From Antique Vanity to New Farmhouse DIY Nightstands: A Tutorial

Our DIY nightstands all finished!

Being a military wife has it’s own unique struggles. One of which is making your furniture fit into houses of all different shapes and sizes. Which is why I recently had to get some DIY nightstands.

DIY nightstands
(Our DIY nightstands turned out so good!)

Our house in Texas is a little smaller than our house at Fort Bragg. So, when we moved our furniture into the master bedroom, it wouldn’t all fit.

The nightstands we used for years, were actually a set of end tables that matched our coffee table. We had to find some new nightstands and they HAD to be narrow in order to fit in our new room.

When it comes to furniture, we haven’t bought anything new, except our mattress and our couch. Everything else has been given to us/thrifted and then refurbished. You can see we have a pretty eclectic mix of furniture:

I love a good DIY project and I knew the perfect piece for our new DIY nightstands.

My dad has had an antique vanity sitting out in his barn for years and was more than happy to let me refurbish it (thanks, Dad!).

Here’s how we changed an antique vanity into farmhouse nightstands.

Step 1: Cut the Vanity in Half

The first step is to chop up the antique vanity into pieces.

We removed the mirror and set it aside. Then using a skill saw, we cut the top of the vanity next to the drawers.

We made sure to leave extra length on the vanity top, in case we made a mistake routing the edge. It looked a little wonky because one side was longer than the other, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

How we turned an antique vanity into nightstands.
(A before picture of one of the nightstands.)

Step 2: Sand It Down

After the nightstands were chopped into two separate pieces, it was time to sand it down and get it ready for painting.

Before we could get started sanding, I removed the hardware from the drawers.

Using our orbital sander and 120-grit sanding discs, I sanded down the existing varnish. I didn’t worry about removing ALL of varnish on the sides and front faces since those areas were getting painted. I just made sure to rough it up enough to hold paint.

However, on the tops, drawers, legs, and wood detail on the bottom, I made sure to sand all of the varnish off. These were sections that we were going to leave wood and not paint over.

Sanding our DIY nightstands.
(I took all of the old varnish off of the top of the nightstands.)

Step 3: Primer & Paint

Once sanding was complete on the DIY nightstands, it was on to priming and painting. Before getting the brushes out though, I taped off the wood detail at the bottom of the nightstands and the legs. (I forgot to get a picture of this part.)

I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer as a base for my paint. When you’re painting wooden furniture white you need to use a primer to keep your paint from yellowing.

I covered the primer with a creamy white paint – Sherwin Williams Showcase Stain-Blocking Paint & Primer. This paint also has a stain-blocking quality, which seems like overkill, but once you spend hours refurbishing a piece of furniture for it to turn yellow, you don’t take any chances!

Putting primer on our DIY nightstands.
(Adding primer to our DIY nightstands.)

Step 4: Staining & Touch Ups

While the paint was drying, I added some stain to the pieces that we were remaining wood.

We did a few touch-ups to the wood detailing on the bottom and the legs. There wasn’t too much to do, since the tape held up better than I expected.

Touching up the wood details on our DIY nightstands.
(Touching up the wood details.)

Step 5: Add Hardware & Enjoy!

Finally, it was time to add the final touch and return the hardware to the drawers. I liked the hardware that was on the vanity originally, so I just cleaned it up and re-used it.

The DIY nightstands fit so much better in our bedroom now! And they match our style and the rest of our thrifted/refurbished furniture.

Our DIY nightstands all finished!
(Our DIY nightstands are all finished!)
The wood details on the farmhouse nightstands.
(I adore the wood details on these farmhouse nightstands.)

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