$30 Thrift Store Dressing Table Makeover

Happy Thursday Fabulous Friends!! If you stopped by on Tuesday then you know that today I am sharing the reveal of the best thrift store find I’ve had in a long time.

I scored this gorgeous dressing table for a mere $30!!

Can I get a woohoo?? I actually thought I remembered it being $35, but then I looked at the tag again:

That Goodwill never has good furniture but when I saw this, I couldn’t pay for it fast enough. It could also be a writing desk, but the pretty curves make it a perfect place to sit and pretty yourself up in the morning!

It is very unique and beautiful, and I know everyone is probably hoping I didn’t take a paintbrush to it, however it was not without its woes.

Here is a closer look at what the top looked like before:

It was in terrible shape. The top is actually paper thin veneer. There are two seams on the top, one that runs vertically through the middle and one that runs horizontally through the middle, and it was puckered all along those seams. It also was starting to pop up here in the center…

I was unsure how to go about fixing the top. Do I remove the veneer and paint what’s underneath? Do I try to salvage the veneer? Is it thick enough to take a good sanding? I’ve included a few affiliate links so you can find the products I use.

Luckily I was able to squeeze some wood glue in there and fix that spot. Then I sanded the surface with my orbital sander hoping I wouldn’t mess it up by going too deep. I did take it down a bit too far on one side, but overall I was pleasantly surprised how well it did, and it smoothed the two seams right out!

Are you ready to see how it turned out?


Antique Dressing table makeover from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

Okay so I just could not cover up all of that beautiful wood even if it was veneer!

The drawers and top looked as though they had about 50 years of wax build-up on them, so I was so pleased that I was able to fix that and make them beautiful again.

The before felt very top-heavy to me, so I chose to paint the body to lighten it up.

I found a jar of Dixie Belle’s Buttercream in my paint cabinet, and I thought it would compliment the wood nicely:

Antique Dressing table makeover from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I thought a more creamy color rather than a stark white was more appropriate for this piece. I sealed the painted areas with Annie Sloan’s clear soft wax.

To finish the top surface and the drawers after sanding them, I used Minwax Wood Conditioner, applied with a soft cloth to prep the surfaces for stain. Then I gave them two coats of Minwax stain in Dark Walnut, sanding lightly between coats.

At first I sealed with Minwax Wipe-On Poly in satin which is what I normally use on wood surfaces to seal. However, after two coats the top looked blotchy…a combination of dull with weird shiny areas…see the weird shiny spots?

That must be where I didn’t sand quite enough. You can also see where I sanded a bit too far on that front corner.

To remedy the horrible mix of shiny and dull on the top, I decided to use Zinsser Clear Shellac that I normally use to seal in pieces to prevent bleed-through. I always forget that I can seal pieces with that as well!

Here is the difference on two of the drawers. The left is with the shellac, and it has a bit more shine but looks so much better!

And you can see it worked beautifully on the top of the dressing table as well:

Antique Dressing table makeover from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I also love that you can see these little squares. I don’t know if they are part of the construction of this table or if they are patches in the veneer, but I think they are pretty cool…

Antique Dressing table makeover from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

There are still a few deep scratches in the veneer and the drawer fronts aren’t quite perfect, but they tell the story of this piece.

What about those pretty pulls? I love when I don’t have to buy new hardware!

Antique Dressing table makeover from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I did touch them up a bit with Rub n Buff in Gold Leaf. You can see the difference here:

Gold Leaf Rub n Buff

The one on the right is all shiny and new now.

These look like beautiful jewelry!

Antique Dressing table makeover from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com


Antique Dressing table makeover from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

And did you get a peek at the insides of the drawers? I decided to paint the bottoms. I added stripes in this pretty  Inglenook color from Fusion Mineral Paint:


Antique Dressing table makeover from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I sealed the drawers with a this matte spray sealer.

Antique Dressing table makeover from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com



Antique Dressing table makeover from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I did a chair to go with it, but I already have too many photos so here’s a peek and I’ll share more of the chair in another post:

Antique Dressing table makeover from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

I actually bought this chair to go with our Halloween display this year, and it turned out to be a pretty good match for this dressing table! Another piece I couldn’t wait to show my Hubby haha…”See I told you I’d find a use for that chair after Halloween!”

Well I hope ya’ll are okay with me painting some of this pretty piece. I tried my best to preserve the pretty wood parts.

Antique Dressing table makeover from confessionsofaserialdiyer.com

If you enjoyed this makeover, you’ll love this one too:

See how I saved this forgotten treasure HERE!

I hope ya’ll have a fantastic weekend! I’ll see you back here Tuesday with my Trash-to-Treasure girls sharing how I breathed new life into this sad dresser:

UPDATE: See how this piece looks now HERE! 😀




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  1. ColleenB.~ Tx. says

    OMG What a beautiful piece of furniture and was a steal for that price.
    Love the whole new make-over including the hardware.
    Great job.

    • Thank you, Colleen! I can’t believe someone donated it…no one they knew wanted it? Oh well, lucky for me! 😀 XOXO

  2. Beautiful

  3. Christina in SW FL says

    Christy, I love the jewelry on, and strips in, the drawers. It’s a beautiful piece though I admit I am not sure how I feel about the white. It certainly makes the wood stand out beautifully.
    Have a great rest of your week and an outstanding weekend!

    • Thanks, Christina! If I were keeping it, I probably would have painted the drawers as well and just left the top. This is a different look for me, but fun to do! Have a great weekend! XOXO

  4. Tamara Kenner says

    Wow!! I love it. I think this is my favorite so far. You are amazing. Love your transformations & your photography. Thank you for sharing with us.

  5. That is simply gorgeous!!! Well done! Did you decide to keep this beauty or sell it?

  6. Cynthia Hilliard says

    Wow. I don’t usually comment, but that table turned out beautifully! I wish I had a sander like that. I would do a lot more projects!

  7. I didn’t see that coming! I was expecting it to all be white. Great job! I also love the stripes inside the drawers.

    • I know I usually cover that wood right up without thinking twice lol. This was just too pretty to cover though. Thank you, Kathy! XOXO

  8. She sure is a beauty now! The drawer pulls are like jewelry and the stripes in the drawers are beautiful finishing touches. She appeared to be well loved and I wonder who owned her. I wonder what sort of mirror was used. A mirror on an easel…hand mirror only…? The dressing table may have been a part of a bedroom suite or maybe a gift from a doting husband. It could function as a desk as well. You hit the jackpot on this one!

    • Thank you, Donna! I would love to know the history of this piece as well. I love the idea that it could’ve been a gift from a doting husband! XOXO

  9. Vicki Wright says

    OMG………..BEEEUTIFUL!! I love it, what a Great transformation (as always) 🙂

  10. Marcie Lovett says

    What a lucky find! I love seeing all the worn wood on the drawer edges. Did you disassemble the drawers to paint them or were they coming apart already?

    • This was a super lucky find indeed! The bottom pieces just slid in from the back, and when I took the drawers out I noticed they had slid back a bit, so they were pretty easy to remove. 🙂

  11. Absolutely gorgeous!

  12. Linda Eggleston says

    You could clean all the built up wax off with lacquer thinner or denatured alcohol before & after sanding to avoid the blotchy look after applying a wipe on finish, which happens when there is still wax left in the wood or veneer. I have been refinishing furniture for 30 years as a hobby & I have had lots of similar situations but conquered most of them as the years went on & learning from others. I also never stain the veneer I use a wipe on tung oil & the natural color always come up beautiful. Hope this helps some.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with me, Linda! I’ll certainly keep your tips in mind in the future! XO

  13. Love it, great job, Christy!

  14. Oh my gosh! The desk is so incredibly beautiful! You have a great “eye” and amazing skills.

  15. Debra Wise says

    Stunning makeover! Love love love it!! You are so talented. Can’t wait for the next makeover.

  16. I love it ???? great job!!

  17. Oh my goodness!!! You had me at the $ 30.00 price tag 😉
    What a gorgeous piece. You certainly did her justice 🙂

  18. Billie Goodman says

    You always find the most beautiful pieces of furniture! I love that table and want it! Thank you for sharing. You have such a great eye for detail.

  19. That turned out beautifully! I rarely take the time to do anything with the inside of drawers, but this one is making me re-think that. I really love those blue stripes!

    • Thank you, Carrie! I don’t know that I would take the time to line the drawers on a piece that I painted for my own use, but I always try to add something pretty when I’m selling one. I think it helps it sell better! ????

  20. That turned out beautiful! One of my favorites so far! You have such an eye for bringing new life to pieces that are dated or neglected. The price on that was amazing too-pieces like that would be sold for three or more times that amount in my neck of the woods. Have a wonderful day!

    • Thank you, Mary! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. And yes that was a steal of a deal on that piece for sure! XO

  21. First of all Christy, I’m still salivating over the $30 – talk about a sweet score! What you did with this dressing table is absolutely stunning! If you lived near me, I’d be at your door this very minute with cash in hand because my office needs this to use as a desk.

    • I could not believe the ticket when I read it… $30?? I couldn’t pay for it fast enough LOL. And yes it would make a phenomenal desk! Have a great weekend, my friend! XOXO

  22. Now that’s AMAZINGLY beautiful ????

  23. Christy that is just gorgeous. I am so glad you were able to fix the top and make those waves of wood shine. And the drawers also look beautiful now that they have been refinished. A truly one of a kind piece.

    • Thank you so much, Mary! I’m so pleased with how the top turned out, especially since my expertise is not with wood ha ha. Have a great weekend! XO

  24. You did it again!!! I love your blog and your creativity is awe inspiring.:)

  25. Christy- I have decided two things: First, you must never sleep. Second: your neighbors must all by lullabied to sleep on regular basis by the sound of your orbital sander and banging of hammers. You make me feel like a slacker! 🙂

  26. Love this paint and stain combo… and $30… WOW! Beautiful makeover Christy! xo

  27. Wendy Somerville says

    Hey Christy, Hope you don’t mind me saying my ideas for this piece.

    When I saw the piece you were about to work on, I was in 7th Heaven. I am a big fan of natural wood and arching designs in a piece. I was soooo afraid you were going to paint the whole dresser. I must say however that you did a fabulous job repairing the top. I love that the drawers are distressed as I can see dings and bangs on them, but I am not a fan of the white paint. It does not pull on my heart strings. Perhaps a different color? I wonder what a bright mustard yellow would look like? It would compliment the wood coloring on the top and drawers I think? Just a thought… don’t mind me… I am a wood turner and artist (sculptor) so I do tend to love natural wood. Have you ever thought of dying the wood with aniline dyes or alcohol dyes ? I can also see this piece dyed in a translucent blue. It would require stripping it down to bare wood though. ;-(

    All in all a great job.
    Hugs to you,

    • Thank you, Wendy! I certainly do appreciate your honest feedback! If we all liked the same things, what a boring world this would be. ????

  28. Hi Christy wow just unique and gorgeous! I like to follow your product links since I’m not yet a pro at this like you are. I didn’t see a link for: “I sealed the drawers with a matte spray sealer.” Can you tell possibly let me know what you used for that?

    Thanks again, and really appreciate the step by step description with links and your thoughts about why you did or didn’t take certain steps! Easy to follow and helps us to really appreciate all of your hard work!

    • Thank you so much, Lisa! I’m so glad you appreciate reading all the details behind each piece. Here is a link to that spray sealer: http://amzn.to/2noMauD. I must have forgotten to link that, sorry about that! I used that to seal all the paint on the inside of the drawers. Have a great weekend! 🙂 XOXO

  29. Karen L Moore says

    Great score. Turned out beautiful.

  30. Great make-over!!! Love it!!!….as always!!!!
    XXOO have a good weekend!!!

  31. Susan Ronnfeldt says

    It is Gorgeous!! You did an outstanding job bringing it back to life!!

  32. I noticed the chair has the same type of feet as the dresser – how lucky can you get!

    • I know, right?? It was just a random lone chair I found at the thrift store to go with our Halloween display. After Halloween, I told my Hubby I’d eventually pair it with something, and this was just perfect! XOXO

  33. A little side-step to your norm! Pretty! I have a question for you… I just finished a white garden bench that started our ivory/yellow. I can’t really distress it (because I didn’t think ahead enough to paint is a darker color first). Do you think a gray wax would give me a good affect? Do you have another project where you wanted to give it a little more ‘umph’, and used a colored finish? (I also have a black graphic on the front, just FYI.)

    • Thanks, Julie! I did a dresser a couple of years ago that also started out yellow. I painted it white, then ran a VERY dry brush with some black paint over the surface, and moreso on the edges, and I was very pleased with the outcome. You can see that post here: https://www.confessionsofaserialdiyer.com/fleur-de-lis-dresser/ I have not tried gray wax, so I can’t give you any suggestions there other than to try it on a scrap[ piece of wood and see how you like it. Hope this helps! XOXO

  34. Debbie in TX says

    Really love the contrast on this piece, and the finish turned out nicely. I was hoping you’d change out the handles to make it a bit more contemporary, but it looks fine just the same. It could probably work as a small desk, too. Great job!

    • Thanks, Debbie! To be honest, if I were keeping this, I would have switched out the pulls for glass knobs. They are my favorite! I had someone else mention that this could possibly have been a writing desk and I think you may both be right! 🙂

  35. Karolyn Love says

    Christy, the After shot actually, not kidding, made me gasp! I absolutely love it!! The extra shine just compliments the grain so beautifully!! You have a great eye for a bargain and an even greater eye for the finishing!! Thank you for sharing this.

  36. Oh I LOVE this one!!! The 2 toned wood is just gorgeous! That dark wood is beautiful with the white! Great idea. The inside of the drawers is like a little surprise too! pinned this:) Oh and I forgot to tell you…. after you suggested I get that rotary cutting mat for the fabric for the inside of drawers….WOW I use that tool so much!! Not only for fabric but also when I am designing patterns and I need exact measurements for lots of things. I want to give a shout out to everyone reading my comment if they don’t have one, GET ONE….and go through Christy! 🙂 Thank you so much Christy! I just thought it was for quilting and since I wasn’t a quilter I would never have bought myself one if you hadn’t said something- Not only is it amazing with fabric it works great for many crafts! Sorry, I know you painted these drawer liners but it just reminded me of the rotary cutter ..hehe…Just wanted to thank you!

    • Thank you, Kathleen! And I am SO thrilled that you have found your rotary cutter and mat to be such a great tool. I was introduced to it when I was making quilts many moons ago, but you are right… it can be used for so much more! I also use it to cut paper! Thanks again for the great feedback…have a fantastic weekend! XOXO

  37. Wow. That is amazing! Very nice job! I think my favorite part is the striped drawer bottoms! I’m going to have to get some stripes in some of my drawers… hmm. That isn’t coming out the way I want it to, but hopefully you get the idea. : )

  38. Stunning! Love it Christy

  39. It is gorgeous!

  40. I love it!! I’m a bit of a wood purist, but I think you made the right decision in painting over some of it… if it can’t be saved, well, that’s what paint is for, right?? The end result is just perfect! So glad you were able to salvage most of the wood. 😀 The shellac looks better imo… adds a real classic shine to it, makes the wood look like it got a fresh coat of stain, too.
    Not sure what those squares are from, but I bet you’re right, something to do with the veneer. 🙂 The pulls look much improved! And the stripes are darling… someone is going to be very happy with this piece!

    • I’m so glad to hear your thoughts, Mariele, thank you! I love the classic shine for this piece as well, and I am so pleased I was able to leave some of the beautiful wood showing! XOXO

  41. It’s gorgeous Christy! I’ve been trying to find a vanity/desk like this for my sister-in-law. I sure hope one at a steal of a price like you did…lucky girl 🙂

    • Thank you, Annie! You always find things when you least expect, ya know? This was a prize find for sure. Good luck in your search! XO

  42. I must say I don’t think I would have thought of painting just the areas around the drawers and the top that white ~ and refinishing the remaining parts/leaving them dark! But I LOVE the “after” DRAMA of this piece! It is really beautiful now, Christy …
    What wonderful choices you made ~ though I also can’t believe someone would donate this beauty! Such great work …

    • Thank you so much, Kathleen! I can’t believe they couldn’t find anyone who wanted this beauty either…worked out for me though! 🙂 XO

  43. Norma Rolader says

    You are amazing it is gorgeous

  44. amazing. gorgeous find and fab makeover. two tone has me all in love!

  45. I think you did a beautiful job restoring/reclaiming the dressing table. I’m so glad you preserved some of the gorgeous wood. The top of the table is really amazing–the varied grain of all the pieces is beautiful. And I think the chair was meant to go with the dressing table. Good job, Christy!

  46. Wow! Stunning transformation!

  47. Ellen Shook says

    I think those square things might be wooden pegs which are structural. I have seen those on other old pieces, but I am not an expert by any means. I do like the burl wood look, and I am not sure I would have painted it, but the repairs you did to the wood parts look great. I am sure you will sell it very quickly!

    • I think you are right about the square pegs, Ellen. I’m so glad I didn’t cover them up! Thank you! XO

  48. Beautiful, Christie. Great job, Wish it were mine.

  49. Wow, wow!! I’ve seen and done a lot of transformations, but this one takes a prize!!!! What a beautiful job you’ve done!! Thank you for sharing your gift and giving this old gal inspiration!!

    • Thank you so much, Jamie!! I appreciate your very kind words, and it is my pleasure to share…so glad you are feeling inspired! XO

  50. Beautiful! I just re-did a similar piece made by Dixie that is red mahogany. I think mine is pretty, but the details in yours makes yours even more special. I actually spent a couple of hours on the internet trying to find out what piece I had….was it a vanity, desk, sideboard, etc.? and I finally determined it was called a writing desk.

    • Thank you, Melanie! I had another reader mention that it might have been a writing desk, and I think you could be right. Thank you for passing that along! I’m sure yours is lovely as well! XO

  51. Just LOVE looking at your site Christy! You always have something lovely and inspiring for us. This piece turned out beautifully, and it’s even better because you left some of the “character” to the aged piece. Good score, great job!

    • Well thank you so much, Catherine! I’m so pleased you enjoyed this one, and yes I love that it shows some “character” as well! XOXO

  52. This piece is Gorgeous with a capital G!!! You are a professional!

  53. What a score of a find, so classic. Oh goodness, a beautiful job you did on this makeover Christy, I love that you kept some of the original graining it’s just gorgeous!

    • Thank you so much, Brenda! I was so happy I was able to show some of that beautiful wood as well! XOXO

  54. Linda Petersen says

    Elegant!! I love it & you did an expert job in the restoration. I’m amazed @ your talent. Actually, after all this time I’m not really amazed anymore. You have a gift❤. XO, Linda

  55. Hello! When I first saw the picture of before, I thought – oh no – don’t tell me she painted that beautiful veneer.
    The results are stunning! And I’m very impressed with what you did on the top using the clear shellac. I’ll have to try some of that myself.

    Beautiful job! 🙂

    • I’m so glad you like the results, Phyllis, thank you! Even I couldn’t paint over that gorgeous veneer! 🙂 XO

  56. It’s beautiful! I do hope you’re planning on keeping it! What a great find and it’s absolutely gorgeous now!

    • Thank you, Cecilia! This is one piece I really wish I had a space for, but unfortunately I do not. Hopefully someone will fall in love with it and cherish it for years to come! XOXO

  57. THIS may very well be one of my all time favorite pieces you have done! Just phenomenal!

    • Wow thanks!! This was such a beauty to start, so that made my job much easier! 🙂