35+ Thrifty Before and After Furniture Makeover Ideas

Breathe new life into old furniture! Get inspiring before and after furniture makeover ideas to transform old furniture into family heirlooms.

Do you have a beloved piece of furniture that has seen better days? Have you found furniture pieces at the thrift store or a garage sale that need a little TLC?

In this post, I will inspire you for your next furniture makeover with these before and after furniture makeover images of our projects!

You will see dressers, side tables, desks, china cabinets, and many more furniture makeovers that will want you to start your next project!

Let’s get started with the before and after images! I’ve grouped the images in sections so you can enjoy browsing through them!

Dresser Makeover Ideas

We’ve made over many dressers here at Reinvented Delaware. I can’t even count how many dresser makeover projects we have done over the years. Fortunately, I have shared many, but not all, of the old dresser makeovers here in our blog posts.

Here are some before and after furniture makeover ideas to inspire you! 

repurposed dresser into vanity

First up, you see a custom 3-drawer dresser that we turned into a bathroom vanity for a client. She provided the sink and faucet for the top of the dresser. My hubby transformed the dresser drawers to accommodate the plumbing for the plumber. I  did the furniture painting, my personal favorite step, using Fusion paint in Bayberry which she also supplied.

painted and natural look

Next up we have this gorgeous set of old furniture that one of our daughters bought for her baby boy. They wanted a masculine look since this furniture would grow with him. They bought this set at their local thrift store for about $100 which was a steal in my opinion!

Her hubby wanted to keep the natural wood but my daughter wanted at least a little paint on these pieces. So we painted the body of the dresser using chalk paint and left the dresser drawer fronts in natural oak. Both parents were happy!

1800s gentlemen’s dresser

This next piece is a stunner! I found it at an open-air flea market in a neighboring town for only $30! It was filthy and the original finish was in rough shape even though the body of the entire piece was in great shape.

This gentlemen’s dresser would have had a mirror but it was missing. I knew I could breathe new life into it with a couple of coats of paint in a gorgeous black color. The original hardware on this piece is so beautiful! In fact, the whole piece is gorgeous, don’t you think?

two-tone furniture makeover

Are you seeing a theme here? We love two-toned furniture makeovers. Leaving the drawer front on a dresser in natural wood is a timeless look for furniture pieces.

The dark stain of this beautiful empire-style dresser shows even more with the light-colored white paint that our client chose for this easy furniture makeover. The contrast is striking and it gives this piece a whole new look yet still preserving the original finish!

We have many more diy furniture makeovers including dressers. Type the word ‘dresser’ in the search field and you will find even more inspiration!

Side Tables – Easy Furniture Makeover

I’ve gathered more easy furniture makeovers in the form of side tables and an end table or two for you! These small tables can be found at a garage sale, thrift store or estate sale. We often find them for under $20 and they are usually in good shape, especially for the cost.  They need a little tlc but that’s the fun part, right? 

mineral paint, milk paint, chalk paint, and decorative elements

Most of my makeovers include a coat of paint. I like to use mineral paint, milk paint, and chalk paint. Spray paint isn’t my favorite method to use on furniture makeovers although many people love to use it. I enjoy having a paintbrush in my hands and brush strokes don’t bother me. I think it lends to the handmade look of a piece.

These side tables include some decorative elements like peel-and-stick wallpaper, furniture transfers, and chippy white milk paint. Even though the look I prefer is muted with neutral colors, you could choose a bright color for a side table. The cool thing about using a bright color on a small table is that if you don’t like it, it could be changed easily!

thanks for being here!

I hope you are enjoying this project! Let me know if you have any questions. Or leave me a comment to tell me about your project and ideas!

thanks, Cindy 😀

Favorite Makeovers – Washstands

Did I already say I have favorite furniture makeovers? Well, if I did, I guess I was wrong. My favorite furniture pieces to makeover are washstands. These little gems are so much fun to makeover. We have found them for at little at $20 each and no more than $50 in our area of Delaware. These pieces usually have good bones since they were made well over 100 years ago before furniture was made in factories.

Solid wood antique washstands were used as a wash basin and pitcher stands. It was a makeshift sink area in a bedroom. We have given over 50 washstands a makeover and they are by far my favorite outdated furniture piece to work on. These pieces have different ways to use them in our modern era of indoor plumbing!

new uses for antique washstands

A great way to give these vintage washstands a new lease on life is to use them as nightstands in a bedroom. They have great storage for nighttime reading material. We have a pair of them in our bedroom and we use the top drawer as a charging station for our laptops, cell phones, and watches. We simply used a hole saw to create a large hole in the back of the drawer and installed a power strip inside the top drawer. All of those ugly cords can be tucked away and out of sight!

Another great idea for practically using a washstand is to use them as a side table between two chairs in a living room We have two of them in our living room. They are a great place to set an upcycled lamp that has had a makeover plus there is all that storage below!

A washstand would also work great between two twin-sized beds in a kid’s bedroom.

Have I convinced you that washstands are my favorite furniture makeovers? I hope you are inspired to look for these gems the next time you are shopping for your next DIY furniture makeover!

Furniture Transformations – Desk Makeovers

During the shutdowns of the pandemic, we had many requests for desk makeovers. People were working from home and needed a small office space in their living room. Children were in online school and they needed a place to do their schoolwork. Any desk we could find, we gave it a makeover! We even found one on the side of the road at our neighbor’s house!

Old school desks can often be in bad shape. They have had many children sitting at those desks. Expect to find old gum underneath the desk, ink stains, dried glue, and crayon marks! You name it and it is probably on that desk! You should expect to give these well-used pieces a little elbow grease to bring them back to life!

repurposed old desks

We have also transformed an outdated desk into small cabinets that could be used as end tables at each end of a sofa. Or possibly as nightstands next to a bed. These diy furniture makeovers are not as easy as simply painting the piece of furniture. They require skills and tools to cut the furniture apart, build new tops, and replace missing parts to create two separate units.

repurposed roll-top desk

The easiest repurposed furniture project we have made is the last one you see in the images below. It’s a long table on hairpin legs. The wood top of that table started as the upper shelf area you see on the huge roll-top desk. We completely took that desk apart and used the components to create five other projects! 

We created the long table you see, the two black side cabinets, another larger table from the desk writing surface, lap desk boards from the pull-out extenders above the side cabinets, and two decorative pieces that held the roll-top section (tambour) of the desk. You can see two of those projects here. Unfortunately, I didn’t get images of the larger table although you can imagine it looked similar to the long table you see here with the hairpin legs.

As you can see there are many before and after ideas for desks! Browse through the before and after gallery of images I have gathered for you!

Kitchen Hutches and China Cabinets

Let’s take a look at some kitchen hutches and china cabinets we have given new life to. Now that we have modern kitchens with built-in kitchen cabinets, these pieces don’t get the use that they did back in the day but they are still worthy of a good makeover! 

The first hutch is a mid-century china cabinet that one of my daughters and I found as a throw-away item at the end of an auction. We loaded it up and brought it home. This piece turned out to be a beauty! A little bit of milk paint and she’s looking good again!

repurposed kitchen hutch

The next vintage hutch is one that we own. We bought this solid oak hutch along with a 5 piece dining set when we were first married. Many years later we used it in our laundry room makeover. Hubby outfitted it with a farmhouse sink, plumbing, and a new-ish countertop. It’s the perfect piece for our laundry room which is also our mud room. There is plenty of storage in the section above the sink as well as below the sink.

The next piece was such a find! We came across this 1930s small pantry. It was already painted in white so I tried to sell it as is after I gave it a good cleaning. The pantry didn’t sell in our vendor booth so I gave it a full makeover with some paint stripper, a lot of hard work, and a fresh coat of paint. It was the exact makeover this beauty needed and it now lives in someone’s home!

The last hutch was one of our pieces as well. We bought this piece about 20 years ago. It’s had several makeovers over the years. Someone on social media saw it and asked if she could purchase it. But she wanted me to paint it black. In the end, this piece had four makeovers!

More Furniture Makeovers

I have a few more furniture ideas for you! There have been so many makeovers here at Reinvented Delaware and I encourage you to browse through the full list of furniture makeovers here on our blog. In the meantime, here are a few more to wet your painting and furniture appetite!

dining table converted to coffee table

We turned an outdated pedestal dining table into this gorgeous and vintage chic coffee table. Hubby cut the center post down to create the correct coffee table height. I gave it a new finish with bleach and white furniture wax. This piece is a stunner!

entertainment center makeover

Our next big furniture makeover is a Pier One entertainment center. Our client wanted this piece to be brought up to date with a new paint color to match their home and shelves installed for board game storage.  They loved the results!

antique heart pine cabinet

I found this gorgeous heart pine old cabinet on the side of the road at a small pop-up sale for only $30. I had to cram it into my vehicle and I’m so glad I did. This piece looks gorgeous in an old-fashioned milk paint color. This warm and vintage yellow is perfect on this gorgeous old cabinet, don’t you think?

unique sofa table

Last but not least is this unique sofa table. It originally had a glass top but it was broken. We found the leftover frame for about $5 at a flea market we love to visit. Hubby built a farmhouse wood top using reclaimed lumber. I showed this project on Instagram and it sold the first day! I’m pretty sure no one else has a gorgeous sofa table like this one!

early 1900s armoire

One of my daughters found this gorgeous early 1900s armoire on Facebook Marketplace. She painted it with chalk paint and then she and I applied the magnolia furniture transfer designs to the piece.

$40 antique radio cabinet

This next piece is a unique find. It is a radio cabinet from back in the day before TVs when people gathered around a radio to hear the news in the evenings. I found this piece for only $40. What a deal!

Duncan Phyfe dining set makeover

We’ve had our share of dining table and chair makeovers here! This is one of the most transformed sets to date. It was in very rough shape so I got a great price on it. The 7-piece dining set was $75. The chairs were reupholstered, and the dining table got a complete refinishing.

Complete Guide to Old Furniture Refinishing

Are you inspired yet? I am sure you are! If you are looking for help with your next furniture makeover, I have created an in-depth post with all of the information you need to complete your furniture makeover.

I will walk you step-by-step through the process.

  • why we should refinish furniture
  • where to buy old furniture
  • what tools and supplies are needed for a furniture makeover
  • how to prep for the makeover
  • applying paint or stain to the furniture piece
  • how to seal the paint finish
  • caring for your newly finished furniture piece

Click the button below to get all the information you need for your next furniture makeover!

Facebook Group

Join me in my Facebook group if you would like to share images of your before and after furniture makeovers! I would love to see them!

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Thanks for joining our journey!

Thanks so much for joining us for this post! Join our journey so you don’t miss any of the fun projects, tutorials, and inspiration that we share with you each week! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. We share even more inspiration on Pinterest!

Cindy Rust

Cindy has been decorating her home with thrift store finds for 40 years. She is an avid thrift store shopper who loves to makeover the items she finds into vintage-inspired home decor and furniture. When she isn’t thrift shopping or painting a piece of furniture, you can find her making homemade butter, working in her garden, or painting with watercolors.

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  1. Mandie Etsebeth says:

    Love the work that you do it is beautiful.

    1. Cindy Rust says:

      Thanks so much Mandie! The work is rewarding!

  2. Patti Donophan says:

    This is an awesome post, Cindy! I knew you and Steve did a lot of makeovers, but-wow!-I didn’t know the volume and the amazing transformations! I love the side tables, especially the round ones! The one that has the rub on transfers is stunning.

    I’m with you on washstands! They have a special place in my heart, too. We had a couple in our first home along with some other vintage pieces, but we had to part ways once we moved into the log home.

    Thanks for sharing these beauties with your readers!❤️❤️

    1. Cindy Rust says:

      Thanks Patti! Believe it or not, this is only the tip of the iceberg for furniture makeovers. We have so many and it was hard to choose which ones to share in this post. And then we had many more that I didn’t photograph! Thanks for your encouraging words 🥰

  3. Absolutely love that round table. The floral details on the side of the table are absolutely beautiful.

    1. Cindy Rust says:

      Thanks Renee! It was fun to work on!