Habitat Happenings

Tips for Refinishing a Nightstand

Your bedroom is the most personal room in your house, and your décor should reflect that. If you’ve ever found yourself at a loss trying to find just the right nightstand to complement your unique style, why not try your hand at refinishing one?

Even if you’ve had some less-than-desirable results with prior refinishing projects, here are a few tips for each stage of the process to help you create a nightstand you can be proud of.

Preparation Tips

Properly preparing your project may not be much fun, but it’s the key to achieving the finished look you want. Once you’ve removed all hardware and taken out the drawers you are ready to begin.

  • It’s important to thoroughly clean your piece before you begin the sanding and stripping process. Did you know that you can clean most pieces with a dishwashing liquid? Dishwashing liquid is made to cut through grease and grime and is a great alternative to the more expensive store-bought cleaners.
  • When sanding the top, sides or other large, flat areas, use a power sander. It’s important to remove all traces of the previous finish, especially if you plan to stain your nightstand. Although hand sanding isn’t the most expedient choice for large areas, keep some sandpaper on hand for those smaller places your sander can’t reach. Begin with 100-grit sandpaper and always sand in the direction of the grain.
  • If your nightstand has any carvings, grooves or crevices, you’ll need to use a chemical stripper. A gel works best for vertical surfaces because it will adhere better than a thinner liquid. Use steel wool to remove stubborn areas of the old finish, and wipe your piece down with mineral spirits if the stripper leaves a gooey residue. Always be sure to wear proper protection and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these chemicals.
  • In order to get the new finish you want, it’s imperative to remove all of the previous finish. Stains and some paints won’t take over old varnishes and veneers, detracting from your completed project. Once your nightstand is stripped to raw wood, go over it with 220-grit sandpaper for a uniformly smooth surface, then wipe down with a tack cloth to remove the dust.

Refinishing Tips

Depending on the look you want, you’re now ready to either stain or paint your nightstand. While painting is probably the easier option, stain can give it a more refined appearance. We’ve included tips for both processes so you can achieve the perfect finish, whichever way you decide to go.

  • There are many different types of paint and finishes to choose from. An oil-based paint gives a hard, durable finish, better leveling and a beautiful gloss, but it’s harder to clean up and messy to use. Latex paint, on the other hand, dries faster, resists cracking and yellowing, is available in different gloss options and is a breeze to clean up.
  • Paint also supplies its own finish – no need to add lacquers or polyurethanes. For a better appearance apply two coats, and if you want to save steps look for paint that contains a primer.
  • Stains also offer a variety of options. You can choose from oil-based, water-based, gel and even a one-step stain/finish option. Your choice will depend on how much grain you want to show and how easy you want the cleanup to be.
  • Apply your stain, then wipe off the excess with a rag. If you leave too much stain on the piece, it may remain tacky or take longer to dry. If you want a darker color you can always apply more than one coat. When wiping the excess, always be sure to follow the grain.
  • Whether you choose to paint or stain, you’ll need to let the coats dry. To avoid having to wash your brush every time you step away, wrap it in aluminum foil or place it in a zip-lock bag to keep it from drying out.

Top Coating Tips

If you paint your furniture you won’t need a top coat because paint works as its own sealer. If you stained the nightstand, you’ll need to apply a protective coating over the wood. As with paint, these sealers come in a variety of gloss options to give you exactly the look you want. One of the easiest and most forgiving sealers is polyurethane, which provides tough protection and a beautiful finish.

  • If you like the durability and beauty of an oil-based polyurethane but the convenience of water cleanup, try Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane. It has a less odor than the oil based versions, dries quickly and best of all, you don’t need harsh chemicals to clean up.
  • Apply three to four very thin finish coats using even brush strokes that follow the direction of the grain. Let each coat dry for about two hours. Sand lightly with 220-grit paper between each coat, then wipe with a tack cloth to remove the dust before you apply the next one.

Successfully refinishing furniture takes a little extra care, and doing it right can be time-consuming. However, that bit of extra time and attention will give you the quality finish you want and a unique, timeless piece you will always be proud to show off.


Megan Wild is a home improvement writer that focuses on sharing simple and “green” ways to improve your home. When she’s not reading or hiking, you can find her writing about her latest tips and tricks on her blog, Your Wild Home.

Volunteer Spotlight: Tony

Tony, a retired contractor, spends his days volunteering at the Fuquay-Varina ReStore. Seeking a meaningful way to spend his time, Tony was excited to see the Fuquay ReStore open. He saw this as an opportunity to use his hands.

Tony is the mastermind behind ReStore ReMix – our new paint recycling program! Click here to read more on ReStore ReMix.

ReStore Remix – Available in Fuquay-Varina and Apex!

12733454 10153403963371814 6492001515524631033 n 300x300  ReStore Remix   Available in Fuquay Varina and Apex!In just three months, ReStore ReMix has taken off! Habitat Wake ReStore is now cleaning and recycling the paint to remove impurities, batching the paint into a mixer, and placing the remixed paint into brand new containers for resale. Stop by the Fuquay-Varina (1352 N. Main St.) and Apex (826 E. Williams St.) ReStores today to purchase ReStore Remix paint! Prices are 1 gallon for $12 and 5 gallons for $35.

There are now 30 colors available! See a full list below. Please note: Apex ReStore only has a limited selection of paint colors.

•  Angier Mocha (Flat Finish)

•  Apex Avocado (Satin Finish)

•  Asheville Cotton (Flat Finish)

•  Bristol Beige (Gloss Finish)

•  Cary Chateau (Gloss Finish)

•  Charlotte Taupe (Satin Finish)

•  Clinton Cloud (Gloss Finish)

•  Coats Corral (Satin Finish)

•  Edenton Sands (Gloss Finish)

•  Emerald Isle Seafoam (Flat Finish)

•  Knightdale Knolls (Gloss Finish)

•  Lillington Lilac (Gloss Finish)

•  Lizard Lick Green (Satin Finish)

•  Louisburg Latte (Gloss Finish)

•  Meadow Moss (Gloss Finish)

•  Morehead Grey (Gloss Finish)

•  Morrisville Mullberry (Gloss Finish)

•  Pineville Pearl (Gloss Finish)

•  Pilot Mountain Pasture (Gloss Finish)

•  Salisbury Plum (Gloss Finish)

•  Sandhill Grain (Flat Finish)

•  Sanford Slate (Satin Finish)

•  Smoky Mountain Hill (Flat Finish)

•  St. Pauls Stout (Gloss Finish)

•  Surf City Salt (Gloss Finish)

•  Topsail Tan (Satin Finish)

•  Wake Forest Historic Green (Gloss Finish)

•  Wilmington Grey (Gloss Finish)

Decon ’16 Conference | February 29 – March 2

Habitat Wake, along with the Building Materials Reuse Association and NC State University, is hosting the Decon ’16 biennial conference in Raleigh, NC from Feb. 29 through March 4. Decon ’16 is a one of a kind meeting of deconstruction and reuse practitioners from around the world.

The conference kicks off with a reception at our Raleigh ReStore location, 2420 N Raleigh Blvd., and extends throughout the week with more than 40 speakers, two unique training opportunities, tours of local reuse features, and an awards banquet to honor the leaders of our industry. Jonathan Orpin of New Energy Works is confirmed to be the keynote speaker.

To learn more about Decon ’16, click here.

To register, click here.

And the Doors are Open!

Wake Forest ReStore front And the Doors are Open!Yes, we have opened the doors to our newest ReStore in Wake Forest! We are making sure there are no “kinks” before the Grand Opening on August 1st! If you are in the area, stop in and say hello to Carissa and the staff! We are accepting donations, volunteers, and shoppers!


Please join us for the Grand Opening of our fifth ReStore in Wake Forest! This is an exciting time for us and we are thrilled to be a part of this wonderful community. Wake Forest is a special place to our affiliate as that is where our organization was founded in 1985 and we have built more than a dozen homes as well as numerous exterior repair projects through our “A Brush With Kindness” program. In addition, we  have developed strong relationships with area congregations to help revitalize many areas within Wake Forest.


DATE: Saturday, August 1, 2015

TIME: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

LOCATION: 12253 Capital Blvd., Wake Forest NC 27587

OTHER: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce begins at 10 a.m.

Thank you to our Sponsors

We want to Thank the local merchants who have graciously offered to help support our Grand Opening by providing specialty items from each of their businesses.

Here is a list of our current sponsors:

Charlie Kabob’s Grill with two locations in Wake Forest, NC

Krispy Kreme - 11721 Retail Dr, Wake Forest, NC

PDQ – 11690 Northpark Dr, Wake Forest, NC

PTA Pizza & Hoagie – 12277 Capital Blvd, Wake Forest, NC

Subway – 12233 Capital Blvd. Wake Forest, NC

Sweet Traditions – 12516 Capital Blvd., Wake Forest, NC

Well-Bean Coffee – Drive Thru at 10012 Capital Blvd., Wake Forest, NC


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