Ikea Tarva Night Stand Hack

An Ikea Tarva Night Stand gets a custom update in this DIY furniture hack. With a little paint, stain, tape and a change of hardware you can transform Ikea Furniture. Follow along to learn how to give Ikea furniture a modern, custom look.

You’ve probably heard of Ikea hacks by now. They are ways to customize Ikea furniture to make it look more unique, updated and fun! So what makes this Ikea hack different? Mustard paint and some painters tape.

I’ll show you step by step how to paint a geometric design on the well know Ikea Tarva nightstand. It’s a simple process with a stunning and unique result!

Here’s the supplies used for this update:

(Affiliate links are provided below for your convenience)

Tarva Nightstand

Mustard Chalk Paint

Light Grey Paint

Painters Tape

Gel Stain


Gold Bar Pull

Wood Filler

Drill Gun 


I had previously updated this night stand using a darker stain, so this is what it looked like before.

If you’re just purchasing, assemble the nightstand according to the instructions. Or do what I do – wing it without the instructions until I’m in tears, then ask for help.

Seriously though, if you can assemble Ikea furniture without a cinch, you deserve an award!

Find the Center and Tape Off

Then, find the Center of the nightstand and mark it.

This will be the point of your triangle.

This will be the tip of the triangle. Tape from the marked center to each bottom corner. A trick to make clean lines with frog tape is to brush over the tape with a wet towel. This activates the adhesive in the tape. 

Paint it Grey

Paint the top and the top half of the triangle in a light grey. Let that dry for a few minutes and then remove the tape .

paint night stand

Tape Off Some More

I actually liked the two tone look with the grey and the wood a lot. You could leave it as is, or continue to add some funky mustard!

After the grey paint dries, tape off the top matching the tape to the center point. I wanted just a little more mustard to peek through the front so I taped off a little higher.

Paint the Triangle

Paint the inside of the triangle with Colonel Mustard. It took 2 coats to get complete coverage! Let it dry for a minute or two – and then peel it off. My favorite part may be peeling the frog tape off..

So satisfying! 

Stain the drawer and the legs with gel stain or regular stain. The best part about the Tarva style is it comes with no finish, so its all ready for stain. Fill the original knob hole with a little bit of wood filler and stain that as well.

staining legs

Wrapping it Up

I wanted to protect the new paint and stain so I sealed it with a layer of water based Polycrylic.

Measure and mark the length of the new pull, and drill holes to match.
Screw the new hardware on, and enjoy your new custom piece of furniture!

What do you think? Next time you’re at ikea consider picking up one of these nightstands and have a little fun with some painters tape! Let me know if you have any more Ikea hacks, I can’t get enough of em.

Here’s a little graphic, I’d love if you pinned it for later!

How to Blend Chalk Paint Like a Pro | Dresser Makeover

blend chalk paint on a dresser

A old wooden French Provincial dresser gets a makeover using Dixie Belle Mineral Chalk Paint and Minwax Stain. Learn how to blend chalk paint on a dresser and how to refinish a dresser top.

After painting its sister dresser white, I was ready for some color. I decided to pick a blend of two blue chalk paints. If you’ve been too intimidated to blend chalk paint on a dresser I want to change that. Seriously peeps, It’s SO easy. Blending is a great way to add dimension and let you highlight details on the furniture!

Supplies for Blending Chalk Paint Makeover –

(Affiliate links are provided below for your convenience)

Here’s the dresser before. It was in great condition, but the orange finish just had to go. I wanted to preserve the beauty of the wood on the top so I decided to re-stain it.

Staining the Top

To save time on sanding, I decided to strip the top of the dresser. Wearing proper protection I applied the stripper with a old paint brush and let it work its magic for 15 minutes.

Warning – this gets a lil messy.

Using a plastic putty knife I scraped off the stripper and the old finish.

Using 150 grit sandpaper I sanded the top to smooth out and get any remaining finish off.

Next I applied a coat of weathered oak and dark walnut stain mixed 50/50.

I let it soak for 5 minutes and then wiped it off in the direction of the grain.

I added another coat of dark walnut stain to make the top darker.

Time to Paint!

Then I moved onto the body of the dresser.

I did the standard prep like cleaning and sanding. For a more in depth prep guide, you can find that here.

Here’s a video so you can see the blended chalk paint –

Now its time for the fun stuff! I chose two blue colors to blend together. Vintage Duck Egg, and Stormy Seas. They are Dixie Belle Mineral Chalk paints and they blend like a dream!

If you’ve never blended chalk paint before don’t worry. It’s much easier than it seems and very hard to mess up! Work in small sections so you can blend while the paint is wet. If you want a less blended and more rustic look you can do some dry blending.

I use 2 brushes, one designated for the light color one for the dark. I applied the darker color around the edges.

Then I applied the lighter color in the middle.

Blend the Chalk Paint on the Dresser

Water is very important in helping the colors blend. Mist your flat head chalk paint brush with water.

Start blending where the two colors meet. Blend in long light strokes moving up into the darker color and then down to the lighter color. Mist the paint with water if it gets too dry to blend.

Then I did the same thing to the sides of the dresser.

Here is the dresser after the first coat all blended! I waited for it to dry then sanded very lightly with 220 grit to prepare for the final coat.

Final Blending

Now is when you get the blend exactly how you want it. The beauty of blending is you can achieve whatever look you want. I wanted a smooth blended look where you’re not able to tell where one color starts and the other ends.

I highlighted areas that I wanted to pop with the lighter blue, and blended them in.

Sealing the dresser

When everything was dry I applied a coat of Minwax Polycrylic to seal and protect the dresser.


I cleaned the hardware with Krud Kutter then let dry.

Then, I sprayed painted 3 coats of black spray paint letting the paint dry in between coats.

To wrap it up I screwed the hardware back on and staged the dresser!

Here’s the completed dresser all completed –

I hope this encourages you to give blending chalk paint a try. What do you think of the blue?

I’d love if you pin this project for later! Here’s a handy graphic for you.

10 Products You Need to Start Refinishing Furniture

Product recommendations to get you started refinishing furniture. Overwhelmed with all your options? This is everything you need to get your first furniture makeover completed.

When I started refinishing furniture, I probably blew through 500 bucks just buying random products. Does wax go over the sealer? How many primers do I need?

I wasted time and money on products I didn’t need.

If you’re getting started in the refinishing business there is going to be some start up costs. It’s a relatively lower overhead however, compared to other businesses.

Or maybe you’re just interested in refinishing that old dresser your grandma gave you – but you have no clue where to start. 

Here’s a list of 10 items that will get your first furniture makeover prepped, painted and out the door on a budget.  

Many of these items will stay in your painters tool kit and last you for many projects to come. 

(This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission on products ordered through the links, at no additional cost to you.)

1.Sandpaper Multipack

3M Sandpaper, Amazon.com

The first item that you will need for every project (yes, even chalk paint) is sandpaper. This is a multi pack that will help you smooth scratches before your first coat and do a light sanding in between coats. This is $3, please don’t skip it. 

2. Tack Cloths

Tack cloth
Tack Cloth, Amazon.com

If you want a flawless finish you need to use what the professionals use. And those are tack cloths. They are miracle little cheesecloth rags that pick up every speck of lint standing in the way of you and a perfect paint job. 

Before every coat of primer, paint or sealer you want to give a wipe with a tack cloth. 

Use a rag to clean off major dust from sanding, then use these to get the surface squeaky clean.  

3. Primer Zinsser 123

Zinsser Primer, Amazon.com

I prime the vast majority of my pieces. You will especially want to use primer if your project includes any of the following.

  • You are painting it a much lighter color. If you are painting a crisp white, light grey or a soft blue it’s best to prime beforehand. 
  • The wood has red tones (such as mahogany) that is notorious for bleed through. Primer will seal the wood and help stop bleed through. In this case I will use a shellac primer formulated to block the bleed through. 

If my project doesn’t fall under those two categories AND I’m using a chalk paint or paint with a built in primer like Behr Marquee then I will skip priming.

4.Paint Brush

wooster brush
Wooster Brush, Amazon.com

This is a basic brush that will get you through most projects. Don’t use this to apply anything oil based like stain, use a rag or chip brush for that. Keep this brush nice for your coats of paint and sealer. If you take good care of your brushes they will last a very long time. 

For a splurge 3 pack of FANTASTIC brushes, I recommend Purdy. I use these on almost every paint project.

5. Krud Kutter TSP Substitute

krud kutter
Krud Kutter, Amazon.com

As you know a paint job is only as good as its prep. Krud Kutter is a great cleaner that doesn’t need to be rinsed off.

It also helps degloss so the paint will adhere better.

6. Kilz Chalk Paint

Kilz Chalk Paint, Amazon.com

Paint is arguably the most important item needed to redo furniture.

Kilz is a great budget chalk paint. Its priced at $17, and there is many color choices.

If you can splurge for a higher end paint my all time favorite is Dixie Belle. It blends seemlessly and the colors are gorgeous.

For a non-chalk paint option, choose a high quality latex paint from the hardware store.

7. Spray Paint

Spray Paint, Amazon.com

If you want to paint your hardware you’ll need spray paint. It’s cheap and one can will last you many projects!

8.Minwax Polycrylic

After you paint it’d be a shame to not properly protect your paint.

The majority of paints and stains need a top coat, I use this almost every project. Its water based so clean up is easy and you can use it over light colors without the worry of yellowing.

Minwax Polycrylic, Amazon.com


Sander, Amazon.com

If you will be strickly painting and not staining, save your money and skip these last two.

But if you want to sand off a finish and restain it you’ll need an electric sander. There is many different kinds at all different price points, but a cheap Black and Decker will do the job great. This goes on sale for $20 so keep an eye out.


Minwax Stain, Amazon.com

Minwax stains are great for bringing up the beauty of the wood. There is many color choices, and at 8 bucks a can it’s hard to beat. Seal with a few coats of poly and you will have a finish that will last a long time!

Now Get Out and Paint!

I hope this helps you spend less time researching supplies and more time painting.

This is everything you need to complete a project, as long as you have a few basic items such as towels and screwdrivers. If you don’t those can be purchased at the dollar tree!

There is MANY great products out there, these are just a couple of my budget recommendations.

Make sure to subscribe so you never miss a DIY project.

What’s your favorite refinishing product? Or are you just getting started? Let me know in the comments!

Leah – Thrifted Nest

How to Gel Stain Laminate Furniture (Yes you can)!

A laminate MCM night stand gets a two tone makeover using gel stain and paint. Learn how to up your refinishing game by “staining” fake wood furniture. To watch the video tutorial click here.

For someone who flips furniture for profit – I have a confession. I’d been using a box for a night stand since we moved. I know, its embarrassing. I almost always choose to sell my furniture makeovers even when I need them!

Then I found this. Just what I needed, check out those legs.

laminate night stand

But, its laminate. To match my dresser I needed it to have stained drawers and a painted body. “But you can’t stain laminate”, is what they say. I knew there was a way.

Enter Gel Stain.

Gel stain is different from regular stain because it sits on the surface of the furniture instead on absorbing into the wood. Since laminate isn’t real wood and won’t absorb anything, it’s just what you need.

Essentially you are painting a coat of “stain” over the top to make it look like darker wood and not completely cover the grain like paint does. I’ve only done this with laminate that is printed to look like wood, and I’m not sure if it would work with other types laminate prints.


(Affiliate links are provided below for your convivence

Gel Stain

Krud Kutter

Tack cloths

Bin 123 Primer

Purdy Paint Brushes

150 Grit Sandpaper

Benjamin Moore Advance in Simply White

Foam Chip Brushes

gel stain, primer, paint, paint brush, sandpaper, krud kutter

Prep Piece

To get started, I cleaned the entire piece down with Krud Kutter.

clean with krud kutter

For a more in depth post all about furniture prep see Furniture Prep.

Lightly sand the laminate with 150 grit sandpaper. Laminate is very smooth and shiny so you MUST sand or the paint and the gel stain won’t stick.

Apply Gel Stain

I decided to stain the drawers and paint the body to match the dresser in my room. I love two tone MCM furniture.

Open your can of gel stain. If it looks like a gloopy mess, that’s perfect.

gel stain on brush

Using a cheap foam brush start painting the gel stain in the direction of the grain. I like to get a good amount on the brush and then work the stain all over the drawer until its a light thin coat.

paint on gel stain
gel stain on laminate

Since you aren’t rubbing it of like traditional stain it will dry how it is painted. So, paint a thin coat using long brush strokes to mimic the look of wood grain.

After you are done you can leave it as is or do another coat if you’d like it to be darker. I was happy with the color so I only did one coat of stain!

gel stained wood

This was seriously SO easy and I think it looks just like real wood. I’m so thrilled to find a way to preserve the look of wood grain with laminate furniture!

Painting the Body

After cleaning and sanding the body, I primed it with BIN 123 primer. I wanted to give the paint something to grip too since laminate is prone to peeling.

painting laminate

After I primed, I gave the piece another light sanding using 220 grit sandpaper.

Then using a high quality angle brush I painted the piece with Benjamin Moore Advanced in Simply White. When painting laminate its especially important not to overload your piece with thick paint or it can cause the laminate to bubble.

painting first coat

It took two coats to get complete coverage. I waited 16 hours in between coats. I also gave a light sanding using 220 grit sandpaper followed by a wipe down with a tack cloth.

Here’s the last coat!

last coat of paint

Benjamin Moore Advance was meant for cabinets so it has a durable built in top coat, so no need to seal. Just make sure to let your paint fully cure for a few weeks before it gets heavy use.

Stain the Legs

The legs looked awful, almost like brown paint. I wanted to keep them looking like wood instead of painting white. I’m not quite sure what material this was. It was either a thin layer of laminate over pressed board or veneer over pressed board.

The beauty of gel stain is the material doesn’t matter.

So I sanded off the brown paint/stain.

sanding legs

Then using another foam chip brush I painted the stain on the legs the same way I stained the drawers.

legs gel stain

To finish it up I sealed all the gel stain with Minwax Water Based Polycrylic. This seals in the color and protects the finish.

stained legs

Stir the poly. It will look milky and white but rest assured- it dries clear. Make sure the piece is lint free before you put on the top coat because everything will show through. Paint a thin coat in the direction of the grain.

Here is the finished night stand all put together. I’m in love! (and glad my stuff is out the box on my floor!)

I hope this encourages you to give gel stain a try on laminate furniture. Remember to Pin this for later!

How do you feel about laminate furniture? Let me know in the comments. If you enjoyed this make sure to subscribe to my email list for more furniture and home tutorials! See you next project.


How to Paint Furniture White

A beginners tutorial on how to paint furniture white. Learn tips and tricks on painting furniture white the right way.

White furniture is all the rage right now, and I don’t see it going anywhere any time soon.

It brightens up a room and matches pretty much any decor.

Looking for a farmhouse color for that dresser? Paint it white! Decorating Mid Century Modern? White paint works for that too.

But painting furniture white is a little more time challenging and time consuming than other colors. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how I painted this wooden dresser a bright, modern white.

Supplies For Painting Furniture White:

(Affiliate links are provided below.)

Visual Learners? Heres a video tutorial!

Step 1: Prep, Prep, Prep!

I know, you’re eager to get to painting. But prep is so important! Any dirt or grime left on the dresser will cause your white paint to not adhere properly.

For a more in depth post about properly prepping your furniture for paint, see this post HERE.

First, inspect the piece for any damage. Fill any holes with wood filler, repair any drawers.

Remove all hardware and put them in a labeled bag. Clean the dresser with a furniture cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water. I use Krud Kutter in a spray bottle. This is my favorite cleaner because it doesn’t need to be rinsed off. Less prep, yay! 

Now it’s time to hand sand the furniture. You don’t need to sand down to bare wood, just sand enough to remove the shine and give the primer something to grip.

Use a tack cloth or a damp rag to wipe off all the sanding dust.

sanding your diy white painted dresser

Step 2: Prime

One of my friends decided to paint her dresser white to brighten up her bedroom. She called me fed up after the third coat of paint and the wood was still bleeding through.

Priming, my friends! It’s seriously so important. Don’t waste your expensive paint and still risk bleed through.

A shellac based primer is best if you are painting a red wood that is notorious for bleed through.

painting primer on diy white painted dresser

Don’t worry too much about brush strokes, just get a thin coat of primer on. 

Here is what it looked like after the primer.

primed dresser

Step 3: Time to Paint 

For this dresser I chose Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Simply White. I love this paint because it doesn’t need a top coat. In addition it dries extremely slow to eliminate brush strokes. You can use another latex paint, or a chalk paint as well.

Here’s a tutorial using chalk paint.

Start painting a thin even coat, ending the strokes in the same direction.

painting dresser

The first, and even the second coat of white will look terrible so don’t fret.

Just keep painting! It’s a labor of love to get that smooth white.

After the coat is dry, sand lightly with 220 grit sandpaper. This smooths out any stray brush strokes and helps each coat stick.

Then, wipe the piece again with a tack cloth. Become close friends with that sandpaper and tack cloth, never paint a coat without them!

Keep an eye out for paint drips – but don’t keep going over the same area after its started to dry.  Benjamin Moore paint evens out very nicely, and if you overwork your paint you will actually end up with more brush strokes.

This was the dresser after 3 coats of paint.

3 coats is a lot, but it was worth it.

diy white painted dresser, before adding hardware.

No top coat is needed with Benjamin Moore Advance. If you are using a paint without a built in top coat, make sure to use something water based to seal your dresser.

Oil based polyurethane will yellow over time, so use something like General Finishes Water Poly.


You can choose to replace your hardware, or reuse it. I chose to spray paint it.

Heres an in depth tutorial on different ways to refinish furniture hardware.

Screw your hardware back on the dresser and you are done!

completed DIY white painted dresser

Here’s the before and after. Isn’t it amazing what some white paint can do?

Whats your favorite color to paint furniture?

Let me know in the comments below!



How to Prep Wood Furniture to Paint

How to prep furniture

The first step to a great paint job, is learning how to prep your wood furniture. This article teaches you step by step what is necessary, and what you can skip when you prep your wood furniture for paint.

It’s not the most fun step. It’s not why you got into the furniture redo game. But it is a step that pays off when you do it correctly.

Prepping your furniture before you paint is what makes the difference between cracked, peeling paint and a smooth professional finish.

After you’ve worked hard to find a quality piece of wood furniture the next step is prep it well.

I’ve tried the paints that claim “no prep”, and I’m not buying it. While it’s true some paint might need less prep, all furniture needs some prep. If you want the end result to look great and last, it’s worth the time to properly prep. Let’s talk about what’s necessary and what you can skip if you have a “no prep” paint. 


Affiliate links are provided below for your convenience)

sandpaper paint brush primer tack cloth

Start by removing all hardware and putting it in a labeled bag. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. 

Clean it Well!

Now it’s time to give your furniture a wash. This step can not be skipped! If you slap a coat of no prep paint on without cleaning I promise it will not look good. Dirt and oils collect on furniture that will cause your paint to not adhere properly. So wash that baby down.

I always give a good cleaning before I sand to get the major gunk off. Then you’ll just need a quick wipe down after sanding. 

 My all time favorite cleaner is Krud kutters tsp substitute. It does not need to be rinsed off like many other cleaners do. Another great option is a white vinegar and water solution. 

Spray your rag and work your way down from the top to the bottom. Use a toothbrush to clean off any fine details. 

Give it a Sand

I recommend giving a light sanding even if you are using “no prep” paint. A completely smooth surface doesn’t give the paint anything to bond with, so we need to scuff up the surface a bit. 

sand dresser

Using 150-180 sandpaper, give the piece a light sanding. Always sand the same direction of the grain. Work your way from the top to the bottom. Don’t sand all the way to bare wood, just enough to remove any shine. 

Wipe off the dust with a wet towel or you can use a shop vac. 

Time to Prime

The last step to prepping is priming. If you are using a no prep paint, you can skip this step. I still recommend doing one coat of primer if you are painting a light color. 

One of the worst feelings is finishing a piece of furniture only to find yellow or brown spots bleeding through the paint. The dreaded tannins. 

Red woods are the worst culprits although I’ve had trouble with other dark wood as well. Tannin bleed through is the most common when you are painting white or a light color. 

The best tannin fighter is a shellac based primer. I use BIN. Shellac primer is the most expensive, but I’ve never had a bleed through with it. 

If you are painting a dark color or not worried about bleed through, Bulls Eye 123 primer is also great.  

But Wait, Before You Prime Use This!

Tack cloths are a very important prep tool that will help you get a flawless finish. Seriously, these are a furniture flippers best kept secret.

Wipe your piece completely down again with a tack cloth just before you apply any paint or primer.

The trick is to wipe lightly so you remove all the dust and lint but not hard enough to leave a sticky residue.

They are very cheap and one cloth will last many projects if stored properly in a sealed bag. 

After your piece is wiped down, start priming a light coat working in small sections. Primer isn’t meant to cover completely, it’s okay for the wood to show through.

Prime your piece from top to bottom always looking a little behind for drips. Smooth those out quickly, but avoid over working the primer once it’s dried. Try to prime in the same direction, and don’t worry about brush strokes. The paint will hide those. 

priming dresser

Hardware Prep

If you are planning to paint your hardware, don’t forget to prep them too. Soak your hardware in a good cleaner. I use a mixture of krud kutter tsp substitute. 

soaking hardware in krud kutter

Give them a good scrub using a sponge or cloth. After they dry put the hardware in a cardboard box to spray. 

Using a hardware primer helps ensure a long lasting finish with no chips or cracks. I use bin 123 spray primer. Spray in a light even coat. Let dry to the touch, then turn hardware to coat the rest of it. 

Let dry thoroughly then your hardware is ready for paint.


Prep Work Complete!

Primed Furniture

Now that you’ve taken the time to properly prep your furniture you can be confident your paint job will look professional and last. Once you prep a few pieces you will get the steps down and it goes by quickly.

Move along to the fun part now, painting your furniture. Have you had success with “no prep” paint? Let me know in the comments below. Happy prepping!


Beginners Guide to Buying High-Quality Furniture to Flip

Hey friends! One of the most commonly asked questions I get is “would this piece make a good flip?” There is so much to consider when buying used furniture it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times. As a beginner, finding high-quality furniture at a bargain was something I really struggled with.

I picked my fair share of poor quality pieces. I rushed to buy something because I was eager to paint and it’s turned into a disaster.  Over time I learned what to look for. These 5 tips will help you pick quality pieces to refinish, every time.

1. Overall Construction 

dresser broken

The first part to look at when buying a piece to flip is the overall construction of the piece. Is it well-built? Or is it particleboard held together by staples and glue?

Even if you are the most talented artist out there, a flimsy dresser will still just be a nicely painted flimsy dresser.

So how do you distinguish the treasure from the trash? Here are the key signs to look for.

The Weight 

This is a simple but effective way to tell the quality of a piece. In general, if it’s very heavy it’s probably well made. Heavy = Solid wood. 

The Material 

Take a look at the top. If you see a thin piece covering the top, that’s veneer. Veneer is a very thin layer of real wood. It sits on top of another type of wood, either hardwood, plywood or particleboard.

Many Mid Century pieces were made with veneer and if it’s in good shape, it may be worth it to refinish. Especially if it has hardwood underneath. The veneer can be sanded and restained as long as you are careful to not sand through the veneer. 

Look closely at the wood grain. If it has no texture to it, its likely laminate. Laminate is printed to look like wood. It cannot be restained with traditional stain. It is the cheapest furniture to construct and the material I usually avoid.

The Drawers 

Dovetail drawers

Inspect the joints on the drawers. The joints are where two pieces of wood come together. 

The absolute best joints are dovetailed, and mortice and tenon. Screwed joints are also solid. Keep away from the flimsy joints that come apart easily, like staples.


The Brand

After taking a look at the joints, look on the inside of the drawers for any distinguishable markings. Also, look on the back or the underside of the piece.

A quick google search of the brand can give you a little history on the piece and help you understand its value. However, don’t rely soley on labels. They can wear off over time and many quality items never had markings at all.

2. Condition of the Piece

The condition of the item is so important. The number of repairs each person is willing to do varies based on skill level to personal preference.

wooden buffet

I’ve fallen in love with furniture that had broken legs, missing chunks of veneer or other major problems. During the repairs, I was thinking I’d rather be painting. 

Now I only select furniture that is in good condition. Check that there are no broken legs, or huge cracks, or other structural damage. Make sure the drawers glide smoothly. If they don’t, I make sure all the tracks are included and all it needs is a simple screw to fix it.

Is all the hardware included? If it’s not, factor in the cost of replacement hardware and how easy it will be to find it.

Smell the furniture. Yes, smell it. Is there an unusual odor? Smoke and pet odors are very difficult to get rid of. It there is a strong smell,  I’d recommend finding a different item.

Minor odors can usually be removed easily with a mixture of white vinegar and water.

sanding surface damage

Look at the condition of the finish. Are there large chunks of wood missing that can’t be filled easily with wood putty?

Minor damage to the finish is okay as long as it can be sanded down or painted over. These nightstands were covered with burns and scratches, they sanded off perfectly and it was no fuss. 

stained top

3. Style 

Select pieces that are selling well in your market. Browse local buy and sell pages and try to see what items are most popular.

Mid Century Modern is very popular right now. The features of this style are clean lines, smooth surfaces with minimal fuss. To spot MCM I look at the legs. Look for round tapered legs frequently set at an angle. 

Farmhouse is still very popular. Paint it white and it will sell. Just kidding, kind of.

Although the style is important, almost any solid piece can be made beautiful and will fit someone’s decor. Remember that updated hardware can go a long way in changing the overall look. 

    4. Price

Before you even go look at the piece, try to get a gauge of how much the item will sell for.  How much are similar items going for in your area? How much room is there in between the purchase and the selling price to make a profit?

 Make sure you factor in the cost of the supplies as well. For more pricing guidelines, download my free furniture pricing guide HERE.

Negotiate, negotiate negotiate. Especially at yard sales and on sites like Craigslist. They are usually looking to just get rid of their furniture quickly. The worst thing that they can say is no!

5. Time needed

Sure, that piece could seem like a great deal but if you know it will take 10 hours to strip, sand and stain and you can only sell it for $50 you need to pass. Select a piece of furniture that you can charge a fair wage for your time.

This could be the most important item listed. 

Value your labor, my friends. You are running a business and your time is not free. 

Remember that restaining generally takes longer than painting because it needs to be sanded down to bare wood. Painting white takes more time than darker colors because it requires more coats. 

Create your vision for the piece and estimate how much time it will take to fulfill it.

Once you’ve considered everything on this list and found the perfect piece, you are ready to bring it alive. Don’t rush, there is plenty of quality furniture out there if you hold out for it. It’s okay to be picky!

What is the best treasure you ever found to redo? Let me know in the comments! Make sure to subscribe to my email list for more furniture flipping tips and tutorials.


Easy DIY Rope and Bucket Pendant Light for only $10!

A tin and rope pendant light comes together in 30 minutes with supplies from the dollar tree and Ikea. Update your lighting with this budget lighting option. This is an easy DIY project that anyone can try!

I’m so thrilled to share with you this budget friendly pendant light you can make in 30 minutes for only $10! When I saw these metal buckets at Dollar Tree I knew I needed to scoop them up. I’ve seen a similar version light selling here for $140. So for $10 this light is a STEAL. I just love budget decor. Lets get started.

The supplies cost about $10. The only other supplies you need are a drill gun, a hot glue gun and glue.


(Affiliate links are provided below.)

  • Rope from the Dollar Tree
  • Metal bucket from the Dollar Tree
  • Pendant light kit ( I used one from ikea, but this one is similar)
  • Light Bulb
  • Drill Gun
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Ceiling hook

To start I drilled a hole at the base of the bucket. It needs to be large enough to thread the light through.

I did this by drilling several holes with a regular ol’ drill bit. This would’ve been easier with a metal drill bit buy hey, you work with what you got.

Next, tie a knot at the top of the bucket around the light cord. Start wrapping the rope around the light cord and gluing in between layers.

Keep wrapping and gluing in a single layer for as long as you want the rope to hang. I wanted mine to hang down about a foot.

After you get it the length you want, you can loosely wrap the remaining rope around the rest of the cord and add glue.

I decided I wanted to get fancy, so I unraveled the rope and braided it before wrapping the rope around. You can finish it whichever way you want, they’d both look great. 

And that’s it! Use a ceiling hook to hang up your light. This industrial farmhouse light comes together quickly and adds a fun touch to any room.

I’m not sure how well this will hold up because it is held together by glue, but I’ve had it hanging for a month in my room with no problems.

Here’s a little graphic to pin it for later –

Let me know if you tried this in the comments, or if you have any questions feel free to ask!