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An Eye On Design:

February 27, 2014

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Hand-Me-Down Rehab: The Little Vanity that Could

March 16, 2015

Bring the girls together for a relaxing afternoon of refurbishing.

What do you get when you mix: One hand-me-down vanity, two can's of borrowed paint, a few brushes, a cheese and crackers platter, Thin Mint cookies, and a Gilmore Girls marathon? One kick-ass girl's day in!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, paint really DOES make all the difference! It took no time at all to transform this cute little hardwood vanity into a periwinkle treasure and only six items were needed.


Here's the short list of necessities:
  • Paint brushes

  • Paint (color of your choosing) in Semi-gloss

  • Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)

  • Paper towels or a dust cloth

  • Drop cloth (trust me, you'll need it), and

  • A screwdriver (to remove hardware) 

A Simple Request


When my friend Kaitlin sent out a blanket request for paint from anybody who had some to spare, it only took a moment for me to respond with "What color did you have in mind?" Luckily, I had a few different shades of each color she was interested in. When she asked if I wanted to help out, it really didn't take much thought about what my answer would be at all. So, with paint in hand I made the trek across town and spent the afternoon sipping on iced tea, eating cheese and crackers, and painting a vanity she got from her mom; all while watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I don't know about you... but that's a pretty awesome afternoon in my book.


For painting any hardwood piece of furniture the steps are simple, Clean-Sand-Clean-Paint-Let Dry. That's it.


Variations only arise if you want to do something a little more... like distressing the piece, adding an interesting texture or finish, or the piece requires stripping or repair. Luckily, this piece didn't require stripping or repairs of any kind; however, Kaitlin did want the vanity to feel aged, like it had been found in this color, rather than freshly painted. Great choice for this piece!

Step One: Clean and Sand

First step is to remove hardware using a screwdriver, then clean whatever piece you're working on. Use lukewarm water with a bit of mild detergent and a sponge to clean off dirt and anything sticky. Then lightly go over the wood, sanding in the direction of the grain, with a medium grit piece of sandpaper. This is to remove any existing finishes that may keep paint from adhering to the wood. Lastly, using a fine grit of sandpaper go over the piece again, still working in the direction of the grain, to smooth out the surface.


Step Two: Clean and Paint

Next, dust off all particles of sanding residue using a clean cloth or damp paper towel. Using an all-purpose acrylic paint brush paint thin layers of paint onto the piece, also going in the direction of the grain in the wood. Allow the paint to dry, then add a second cover if desired.


Step Three: Add Accent Color

At this point we decided to add an accent color of paint inside of the drawer for an added element of surprise. Using an almost mint-green paint we painted the inside base of the drawer, along with the interior sides. Then allow the entire piece to dry for the length of one episode of Gilmore Girls... or about an hour, depending on how you tell time.


Step Four: Strategic Distressing

After the piece had time to dry we took a piece of fine girt sandpaper and lightly sanded around the edges of the piece where natural wear-and-tear would occur, near edges and corners. Lightly dust off the piece again, then 'wah-la'... Your done! 

Step Five: Dressing the Vanity

Nothing left to do but put things back into place.




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