Thrift Store Find- Plain Nightstands to Modern Two-Tone Masterpieces


In one trip 2 weeks ago I scored big at Goodwill. Not only did I come home with a nice upholstered chair that I painted and shared last week, but I also found matching nightstands. I’d been scouring Craigslist for a few months for a set. My goal was to find something mid century in good condition for a fair price. I was willing to refinish or paint a set if the right ones came along to save money. I didn’t score my dream set but these would work with my plan. Knowing the tops would likely be damaged on a older set I wanted to paint all but the drawers white for a modern two-tone look. It would be important to find a set that was all wood and where, if possible, the drawers were in good shape enough to leave intact. Boy did I ever find the perfect set for this! I paid $45 each.
You can see that I did one pair first to make sure I liked it before I potentially ruined the next.
The lighting from the open garage was a little too flattering, there are scratches on the front and sides too.
They came to me with scratches, some pretty deep. They weren’t in poor condition and could have been used as is for some people.

I sanded the surfaces I intended to paint down as much as possible to remove the shiny finish so that paint would adhere. I also filled in the deeper scratches so that when I painted the surface would be pretty smooth.
I realized after painting that the joints were open and would look like cracks. After giving the whole thing a coat of white I went back with some caulk and filled in any of those obvious cracked joints then added more coats of paint on top.
You can see this made a pretty big difference. I don’t think I would have been as happy with the results had I not done this.
I used a gloss white spray paint from Rustoleum and made sure to tape the cabinet opening since it would be visible when opened. Also taped off the brass ends on the legs. It took 4-5 coats.
Here is the finished product. The hardware took some hunting… I wanted a bar but the width between the two holes from the previous knobs was an odd width for bars. I managed to find some at Ikea that are just a hair too narrow but you can’t tell since I screwed them in each a little crooked. The cabinet hardware is also Ikea.
It has a coat of poly on top of the paint as well for a nice “lacquered” looking shine and this made the whole piece look much more professional. I did sand the paint before applying. I did a wet sand on the tops and a regular fine grit sand everywhere else.
On my husband’s side.
A front view of them side by side.
Like I said, I never would have picked these up had they not worked perfectly for the two-tone plan. The paint and hardware make them look so much more modern to me and I feel like they could be mistaken for new pieces that cost a lot more than $45 each. With the hardware and paint they would be about $58 each. If you run across a dresser or nightstand this scheme could work for you too.

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  • Katie S

    Love them! Also, where did you get your white bed spread? I love that!

    • kimrosas

      Homegoods. It is by DKNY

  • Those are gorgeous – Great eye! I consider myself a great thrift shopper but I’m not great at visualizing things like this. I typically buy things to use as-is or skip them. Your nightstands definitely look more expensive than $50 each.

  • Where’s your husband’s pocket pile?