Furniture,  girl's room,  Uncategorized

Step by step tutorial for re finishing furniture

So I am working on my daughter’s bedroom makeover, and in the process we decided that we would swap dressers with our two girls. My youngest daughter originally had a dresser that was mine when I was younger. It was yellow and blue which matches my older daughter’s room. Well, my oldest daughter had our old dresser I had found at a thrift shop years ago for only $20 bucks and was using that in the closet in her room.  I decided that I wanted to swap the dressers and paint the thrift store dresser to go in my youngest daughter’s room. Long story short, I was looking for a color that stood out and popped. Her room was going to be pretty neutral with some hits of coral. I decided that emerald green was the way to add just the right amount of color and excitement to the room.  So I grabbed that thrift store dresser, got started, and in about four hours I had a completely new and improved dresser.


Decide how you want it to look. Do you want the whole thing painted the same color? Or do you want to strip the paint down to the wood and re finish the piece? Perhaps a little of both? That is what I decided to do. I wanted the top to be the wood finish, and the bottom and drawers to be painted a color. So I went to work.

The whole dresser was painted black, but I knew it was a solid wood piece. If it had been laminate I probably wouldn’t have decided to take off the paint on the top. So know the material your piece of furniture is made of. That will determine what products, primer, and paint you will use. For a solid wood piece of furniture, here is what I did.


Grab some citristrip paint stripper.

Citristrip 1/2 gal. Safer Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel

I have found this to work the best for me. It is low odor, safe to use indoors, and works great on paint and varnish. I actually used it first when I was re finishing my banisters on my stairs. If you want to read more about that project you can click here.

Take a brush…one you don’t care about because you will be throwing it away, and lather the citristip everywhere you want the paint to be removed in a nice thick layer. Walk away and do something for a half hour or so while the product does it’s job.


Scrape the wood with a plastic putty scraper.

I swear it’s like magic. The paint will just start scraping off. Make sure you have paper towels and garbage bags to collect the scraped paint. When you have scraped all that will come off that first time, you may notice that there is still a little paint left over. Just add some more citristrip and walk away.


After the paint is removed use a low odor paint thinner to wipe down the surface. This gets off any left over citristrip that may cause problems when you go to stain it. Just pour a little on a rag and wipe down the area.


Sand down your piece either using a sanding block or electric sander. This step will get all the remaining paint off the piece of furniture you are finishing.


Stain the piece to your desired color. I used a walnut stain on the top of this piece and then I sealed it with two coats of wipe on polyurethane.

Minwax Wood Finish Dark Walnut Interior Stain (Actual Net Contents: 32-fl oz)

Minwax Wipe-On Interior Polyurethane

I like both of these products, especially the wipe on poly. Make sure to use a white low lint rag when you are applying the stain and poly. I usually just used cut up old t shirts.


Use a liquid sand product on the rest of the piece.

I love this product and use it on most everything I paint. It not only cleans the piece, but it gives it a tacky layer that the paint you are painting on it just sticks to.


Grab your paint. I love using regular wall paint in a satin finish. If it isn’t a color I have used on my walls, I just grab a $4 sample bottle from Lowes. That is what I did with this dresser.

Valspar (6009-7) Vegas Green Interior Satin Paint Sample (Actual Net Contents: 7.7-fl oz)

I just brushed the paint on, it took two coats to cover. The nice thing about using just regular wall paint is that you don’t have to seal it. You just paint it and bam… you are done!

If you want you can let it dry for a couple of days and lightly distress it. It’s up to you.

So there you have it, pretty easy. I started this project about 8:30 in the morning, and I was done ready to put everything back in it’s place by 3:00 in the afternoon. Not hard at all. This project was great because for only the $4 I spent on paint I created a fun statement piece for my daughter’s room.



I'm Erin, a busy mom of three, chauffeur, cook, housekeeper, and wanna be decorator. I love old movies, good books, and a daily trip to Lowes. We have recently bought a new we are fixing up and changing everything. This blog is to record our renovating journey. This is not the first house we have done. Actually, it is our third. My husband and I love a project. Any project. We both love working on our home, have the same taste, (which is great), and love working and re purposing things on our budget. We can show you how to put together a high end and creative look without breaking the bank. Taking something old and recreating it into something new and exciting for any room is my passion. Hope you enjoy this decorating journey with us!