Garage Sale Refinish

My dad was in the Air Force until I was 16, and we moved every 1.5 to 4 years. When I was 8, my parents bought their first home. Homeownership gave my parents the opportunity to do things they’d been unable to do while we lived in base housing. My mom finally got to hang curtains, they repainted almost every room, they changed light fixtures, and they got new carpet.

Their improvements took them, and me, to a store I hated going to: Lowe’s. While they debated light fixtures, carpet, paint colors, and wallpaper borders (#90sKid), I resisted the urge to cry. It was so boring. I groaned every time our 1993 teal green Ford Aerostar pulled into the Lowe’s parking lot.

I knew I was officially an adult when I no longer disliked Lowe’s.

Their former slogan, “Never Stop Improving,” must have been a winner, because it comes to mind whenever I work on projects.

I love making things better. I love seeing something and knowing that it has potential just waiting to be revealed. It’s a mixed blessing. I look around my house and make a mental list of all of the projects I would love to do and changes I dream of making. It’s so much fun to see the finished project, but my husband probably groans whenever I start dreaming.

My latest project came from my grandma-in-law’s house. She’s lived in the same home for decades, and her kids recently redecorated it. The old furniture found its way to my house just in time for our garage sale. One of the pieces caught my attention as soon as I saw it. I knew it had potential.

I had the supplies left over from other projects, and decided to put in a little bit of work so that I could increase the sale price at our garage sale.

Here’s the piece before!

It’s solid wood, and I knew it had the potential to be beautiful! We started by sanding it down with a palm sander. (The sandpaper was the only thing I didn’t already have.)

It took a little bit of work to get the finish off, and I think I did a little bit more sanding after I took the last picture of the the top—at least I hope I did!

After staining the top with an espresso stain, I added a coat of chalk paint to the legs and drawers.

Confession: I’ve never used store bought chalk paint on furniture. I’ve used diy chalk paint for my last four refinishing projects. The recipe I’ve used is 1 part water + 1 part plaster of Paris + 3 parts paint.

First mix the water and plaster of Paris together. Mix until there aren’t any clumps. Next, add the paint to the mixture and stir.

Super simple, and it works well. The best part is, it’s so much less expensive than buying pre-made chalk paint. I’m a fan. I bought a gallon of Dover White a few months ago when I refinished a couple of Facebook Marketplace dressers for our master bedroom, and I still have tons of paint and plaster of Paris left.

First coat!

The first coat is always scary. It looks awful. For my first couple of projects, I thought, “Oh no! What have I done?!” Thankfully, after two more coats, it starts looking great.

After the third coat dried, I gently sanded all of the chalk painted finish until it became smooth to the touch. I sanded the corners and edges a little more roughly to distress some of the table, and after wiping off the dust, I sprayed it with a layer of polycyclic. The antique brass drawer pulls were leftover from another project, and they fit the style of the table perfectly.

Pretty much everyone at the garage sale stopped to look at this table. Unfortunately for them, it was one of the first things that sold. My almost pro-garage-saler aunt said before the makeover, I could have sold the table for $15. Thanks to a little bit of work/fun and supplies I already had on hand, it sold for $80!

I’ve already started on my next project: an IKEA Malm nightstand hack. Keep an eye out for it!