A Nightstand’s Story: From Curbside to Bedside

by Katy on September 27, 2015 · 11 comments

The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!

The “before” shot of my curbside nightstand. It’s certainly a sturdy piece of furniture, but is uglier than a stampeding “Black Friday” mob. I do like the detail at the foot though.

The top surface of the nightstand was less than impressive.

The post-sanded nightstand. Please excuse the photo, the sun was kind of harsh at this point.

The post-primer step. So far so good.

Here is the nightstand after two coats of semi-gloss latex paint I gleaned from my mother’s basement.

The top surface of the nightstand looks super crappy. I waited between coats, and even thinned the paint a little bit. I think it turned out this way because the sun came out while I was painting the last coat, and it was drying as I was painting. I would have thought I was immune to this possibility here in Oregon. (I guess I should have worked on this project in June, when it was cloudy every lovin’ day!)

Here is the nightstand with some Goodwill baskets thrown into the cubbies. It is not perfect, but it’s a thousand times better than before. The ugly knob is still in place, but only because there are three (?) drilled holes behind the face plate, which means I couldn’t use the cute beveled glass knob I had in mind. I may paint it black.

I am slightly frustrated that this piece of furniture is not as impressive as The Frugal Girl’s masterpieces. But I am not going to start over again. This nightstand will be going into our spare bedroom, which is a week-and-a-half away from becoming the not so spare bedroom. This is because we will be hosting a Japanese teaching assistant for six months, and I highly doubt that he will spurn our hospitality due to my poor painting efforts.

I am putting a full effort into decluttering the house this week in preparation to having this addition to our family, and apologize if too many of my posts focus on the subject.  (I guess I’m nesting?!)

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Janice Ritchie September 27, 2015 at 4:37 pm

It looks very nice, you should be proud of giving it a new life


Sandy September 27, 2015 at 5:27 pm

Lovely clean lines on this piece! For the top, it could be sanded lightly/moderately until smooth. Wipe with tack cloth and another coat of paint applied in the shade. This could be done at any time in the future if it still bothers you!
I have several painted pieces. I usually get a piece of glass cut to fit and the edges polished. Between the glass and the painted surface are four silicone disks, one at each corner to keep glass from sticking.
Nice project!


Nancy September 28, 2015 at 7:12 am

It looks awesome!


Ruby September 28, 2015 at 7:41 am

I think it looks lovely and much improved. And with time, the top will get a little worn and the paint job won’t be noticeable.

The lines of that piece and the trim detail reminds me of a second-hand 1920s dresser I had as a child. It had handles on the drawers made out of some kind plastic — maybe it was Bakelite? — that mimicked the curved lines and the trim on the base.


crunchycon September 28, 2015 at 7:42 am

One of my favorite articles from the old Tightwad Gazette was the nightstand she and Jim crafted out of an old sewing table and random odds and ends. This article is a worthy successor to that one.


JD September 28, 2015 at 8:48 am

I like that! The baskets are exactly right for the shelves; how often does that happen?
I wish I’d taken pictures of the really ugly furniture my daughter and I picked out at a second-hand store’s bargain room for her to take to her college apartment bedroom. It was solid wood, though, and since nothing matched, we sanded and painted it all the same color. Ten years later, it still looks good!


Cari Eddy September 28, 2015 at 8:58 am

So cute! And that knob had me at hello. I vote to keep it!


Katy September 28, 2015 at 9:48 am

Thanks, I did keep it!


Elizabeth September 28, 2015 at 1:54 pm

I really do like it! Very nice!


April September 30, 2015 at 5:58 pm


read this JUST BEFORE your post.


He will be grateful though. lol.


Suzanne September 30, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Kudos on the Japanese visitor in your spare room as that should help the college fund! I am an American living (permanently) in Japan. Unless he’s been westernized, I’m sure he will appreciate your frugal ways as that is second nature here and one of the reasons why I can feel so at home. About the only things most families splurge on are (1) high quality green tea and (2) high quality white Japanese grown rice. A frugal trick at our house is to make our green tea richer tasting by adding a bit of matcha powder to loose leaf green tea before brewing. When I buy new leaf tea, I add a very small amount of matcha powder to my tea canister and then roll it to mix well. We also wash (rinse) our rice several times before cooking for best flavor. Everything is very expensive here so we try to squeeze every last drop out of both products and experiences. Also, you might let him know that American Starbucks usually still sells a Short size coffee even though it is not listed on the menu (as it is here in Japan). Katy – I so admire your hard work, blog tips and efforts to save . You inspire me to do all the more.


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