Finding a piece of solid wood furniture at a garage sale or a flea market is a serious picker's score. Trouble is, these diamonds in the rough often look like castoffs from Grandma's house.
But with a little creativity, you can give your treasure a second chance at high style, says Sue Nadeau of Three Vintage Chicks, a Phoenix-based vintage furniture dealer and refinisher.
Before you start, you'll need to prep your piece: Remove all hardware, then sand the item and wipe it down with a barely damp cloth. "You really don't need to strip furniture unless it's covered with layers of paint," Nadeau says. "Most paint today provides excellent coverage."
Here are two ways to gussy up a typical piece—a six-drawer chest.
If there are double hardware holes on the top two drawers, fill them in and drill single holes. Next, paint the entire piece with warm white chalk-style paint. When it's dry, sand lightly along the edges and top to achieve a worn look. Now create the streaked, aged appearance you're after by sealing it with a light and dark wax. Dry brush the original hardware with the same paint, wax and reinstall.
First, you'll need to make room for the plumbing. Start by removing the back of the piece and all drawers, permanently attaching only the fronts of the two top drawers. Then cut the top to accommodate your sink. If you're using a vessel sink, you can keep the original dresser top, sealing it with a piece of clear glass. If you opt for a drop-in model, you'll have to add a countertop. Paint the entire piece (including the interior) with satin paint. The color's up to you, but may we suggest something soothing like powder blue?