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How to Refurbish a Nightstand

Transform a secondhand table into a gorgeous new piece of furniture in just five simple steps.

By Suzonne Stirling

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Refurbished nightstand
Peter Ardito
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I spend a lot of time poking around thrift shops hunting for castoffs to fix up. It's a great way to save money and give furniture that otherwise might land in the trash heap a second chance. Take a nightstand I recently bought for $20. It's run-of-the-mill, but the little details on the front caught my eye. (Go to the next slide to see it before.) My first thought was simply to freshen it up with a coat of paint. But once at home, I decided to try fabric as a decorative element. In the end it didn't take much work to turn this table into something out of the ordinary.

Step 1: To prepare for priming, lightly sand inside and out with a medium (100 grit) sandpaper. Wipe all surfaces with a rag. Fill any cracks or chips with stainable wood filler and let dry thoroughly. Sand and wipe down the filled areas.

Step 2: Brush on two thin coats of primer and let dry. Oil-base creates a more durable finish, but you can use latex-base if you prefer.

Step 3: Remove drawer. Apply two coats of semigloss latex paint—let dry between coats—leaving the nightstand top and the front of the drawer unpainted.

Step 4: Cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover the top and wrap around the edges. Cut a second piece to fit the front of the drawer and wrap around the edges. Iron fusible web, cut to fit, onto the wrong side of both pieces. When cool, remove paper liners. Next iron fabric directly onto the top of the stand. Pull cloth taut using iron or fabric glue to adhere under the edge. Iron fabric to front of drawer, wrapping around edge. Snip excess from the corners and reinforce with fabric glue to prevent fraying.

Step 5: Attach new pull in existing holes or drill new ones.

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