Refinishing Old Furniture

I Wanted a new piece of furniture that looked more finished to replace my old apartment sofa table from target, something like a buffet table since it goes by our big dining room table for dinners… I saw ones I liked and they were $300+ dollars, and there was NO way I was going to shell out that kind of money… so I decided to refinish an old piece I found on Craigslist!


This turned out AMAZING! I actually want to do it again, the painting went smooth and it turned out exactly how I wanted it! I’ll tell you how I did it, and you should give it a try! Its worth the work and definitely worth the money you save, just take inspiration from Pottery Barn magazines, Ballard designs etc.

Here is what I used:

– Palm Sander ( I used 150 grit paper ) and BOY does a palm sander make sanding go fast!

– Some damp paper towels to wipe the sawdust off

– Primer, I used Kilz 2

– Olympic paint and primer in one (color of your choice)

– 4” Cabinet and door roller, and the roller is the BEST trick besides using a sprayer to get even coverage without brush strokes.

(Mine came out flawless, so I HIGHLY recommend using a roller!)

– Olympic satin paint for the top in magic black

– Top coat, I used minwax water based top coat

-New hardware, or repurposed hardware from original piece

* Don’t judge the clutter, this was done in my garage while clearing out the house for baby #2!



1- Remove all of the doors and drawers, take off the hardware and keep in a baggie just in case so you dont lose them. Then sand your piece until the varnish comes off and the surface is smooth.

Mine looked like this


2- After it is all sanded, take some lightly damp paper towels and rub the whole piece to remove the extra sawdust and let it dry! I didnt rush ANY of the drying processes, and let each step dry over night. Why ruin your work if you’re in a hurry??!

3- Take your primer and use your roller and roll the primer evenly all over the piece. It will look like this

primed top
Let it dry overnight just to be safe, like I said don’t rush it even if it seems safe. Its not worth it!

4- Once it is dry, you are ready to apply your paint! (using your roller, remember)

Smooth out any areas that the roller will not reach with a good synthetic bristle brush, I did this around the curves in the drawer and then smoothed it out again with the roller.

I applied two coats of my grey/green and waited OVERNIGHT for both drying processes.

side drying

first coat

5- Now that the main part of it is dry you can tape the bottom off and use a tarp to cover it and paint  the top!

top drying

I painted three coats of black, to make sure it was all even and none of the primer showed through. I waited 3 hours in between each coat. It dried super fast, so judge your paints directions and by how it is drying.

6- Last but not least, NOW you can add your top coat!! I rolled mine on, even though it advised using a brush… it wasn’t looking as smooth and I switched back to my trusty roller and rolled two coats on. I waited overnight in between coats.


Here is a picture of how smooth the black and top coat are (If you can’t tell, you have to take my word for it, it looks professional!) and I know 100% it is because I used a roller. So if I didnt repeat myself enough, USE A ROLLER- it will make your piece look like it was bought!

7- Now you just take your tarp off, put the  hardware on and then put doors and drawers back on! Ta da!! Thats it, its really simple and comes out looking great!!

Just for your info, I was using another picture for inspiration but lost it.. so this was close- from ballard designs, and is over $350!


Here is the finished product in my house with a new lamp and some decorations (keep in mind I have a busy toddler, so I couldn’t get to knick-knackey)


My grand total for this WHOLE project was under $125 INCLUDING the price of buying the buffet table! 

Enjoy and remember if you try this or have questions, just post them along with your pictures 😉

Posted in DIY

5 thoughts on “Refinishing Old Furniture

    1. yes 🙂 in some of the pictures they are not there but the process was the same and in the last pictures everything is there 😉

  1. Looks great! I refinished a buffet for our new place, and since I’m not a fan of sanding, I used chaulk paint from Annie Sloan. The paint is expensive (35 per quart), but it goes a LONG way (I did 2 coats and only used about half a quart) and I didn’t have to sand or prime. The only caveat is that you are not able to achieve a high gloss finish. It made me look good, and I decidedly NOT crafty! 🙂

    1. Sharon I just redid a piece with Annie Sloan chalk paint too, I had done this before I had discovered it!! I liked doing it both ways but the chalk paint is definitely more forgiving. I will be posting a tutorial from that project too! I loved using their dark wax on top of the paint to distress it and age it!

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