Nightstand Makeover Ideas Before and After

I love beautiful good quality furniture.  Here are some nightstand makeover ideas before and after.

At times it looks dated and needs a little sprucing up.  You could always replace what you have but I like to use my creativity to make it into something better.  

Use What You Have

Use what you have if possible.  If the piece is worn or not great quality it will not be worth your time.  So be sure it has solid wood elements still in great shape and a style you love.  Also make sure it fits your space well.  If it's too small or too large for the space you still wont be happy with what you create.

Thrift Shopping or Goodwill

If you don't have anything and want to be creative by making over a nightstand get looking at Thrift and Goodwill shops.  I have found 3 different nightstands for 2 guest bedrooms in my home.  Two of the 3 that I found were matching, I just happened to find them at different times.  Check out the Goodwill nightstand makeover Here.


Offer-up and Garage Sales 

Another great place to find quality pieces is on markeplaces and garage sales.  I am not one to have a garage sale but I do drive by on occasion.  I'm more apt to search marketplaces like offer-up.  There are always great things to find.  I made over this set of nightstands for my son and daughter in-law.  The pieces and  options are endless.  Check out the nightstand makeover Here.  


Nightstand Before

The latest nightstands I made over were good quality pieces I have had in our main bedroom for years.  They were still in excellent shape, the size was great but the finish didn't go with the room.  


I knew they were going to be a little tricky because it was getting hot here in AZ but I was wanting to get them done so they would stop bothering me.  I didn't check the weather but the week I was working on these we were having intense heat.  Like 112 degrees but we worked early in the early mornings and made it happen.

Where it All Started

The nightstand makeover started with a desk and bench I built for our bedroom.  I loved the way they turned out but after they were done and looking so pretty I realized how terrible the nightstands now looked.  You know the if you give a mouse a cookie.  One thing leads to another.  

Because I wanted to stain them instead of paint it was going to be a lot more work. Check out the desk and bench Here and Here.  

Stripping the Old Stain

If I was going to paint the nightstand I would have given them a quick sanding and got busy painting.  But I wanted the nightstand to coordinate with the desk and bench so they needed to be stained.  Which means all the old stain needs to be removed and then sanded perfectly clean and smooth.

Have you tried the Easy Off stripping method.  I hadn't tried it but wanted to give it a try.  Sadly it didn't work for me.  What I thought was stain was maybe a lacquer so it didn't work, not at all.  So I used stripper.  This worked really well.  It required a few applications and a lot of sanding after but it was what did the trick.  


Because it was so hot I didn't let the stripper set as long as suggested. I worked in sections.  Applying to the side letting it set for about 5 minutes, scrapping off.  Then applying again but only letting it set for a couple minutes before scrapping off.  I had to do this 3 or 4 times just to get the stain off.  You can grab the Kleen Paint and Stain stripper at Home Depot.



After it was mostly off I wiped it with Mineral Spirits.  Mostly to remove any residue before we got busy sanding.  

Sanding and More Sanding

Thankfully my husband had pity on me and gave me a hand with the sanding.  I would probably be still at it if he hadn't.  I used my mouse sander and he used sand paper.  You can grab a mouse sander on Amazon.  There were so many nooks and crannies that you had to use sand paper to get into them all.

It took a lot of elbow grease to get them to the place where they were ready for stain.


I did have some concerns about how they were going to turn out.  The flat panels were mdf and not solid wood but I was willing to chance it.  

Also I wanted to keep the top the painted black so that saved a little headache.  The top is solid wood so it would refinish nicely.  But I wanted the top to remain black and the rest of the nightstand stained, not the other way around. 

Almost Ready for Stain

The final step before you get staining is cleaning off all the saw dust.  I do this in 3 steps.  We blow it off with the air blower.  I then use a wire brush and brush the wood, going with the grain to get all the small bits out of the wood.  Then I wipe it off with a dry and damp cloth.  You will be shocked to see how much sawdust you get out of the wood with the wire brush.  

Ready for Staining

I am ready to get staining.  I have a short table in my garage that I like to place my pieces on.  It's nice to have it off the ground so it's not such a challenge on my back.  

ready for stain

I wasn't doing anything with the back of the nightstands so I set the drawers on the floor and placed the cabinets back to back.  That way I would work on all the pieces at one time.

My Favorite Stain Finish


Here are the stains I use to get the beautiful modern and elegant finish.  It is three steps but totally worth it.  

I start with the pre-stain just to condition the wood.  My favorite way to apply the stain for bigger projects like this one is to use foam brushes.  I paint it on in sections then wipe it off with the Scott Blue shop towels.  They're the best because they don't lint and are easy to use.  I also make sure I have gloves so my hands stay clean (ish).

Applying the White Wash

The white wash is the magic to this combination.  After the pre-stain has set for the time suggested on the can I start applying the white wash.  Working in sections so it doesn't get to dry before I start taking it off.

I actually like the look of the wood with the white wash but adding the final step really elevates it. 

Special Walnut Stain

The special walnut stain is the final step to creating something special.  Before it is wiped off you really don't see the reason for the white wash.  

special walnut stain

I apply the stain with the foam brush let it set for just a few minutes then wipe it off with the shop towels.  Because the two drawers are small surfaces without tricky corners I was able to work on the two of them together. 

The magic of the finish comes when you wipe it off.  The white wash mutes the dark brown and creates something pretty amazing. 


A Final Look

I am so happy with the final look of the nightstands.  The new stain suits my main bedroom so much better now.  It was a little headache because it was so hot but I'm so glad I kept at it.  

nightstand makeover


Decor to the Door

To decorate your nightstand check out what's available at Decor to the Door.  So many beautiful pieces that would look amazing on your island, entry table, centerpiece or nightstand.