An electric sander helps strip stained or painted furniture more easily than sanding by hand! -

Your Go-To Guide: How to Refinish and Update Old Furniture Part 1

In Blog, Decor, How To Guides by Megan Hodge2 Comments

Remember this bed side table/dresser I talked about in part 5 of our bed frame series? This is a photo of a wood bedside table that has two drawers.  Well I am finally going to show you how I refinished it!  I think a lot of times we look at new furniture and new décor items in stores without seeing the potential of items we already own.

This bed side table/dresser came from a bedroom set Ian grew up with.  Before this, Ian’s dad grew up with this same furniture.  So, these bed side tables have seen a lot of years.  They are made entirely out of wood and are extremely sturdy.  I also love the drawers.  Ian and I have tiny closets in our home, so we tend to use all the drawers and shelves we can!

Yet again, this is another fact about our house that makes my minimalist self so happy. 😀 Because of our limited closet and storage space, Ian and I have had to drastically reduce the items of clothing we own.  We are actually working on building a capsule wardrobe with high quality pieces, so we can continue to reduce how much we have.  Clutter free is the life!  Even though Ian sometimes disagrees 😉

This set came along with some of the other furniture Ian and I were given from my mother-in-law and father-in-law.  We did not want to spend the money on new bedside tables, so I started thinking about how I could update these tables to fit in with my vision for our master bedroom.  So, here is what I decided.  I would strip down all the wood.  Then, I would stain the sides and face of the drawers with the same natural wood stain we used for our built-in, industrial, computer desk, use a wax finish, then I would paint the top, outline of the drawers, and outline of the sides in white furniture paint.  I wanted to keep some of the wood look because this wood is gorgeous!  For the drawer pulls, I decided to go with agate pulls.  I felt the tables needed something pretty and sophisticated.  These pulls were the perfect complement!

The first part of this series details how to properly strip wood so you can refinish furniture.  The second part details how to stain, paint, and create decorative drawer pulls.  I like to use an electric sander because I feel it goes faster, especially if you are stripping furniture. An electric sander helps strip stained or painted furniture more easily than sanding by hand! -

How to properly strip furniture:

  1. Using an electric sander, attach a 50 or 60 grit piece of sandpaper. Using a low grit sand paper is essential when you are initially stripping furniture! -
  2. Going in the direction of the grain of the wood, sand your furniture piece on all sides until all the previous stain or paint is removed, and you see the bare wood.
    1. Remember to apply new pieces of sand paper as needed.
    2. The initial stripping can be difficult and take some time. Do not worry!  It gets quicker and easier with each finer grit you use, so know that the lowest grit will be the most difficult.
    3. Always start with your lowest grit first and work your way up from there!
  3. After thoroughly sanding your furniture with the 50 or 60 grit, now attach an 80 grit piece of sandpaper to your sander.
  4. Thoroughly sand your furniture. It should be easier sanding with this grit since you are not removing any previous stain.
  5. Attach a 120 grit piece of sandpaper to your sander, and thoroughly sand your furniture.
  6. Finally, attach a 220-piece grit of sandpaper, and sand your furniture.
    1. You can go up to a higher grit than 220 if you so desire!
  7. Wipe off your furniture with a clean rag to remove the sawdust.
  8. Then, go over your furniture with a piece of tack cloth to further remove any particles to prepare your wood for staining or painting.

It took me about 1 hour to sand one of the side tables.  I alternated between two different sanders Ian and I have.  One is an orbital sander with a square to place the sand paper in clips, and the other is a mouse sander that allows you to use different attachments to get corners on furniture.  I love both, but if you have furniture with a lot of corners and crevices, I recommend a mouse sander. Stripping furniture for refinishing is not as difficult as it seems! An electric sander is extremely helpful. Check out the blog for more tips!

Your furniture is now a blank canvas for you to be as creative as you want to be!  You can stain, paint, or even use a stencil to make your old furniture look like new.  In my next post I will show you how to stain, finish, and paint your stripped furniture piece, as well as my creative solution for making your own decorative drawer pulls!  It is actually much easier than it sounds.

Have you tried refinishing furniture you already own?  How did it turn out?

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