Nursery furniture = finished!

Get ready for a series of nursery posts, because I have been fully entrenched in nursery decor for the last month! The project I was most excited to complete for the nursery was the refinishing of a dresser and changing table. There were a few reasons for that.

First, I was having wood issues due to my father in law’s generous offer to make us a bookcase, and my general preference for actual wood tones for well made furniture. I decided the best way to solve the problem of not wanting to go ALL dark furniture, but also not wanting one pieces that did not match— was to make it so nothing really matched. We decided on a dark stain for the bookcase, recognizing that is our general preference for wood stain and that this bookcase will last far longer than our nursery will. Then we did black for the crib, to coordinate with the dark bookcase without being too “matchy,” and I decided I wanted the other furniture to be an actual color. Having three different wood tones makes it feel intentionally mismatched/coordinated (I think?) rather than just letting the bookcase be the only thing not matching.

Second, I’m cheap. I actually care about the nursery looking cute, unlike some other rooms I’ve done on the cheap (guest room!) where the main idea is make it comfortable but not spend any money on it. But despite my desire for cute, you could easily spend thousands decorating a room and I just was not cool with that. Babies are expensive and let’s be honest, a cute nursery is more for me than her. So getting craigslisted furniture and redoing it, while sort of challenging, is definitely the most cost effective way to get something really cute.

Third, I ❤ DIY, especially stuff like repainting furniture. It feels like such a big upgrade and it just isn’t that hard.

So, that’s the why. Here’s the show and tell. The first piece I knew I needed was a dresser. It took two or three weeks of looking every day in both Columbus and also Cleveland (my dad had offered to pick one up there if I found something I liked to widen my search radius) before I found THE ONE. What I was looking for was something about four feet wide (had to fit between the door and closet), short, hardwood, and very solidly built. Oh also, cheap. I saw some gorgeous mid-century dressers for sale, but if I wanted to pay $400+ for a dresser I’d go to Macys.

Finally(!) I found the dresser I’d been looking for. It was precisely the right dimensions, was solid hardwood, and looked solidly built.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.45.24 PM

Ugly knobs, but that is fixable. Oh, and it was listed for only $125. I offered $100 and to have it picked up same-day (it was in Cleveland and my dad said he could grab it over lunch). And just like that, it was mine!

When we got it back to our house, the first thing we did was start removing the hardware and the drawers.


And the refinishing part was actually incredibly easy. We sanded the whole thing, just by hand, with a 250 grit sanding block to rough up the surface and take off any furniture polish that was lingering. We then wiped it down really well to make sure there was no dust left. Then we just painted it with a 6″ foam roller– that is it! No primer, no special tools. We did need a chip brush to do the edges of the drawers, but doing all three coats took less than 2 hours. For paint we used no-voc enamel from Home Depot (neither Lowes nor Menards carried any enamel paints that were no-voc, so if you care about fumes I’d start at Home Depot! It was about $20 for a gallon, which turned out to be wayyyy too much. Could’ve easily done a quart). I decided on a pale aqua color. Even though it is a girl’s room, I wanted it to be full of various tones of aqua and gold with just SOME pink. No pepto-spolosion. We also replaced the knobs to something more modern. We got “crystal” pulls from Menards ($3.99 each) for the top drawers and some gold handles (90 cents each) from Lowes for the lower drawers. So the total cost of this dresser + paint + new hardware? Less than $150.



Looooove. I am obsessed with it. It is exactly what I wanted, and so completely worth the effort. Which brings me to the next piece of furniture I refinished.. the changing table. Initially I said I wouldn’t buy a changing table because I figured we could just put a changing pad on the dresser, so why spend $200 on a changing table? Well, because I happened across one on craigslist that was all cute and spindle-y and only $30. I knew I’d be buying paint for the dresser anyways so it was really JUST the cost of the table to consider, and for $30 it seemed totally worth it to have a dedicated changing table with storage shelves beneath.


What I didn’t initially consider was what a pain in the ass it would be to paint all those spindles. ALL THOSE SPINDLES. I used the same process to paint this piece. Rough it up with sandpaper (roughing up ALL THOSE SPINDLES), then paint with no primer. Let’s just say… my mom had two coats of the dresser completely done before I’d gotten half done with the first coat of this monster. Spindles are just the worst. But? After hours and hours, and a bit of “claw hand” syndrome from holding a chip brush for so long….



Okay, also worth it. I love it! But it was definitely more of project than the dresser.

So, that is *almost* all of the furniture for the nursery. Our bookcase won’t come until after the baby is born and my father in law comes to visit, and I have one more item I’ll share in another post!



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