are some additional things you can do at this point, like add finishes. Adding a gold glaze was in the original plan for this project. I had some left over from a previous project and thought I would try it out on this one. It went very badly. And to make matters worse, I thought adding more would somehow make it better. It did not.

Lessons to be learned here: 1. Test out a small discreet area first. 2. If you jump into decisions, like I did, it is just paint and can easily be recovered by another coat of paint.

I resolved this issue by adding another coat of paint that had a little bit of the glaze already mixed in. It came out MUCH better this way.

You can also add a sealant to prevent chipping and wearing once your paint is dry. We did not do that for this piece because we didn’t think it required it, but that is really a judgement call you can make based on your needs.

6. Once your paint is dry, add your new hardware.

Our new hardware did not line up with existing pre-drilled holes for the standard hardware sent with the cabinet. Easy solution, drill a new hole. And if need be, you can caulk the unused hole before you paint.

This is our finished product! I think it looks happier than it did before 🙂

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And a bonus to all of this? You look super cool while you’re doing it!

how to refinish furniture yourself

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