BEFORE and AFTER: The Makeover of a Vintage Vanity

This pretty vintage vanity has been sitting in my garage for over a year. Surprise, surprise. Most things I make over have an excruciating wait time in my garage (a.k.a. “triage”) before figure out what I’m going to do with it, where it’s going to go, and how in the world I’m going to find time to work on it.

But thanks to the Snow Gods that dumped 2 feet of snow on us last week, I’ve had off work for 5 straight days. (READ: ample time to create!). And this baby was ‘a callin’!


vintage vanity thrift diving



Vintage Vanity Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Scandinavian Pink


The vanity was really in good condition from the standpoint that it wasn’t falling apart or anything. It was missing a mirror inside, but–meh–who cares. And it didn’t need tons of surgery on it. But the top needed refinishing. It had some water rings and some chipping.

Vintage Vanity Makeover_BEFORE

I’m totally in love with stained tops and painted bodies. So I knew I wanted that look! Heck–I think I may be refinishingย all my pieces this way from now one! It’s such a great combo. And it really preserves the beauty of the wood, since some people think you should never paint wood. This is a great compromise, though, don’t you think? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, Scandinavian Pink. LOVE that color! And my Sherwin William Rainwashed walls really goes well with this color!

Vintage Vanity Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Scandinavian Pink

How the Magic Happened on This Vintage Vanity

I’ve come to love stripping furniture! It’s very rewarding. Unearthing that pretty wood underneath, and then breathing life back into it with stain–ahhhhhh………But if you’ve never done it before, just know this: it’s messier and takes more time than just painting over a piece of furniture.

(Did I mention it’s messier….??)

However, the results are worth the extra effort. If you need more instruction,ย check out my blog post and video I did on How to Strip Furniture and Stain It.

In this pic, you can see how the Citri-Strip paint and varnish stripping gelย I used is eating away the previous stain, exposing the natural wood underneath.

How to strip furniture

When it was ready to be scraped, I scraped all that “gunky” stuff with a putty knife. EEEWWWW!! (Be careful–use a plastic putty knife so you don’t gouge the wood. I used metal because it was all I had, but I was super careful).

how to strip furniture

Once I scraped all the gunk off, I gave it a good sanding. Even when stripping, you’ve got to sand it out to get to this pretty wood. Otherwise, it will still be tinted with the old stain.

how to strip furniture

I Made a Mistake!!

Crap. I got carried away while sanding and gouged down to the MEAT! The bare meat!!

Oh!!! How in the world was I going to fix that?! I was afraid I’d have to scrap the whole “stain” idea and just paint over it.

Sanding furniture before re-staining

Once I applied the stain (I used Minwax Espresso), I was hoping it would just blend in.


It stuck out like a sore thumb!

how to cover up your DIY mistakes

how to cover up your DIY mistakes

So I Did What Any Creative DIY’er Would Do….

Yep. I broke out the stencils and painted a flower over the top of my mistake, then topped it off with some white highlights to give it some “depth.” Now it looks intentional!!!

vintage vanity Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Scandinavian Pink


Protecting the Top

I’ve never used this product before but wanted to try it out for protecting the top. I honestly HATE waxing furniture, so if there is something I can easily brush on and walk away from–I’m game.

Artisan Enhancements Clear Topcoat

I was nervous as heck when I painted it on with a paint brush and saw that it was–GASP!–white…and milky! Ummmm……is this going to work??

Adding a top coat to stained furniture

But it did! It dried beautifully! I wanted something with a bit more shine to it, but after seeing these “AFTER” pics, I think I love the matte look better. What do you prefer–matte or glossy finished on top of stained wood?

Vintage Vanity Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Scandinavian Pink

ย Don’t Forget the Inside!

I’m one of those DIY’ers that can’tย stand to see a piece of painted furniture with the drawers all ugly and the back looking like it belongs in a crack house. LOL. You don’t have to go crazy and paint every inch of the inside and back (or bottom) but at least make an effort to make the other parts look great, too. I know it adds extra time, but I think it’s worth it.

I painted the inside of this vintage vanity in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, ย Paris Grey. I just love this color combo! (If you remember, I painted this thrifted bucket gift basket for my mom in the same color combos).

Vintage Vanity Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Scandinavian Pink


Reuse and Recycle!

For this project, I left the hardware alone. I loved the brassy color, and I liked that it looks a little worn. I didn’t want it to be too pristine and “perfect.” By using the existing hardware, in its original condition, I saved myself time (and money!).

Vintage Vanity Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Scandinavian Pink


ย So what do you think of my vintage vanity?! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have you ever stripped and stained furniture?ย 


Want More??

I’ve got a thing for desks and vanities and stuff. Here are some other desks/vanities I have refinished. Enjoy!



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About the Author ()

Hey there, I'm Serena, a 38-year-old working mom of 3 young boys who can't get enough DIY! If you actually made it to the bottom of this post to read this, it means you're really enjoy my blog. That means SO much. If I can inspire just one person through my passion and energy for DIY, then I'm fulfilling my life's purpose. Thanks for joining me, and I hope you'll subscribe so we can keep in touch! ~Serena

Comments (55)

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  1. Letia says:

    nice job and terrific save on the oops spot

  2. susan says:

    Hey! I just bought a little dresser and want to do tge same thing! Stained top and painted bottom. 2 questions for you.
    1. Do i need to strip and sande to the wood before i stain?
    2. What is the difference between regular paint and Ann Slone paint that everyone talks about?

  3. Betsey says:

    Don’t ever feel guilty for painting wood! It is your wood and you can do with it as you wish! Now you have inspired me to a) use that color and b) paint part of a piece and refinish part of it!

  4. Denise says:

    I love this make-over Serena… beautiful work! The stain and color you combined works perfectly. And you always get the best pieces from your Thrift Stores! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hi
    I really love this! I have never used this color of Annie Sloan paint before, probably because I have boys. Now that I have a sweet Granddaughter I might be inclined to use this color more. Your very talented and have a great eye for good bones on furniture. I am a fellow painter and thrifter and always love a good challenge to take something old and dated and turn it into a treasure. Thanks for the inspiration! Sandi@theVintage

  6. Melissa says:

    This piece turned out so beautiful! I love the stained top and painted body. I would have never thought to do that. Gorgeous!

  7. The vanity really does go great with your walls. Excellent job Serena, I love it!!

  8. love the makeover, i would love to feature it, if that would be ok please let me know,

  9. Cheri says:

    Once again you knocked it outta the park. You are always so creative! I love the stained top painted body look. I’m going to have to find a piece to do that on. You are my inspiration girl!

  10. Leslie says:

    Serena, I just had the pleasure of watching you on our local news and loved you! I am SO into turning “old into new” and this is just up my alley! Love your style of stained tops and painted bottoms, I am a “stripper” at heart. Like everyone else, finding the time to finish furniture is the hardest part, but you have given me some extra special incentive to get “yard sailing” and dumpster diving! I have had some fun finding free and trash items by the side of the road and bring them home. My husband keeps yelling at me because I just keep- keeping them, waiting for the day to refinish, can’t wait!

    • Hi Leslie!! So glad that you reached out! So you love stripper, too, huh? It’s such a beautiful combo with the stained top and painted body. For the sake of time, though, it’s definite more time-consuming (something I don’t have a lot of with 3 young boys). I’ve just started trying to sell some pieces, and I don’t know how crazy people are about stained tops. But I love them!
      Oh, and what’s funny is that it’s always the husbands that complain about the pile of stuff waiting for “some day” makeovers. LOL. They just don’t understand, do they? ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks for your comment, and I look forward to seeing you around here, and maybe more news segments! Anything in particular you’d love me to do on WBAL?

  11. Joan says:

    I LOVE the colour and the way the vanity turned out. I too am rethinking the paint every mentality. I realized I really love wood too and especially a wood paint combo. Thanks for sharing a great piece

  12. I love it! Scandinavian Pink is one of my favorites! I have it in tiny touches all over my house. The wood top is so nice….I like Satin best, a mix between matte and gloss! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s really lovely Serena!


  13. What a lovely color. It looks wonderful!

  14. Blondie says:

    This is wonderful… I love the color. I wouldn’t have thought to use that color; but you made it look so attractive.

  15. Shelly says:

    Again…….great job! You make it look so easy. I will look for a bargain this weekend and I am going to give it a go. Your very inspiring Im feeling hopeful……me and my two left hands lol

    • That’s because I don’t show the blood, sweat, and tears (and long nights up until 2 a.m.!) from behind the scenes. HAHAHA! Thank you so much. Yes, please give it a go and let me know how it goes, okay! ๐Ÿ™‚ So happy to have inspired you!!

  16. Sue says:

    Beautiful job!! I was wondering if you used that same product to seal the chalk paint or did you just use it on the stained top. I also HATE to wax and don’t like the upkeep of having to constantly be rewaxing.

    • I actually just used wax to seal the body. But I did try a little on a leg and I liked it. I’m thinking of using it for another piece, to seal. I hate waxing, too!! What a pain!!!

  17. Jodi says:

    I love it, Serena!! The matte finish on the wood gives it an unconventional look that actually stands out more. The pink is gorgeous and really pops with the matte surface. Love the stenciled flower and it’s a fantastic idea to cover an “oops”.

  18. Candyce says:

    The color is fabulous! And I’m not typically a fan of many paint colors as they seem to go in and out of style so quickly. This little gem looks real classy. I love that you kept the brass ‘as-is’. It’s a lovely patina matching both the paint and the stain. I like the semi finish much better. I think too much shine would look ‘off’ next to chalk paint of any color. I also like that you kept the top stained (excellent fix – you are soooooo clever!). It gives a sophisticated look, keeping folks from thinking this only belongs in a girls room. This piece could easily go in any room of the house. A beautiful job Serena. You should be proud. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hey Candyce! Thanks soooo much for your comment! I totally agree this piece could go in any room of the house. It doesn’t look little girlish, which is what I was hoping it wouldn’t look like. if it doesn’t sell, it’s got a permanent place in my bedroom!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. Suzanne says:

    First, let me say I absolutely love LOVE your vanity makeover. The colors you chose are fabulous. I have a very old dining room table that is stained very dark and I’ve been toying with the idea of painting the bottom and stripping the top and restraining it. I think you’ve given me the motivation I need. Thanks for sharing, and great job!

    Oh yeah, did I mention YOU ROCK!

    • YAY!!! I’m so happy this project inspired you to do your dining room table!! Have you ever stained before? It’s really not hard, but just messy. But the outcome is soooo worth the effort! And YOU rock for commenting!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Linda says:


  21. The piece looks awesome! I love the colors, hardware, style. You have a talent for envisioning what
    might be, rather that what is before your eyes. A woman out here had the same talent and she now
    has a shop where she sells Annie Sloan and milk paint, brushes, etc, and also pieces that she has
    done. She has two employees and is doing well. It’s called Knot too Shabby and it is in Glendora, CA. Look at their website and check out all they offer in the way of classes for painting. i went to a Free paint Day (Actually $28, but you bring a small piece to do and use ALL their paints, waxes, and brushes. I did a small chair and four frames. Then you have a feel for the chalk paint and can ask questions. You leave with your finished product. I ended up buying three quarts of Annie Sloan for a big project I want to do. Really fun.) You can do the same or something similar, like that. Check
    them out if you have time.

  22. Kim says:

    Did you sand the body at all before painting or leave it as is?

    • Kim, I didn’t sand the body all over. Just spots that might have been chipped, to smooth them out. That’s the beauty of chalk paint–you really don’t have to prep! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Kim says:

    Just beautiful! I love the stained top with that color body!

  24. Alma Read says:

    Absolutely fabulous. I love the colors. Thank you for sharing with us.

  25. Johanne says:

    It looks awesome – can’t get over the transformation – good luck with your saleโ€ฆ

  26. Jennifer says:

    This is gorgeous!! And I love the dining room table too! You are super talented and an inspiration to me! You make me want to redo all sorts of things in my house… I just have to repeat the phrase “I think I can, I think I can…!!”

    • LOL….thanks! The dining room table seriously was almost scrapped! It was my first staining project, and I had no idea what I was doing. Heck, I’m STILL learning ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s all a process. Each time you do a little better than the last. Don’t be afraid to tackle the furniture in your house! One piece at a time, even if it takes ya all month! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hey, thanks so much for commenting!!!

  27. Serena,



  28. Deb says:

    That turned out very pretty! I also like to stain the top of my furniture and paint the rest.
    Love that Color!

  29. You did a wonderful job on this piece! I really like the wood top combined with the painted body. Painting the inside of the drawers is a touch that the buyer of this piece is sure to appreciate.

    • Thank you so much, Paula! Yeah, there’s something so tasteful about stained tops and painted bodies. I think it’s really the look that I am loving now. It looks more high-quality, in my opinion. I’ve been admiring the style for some time, but this was my first project in this style of furniture. I think I may do this every time!! Thank you for commenting!!

  30. Doris Henson says:

    I’ve never tackled something this complicated…..your works amazes me. Maybe someday I will ‘nerve up’ enough to try something like this.

    • Hi Doris! Aww, thanks! I think you should totally try it. Start with a small piece that won’t take a lot of time. Then, work your way up to the big stuff! ๐Ÿ™‚ And if you’re interested, check out the dining table of mine that I got from the thrift store a while ago and attempted to strip and stain. It almost turned into a cryable disaster, but ended up turning out so nice!! But you’ll be able to see from the pics that it was almost a “FAIL”! Here’s the link:

  31. Serena — this is LOVELY! The only down side is I may have to go out and get ASCP Scandanavian Pink now.

    Good luck on your booth space!

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