10 Thrift Store Furniture Makeovers

I’m not the best decorator, designer, or photographer, my socks have probably only matched twice in my life, and my cats are rather plump. I’m far from perfect, but one area I’m getting pretty good at is paint. Jesse has definitely witnessed several ‘I JUST RUINED IT!!!!’ mini-breakdowns after one of my furniture makeovers has gone awry, but my goal has always been progress over perfection.

After painting probably 20 pieces of furniture in the past few years, I’ve definitely made some progress in my painting skills. So, today, I thought I would roundup 10 of my favorite painted furniture makeovers, and then afterwards answer some of the FAQ’s I get about painting furniture. 
Let’s get started with my 10 favorite furniture makeovers, going in chronological order. I’ll share some failures, some successes, and what I’ve ultimately learned along the way. 

#1.  The Flip-Down Desk Makeover

This was the absolute first piece of furniture I ever painted. I did an awful job. 
I didn’t prime or sand it, and it’s basically a giant piece of string cheese now. I’m showing you this for two reasons. One, because I’m about to strip this piece and redo it, and now you can say you knew it back when. Two, because it’s a great reminder. A great reminder that if you make a mistake, even on your grandmother’s fine antique furniture, you will live to tell the tale. It’s not the end of the world. 
Leave it alone for a bit (bit = three years) and circle back around. 
*That being said, I would suggest avoiding the heirlooms until you know what you’re doing. Do as I say, not as I do. :)
 
 

#2.  Gold Stenciled Vanity Desk

This little vanity table was one of my first furniture makeovers as well. I painted it and stenciled a gold lattice stencil on top. I’ve since sold it on Craigslist, but it still holds a special place in my heart. For being one of the first makeovers, I totally think this one came out pretty cool.

High five, little guy. So sorry I sold you.

 
 
 

#3. Office Desk Makeover

Oh, the desk. I’m sitting at this desk right now as I write. I love this desk. It’s one of my favorites. I love it because it turned out amazing, but only after a lot of heartache. There is some definite truth behind the saying that you learn more from your failures than from success. I painted this table twice, and scraped the paint off twice. Then I cried twice. Then, I finally figured out the most durable solution, which was using an oil based paint and primer. I’ll elaborate more on oil based vs. water based at the end of this post.
 
 
To see the before pics of the desk, go here.
 

 

#4. The Dresser Makeover That Launched It All.

This was the first dresser I ever owned as an ‘adult’, and I eventually decided to paint it, even after the debacle with the heirloom. As fate would have it, it turned out so great that it sent me into a tailspin of painting everything in sight and eventually starting a blog about my adventures. 

 

 

#5.  The French Provincial Dresser Makeover

This is the filet mignon of dressers…as in, it’s my favorite. Also, it was originally $50, so it’s just biding its time before I trade it in for a steak. Kidding. I would NEVER.

 

 

 

#6. Chalkboard File Cabinet Makeover

This little file cabinet was my first ever roadkill transformation, and I’m hoping it won’t be my last. I will never be too proud to drag someone else’s trash across the street. Even if it’s my own neighbor’s, and I totally get stuck in the middle of the street because I overestimate my strength. 

 



#7. Piano bench turned STRIPE.

I’m not including any chairs since I’ve already listed my top 10 chair makeovers here, but this bench is just begging to make the cut, especially after holding his own in the closet makeover. And I can’t argue with that. So an exception we shall make.
 
 
Full tutorial here.

 

#8. The Blue Dresser Makeover

I mostly took a break from painting furniture to paint our trim and our cabinetry throughout the house, and when I came back to it, I had really learned so much. My painting skills really started to improve by the time this makeover came around. I started out with an old dresser given to us by a friend. It was in great shape, but needed some updating.


 

I used my favorite color of aqua blue paint and some fancy new hardware to completely transform this dresser into something that looks amazing in our master bedroom.

 
See the full tutorial, hardware source, and paint colors here.

#9. The Herringbone Dresser Makeover

This is one of my most recent makeovers. For this makeover, I decided to do something a little different and throw some pattern into the mix. Here’s the before picture of Kevin*.



And here he is after some fresh new blue paint and gold spray painted hardware.


 

 

*Update: Kevin lives on in this post even though we tried desperately to go our separate ways.


#10. The Silver Leaf Vanity Table Makeover

 

This is my most recent furniture makeover, and although it was difficult, I think it might be my all time favorite. I started out with a $15 thrift store desk that had definitely seen better days…



And after a grueling session with 50 sheets of silver leaf, I ended up with a lovely place to sit and get ready each day. I also learned something cool about Plexiglas during this makeover, so I give it an overall thumbs up. It wasn’t easy, but I still learned so much.

 Plus, I still find silver leaf floating around my house sometimes…

 so accidental disco = awesome. Or something.

See the entire silver leaf adventure here.
And those are my 10 favorite furniture makeovers so far. I’m sure there will be many more to come. 
Now, let’s answer some of the frequently asked questions that I get after posting my furniture makeovers. Hopefully this will answer some of your questions, too.
 
And that, sweet friends, is all for today! 
Thanks so much for stopping by!
 

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