Six Furniture Before and After Stories


This is a post about furniture before and after stories. However, first I have to tell you how I arrived at the idea for this blog post. So, please bear with me.

I was organizing my photos from last year. This is a significant undertaking because I always have a ton of photos and am never sure how to best organize them. Initially, I organized them based on the subject of my photographs. This didn’t work out too well because after the 15th antique dresser that I photographed, I ran out of names for the different dressers. So, now, I decided to organize all my photos by date. The big question is – what the heck did I photograph on any particular date? I guess I have to open the folder with the photos to find out.

Anyway, before carrying on, the purpose of this post is to share with you 6 of my favorite “Before” and “After” furniture stories from last year. I came across these projects as I was organizing my photos.

Being that temperatures in upstate New York are in the single digits outside, working on furniture in the garage or outside – is definitely out of the question. Which is why I decided to spend my free time organizing my photos on a cold January day.

Flow Blue Sideboard

This furniture before and after was a time consuming but fun transformation. I started working on this project in June, just as the temperature outside were really starting to get warm.

Before and after photos of painted sideboard

The “Before” photo doesn’t really capture the gloppy, chunky, thick and unruly white paint job that encased the antique sideboard. The majority of time was spent removing all the old paint. If you want to know the details you can visit the post HERE. I am also happy to report that after I refurbished this sideboard, it was selected by the MMS milk paint company as one of the winners for its July furniture makeover contest. This sideboard has since sold.

Small Chippy Chest of Drawers

Some projects are deceiving because they look easy and then they require waaay more work and time than you expect. This is one such project. The small chest of drawers was made out of solid wood and was really good quality but the drawback was that its original finish was just so boring. The piece really needed some character.

unpainted chest of drawers and painted chest of drawers

So, I decided to give it a makeover with milk paint AFTER I sanded the entire piece and wiped it down.

Then I enthusiastically applied the milk paint and waited and waited and waited. . . for the natural chipping to occur. Low and behold – it DID chip. Wonderful! However it chipped WAY TOO MUCH. Oh no! It was practically shedding paint just because I looked at it. Ugh!

So, I went back and fixed it and repainted it again. You can read all about what I did in this post HERE. MMS milk paint also shared this project on their blog as an example of how to fix excessive milk paint chipping. This little piece is in my office and is perfect for storing all my office supplies. I love it.

Antique Pine Dresser

This was such a fun furniture before and after project. This orange toned dresser had its original glass knobs and was made of pine. So, I could see past the bad orangish stain (it was like a bad fake tan) and knew it had potential.

Antique dresser before with orangish finish and after with a raw pine finish

To give it this softer raw wood finish, I sanded it. More accurately, it required a lot of sanding. I wrote a couple of blog posts with some videos about the makeover process HERE and HERE. This piece sold within the first 24-hours of putting it in my booth.

Depression Era Dresser

Ok, so I didn’t do a full post on the makeover of this furniture before and after. I was so busy working on multiple pieces at the same time, that I forgot to take photos during the process of stripping, sanding and fixing.

Before and After of 1930s era dresser when painted grey

However, I did photograph this piece of furniture to showcase why I love using milk paint. Most notably, milk paint is great to use on antique furniture because it compliments the furniture and creates a finish that looks naturally aged.

You can read the details about this piece and why I choose to use milk paint HERE. This dresser sold and is no longer available.

Antique Oak Dresser

I was happily surprised with the natural color of the oak that was under the dark brown stain of this dresser. I believe that the dresser was made out of white oak.

Antique Oak Dresser Before and After dark stain vs natural wood finish

This project was fun and relatively straightforward compared to some others I worked on. Thankfully, there were no hidden surprises. This little dresser just required a LOT of sanding and some new glass knobs. The best part about this little dresser is how sturdy it is after all these years. The wheels still work and the drawers still function. You can read about the transformation of this piece HERE. This little dresser will be heading over to Stone Soup Antiques soon.

White Painted Oak Dresser

Remember how I said the previous piece was relatively easy to transform? Nothing could be further from the truth for this little dresser. Holy moly. This formerly green dresser required the use of a heat gun to remove 600 coats of paint. (Ok, that was an exaggeration.)

Before and After antique green dresser turned into a white dresser

This dresser also required new drawer bottoms, which we had to cut from plywood. The old drawer bottoms had cracked and were warped – so they just weren’t functional. Finally, some of the drawer rails had come loose and needed to be re-attached.

With all of that work – I am happy to say it turned out great. This piece was highlighted by MMS milk paint on their Instagram account and it was also a featured piece for Home Talk. So, all that work did pay off! You can read about the whole process, including the saga of removing 600 layers of paint, HERE. I currently use this dresser in my home for photography. Some day I will take it to Stone Soup Antiques to sell, but right now it is staging my inventory for photographs.


Whew! Just remembering all those projects makes me tired. Anyway, I hope you found some inspiration today. Remember, if I can refinish these pieces – you can too. It just requires dedication, persistence and a little trial and error. If you embark upon a furniture transformation journey – please share your story with me. I would love to hear it.

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  1. I have a country looking wood entertainment center a antique looking small desk and a antique looking coffee table that I’d love to paint boho chic with pinks and teals any ideas on which color should go on which

    1. Hi Lori –
      I would say paint them a color you love. Try to imagine all the pieces together in a room and paint them colors that would compliment them collectively. Also, I would look at your existing decor and other furniture pieces to help guide you in your color selection. Hope this helps.

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