Hello dear friends and welcome back! Today I’m sharing how to paint nicotine stained furniture. Furniture that has lived in close proximity to heavy smoking can accumulate a yellow stain which can bleed through paint, but I’m sharing how to tackle it!
My subject is this antique trestle table I picked up at an estate sale a few months back:
Isn’t she a beauty?? It was marked $50, and I offered $40 and they accepted. Woohoo! It was totally worth that.
While this is a beautiful table, it had its issues! It lived in close quarters with a heavy smoker for many years. That meant that not only was it stinky, it was nicotine stained as well, and I needed to remedy both issues!
I knew I wanted go light with this one to highlight all those pretty details, so taking care of the staining was a must.
A Good Cleaning
The first step, of course, was to give this table a good cleaning. I wanted to remove as much of the nicotine as possible. I did that with White Lightning. White Lightning is one tough cleaner, but it is also a deglosser, so don’t forget the gloves!
Just look at that water!
Ew. I cleaned the easier-to clean parts more thoroughly than the rest, and you’ll see what that resulted in in a minute.
Once I had wiped it down completely, I filled my tub with clean water and gave it another good once over to rinse.
How to Combat the Nicotine Stain
The secret to preventing any remaining stain from bleeding through the paint is BOSS. BOSS stands for Blocks Odors. Stops Stains. It works amazingly well on odors and stains, including the tannins that cause bleed-through.
I gave the table one coat of BOSS in white:
I let that sit overnight as proper dry time is essential for success!
Clearly I cleaned some parts better than others as you can see:
The bottom part is nice and white compared to how yellow the apron and legs are. I did a better job cleaning the bottom part, but not to worry! BOSS totally took care of that for me!
Sealing in the Stink
Painting and sealing will take care of the odor, but I wasn’t planning to paint the underside of the top. Just that area got one coat of BOSS in clear. It dries completely clear.
Ready for Paint
I gave the rest of the table two coats of Dixie Belle’s Fluff:
It’s been a while since I used Fluff and I thought it would be perfect for this piece!
Highlighting those details
This table makeover didn’t need anything fancy. All those gorgeous curves came to life with just a simple paint job!
I sanded all over with 220 grit sandpaper and hit the details a bit harder to really highlight them…
Sealing with Gator Hide
Gator Hide is Dixie Belle’s toughest topcoat. I chose to seal this table with it since it may likely be used as an entry table and might get quite a bit of use. I used the blue sponge applicator to apply the Gator Hide:
You can see a video on how I apply sealer with a sponge in this video:
If you have trouble viewing, find it on YouTube HERE.
Here’s what the right prep and a simple paint job did for this beautiful table:
Such a classic beauty!
Many of those details were lost in the dark wood, but paint and simple distressing really brought them to life!
This is such a versatile table. It could be used in any entryway, as a sofa table, or even as a small desk or vanity. I quite like it here as a side table also!
I have one very similar in my office that I used to stage photos sometimes, and I just love it:
But this one has prettier details than mine, I think…
I can’t wait to load this pretty lady into my shop!
One step closer to finishing this huge haul!
See any you might have missed at these links!
80’s Country Cabinet Makeover
Four Thrifty Basket Makeovers
Farmhouse Hutch Makeover
How to Repurpose small lamps
How to Repurpose an Old Swivel Mirror
Coastal Dresser Makeover
$5 Bulletin Board Makeover
$3 Thrift Store Basket and Lid Repurposed
Summer Basket Wreath from a $3 Thrift Store Find
$7 Thrift Store Mirror Makeover
Vintage Cane Club Chairs Updated
$6 Thrift Store Shelf Makeover with Transfer
Pub Table Makeover
Becky’s Secretary Desk Makeover
Update a Thrift Store Box with Fabric
$5 Buffet Lamps Updated with Decoupage Paper
Mirror Harp Repurposed
I’ll be back with my Trash to Treasure girls on Tuesday to share what I did with this $5 mirror:
Update: See what I did with this mirror now here!!
I hope y’all have a fantastic weekend!!
Don’t Miss a Thing!
If you like what you see, there are several ways to follow along!
Mary Kaiser says
Oh my, how beautiful is that table now. I love the details and the size of this one! I LOVE that you did it in white, and that you made this beautiful again! Who ever gets this one will be so lucky to have such a beauty! Looking forward to seeing what beautiful things you do to that mirror on Tuesday, have a great weekend! Your just the BEST!
Aww thank you, Mary! You are always the sweetest and I appreciate it so much! And yes, this table is such a great size. I couldn’t see it in any other color than white ha ha! XOXO
Cecilia from Georgia says
I love BOSS for so many issues I come across. The table turned out lovely with a little “fluffing”. Have a wonderful weekend!
Thank you, Cecilia! Yes!! BOSS is a sanity saver lol! XOXO
Denise Cox says
In the first pic, you can see where the apron /legs have the yellow hue. But after the application of Boss, there is no difference b/w the color of the top/bottom. Is that due to the Boss?
Hi Denise! The legs and apron weren’t cleaned as thoroughly because in my mind, I was thinking where the smoke landed would be the most stained, so I focused more on the horizontal surfaces. After applying BOSS you can see that the vertical surfaces (apron and legs) are more yellow. But allowing the BOSS to dry completely still prevented that yellow discoloration from coming through the paint. I hope I answered your question. XOXO
Wow, Christy, this table looks stunning in white! I was a bit surprised you chose to distress it using sandpaper rather than faux distressing. You don’t think the nicotine odor will come through the distressed parts?
Thank you, Christina! No, both paint and the sealer will usually lock in odors, and I sealed after distressing. 🙂 XOXO
I really like the way this one turned out! Gorgeous. If I ever repaint my entertainment shelf unit, I’m going to seal it with BOSS! It still gives off the occasional odor. Wish I’d known about it before. I love all your furniture makeovers! So inspiring. I keep looking at my furniture wondering what I could paint (and get away with, lol).
Thank you, Cecilia! I really appreciate that! BOSS is fantastic! I say just start painting one piece at a time. If the transition is slow enough, maybe you’ll get away with it ha ha! XOXO
Janice Holt says
Nothing would look better for this sweet table than white. This will sell as soon as you put it in your booth. Another great job. Have a great week-end.
I too just couldn’t see it in any other color! Thank you so much, my friend! XOXO
I love how the table turned out. It is beautiful! I wish your shop was close to me. I would totally buy this!
Thank you, Ashley! XOXO
What a dear table. Nice job, Christy!
Thank you, Ashley! XOXO
Teresa Farrell says
My hubby’s grandfather built the most beautiful armoire which we were lucky to receive when my Father in Law moved,but it had been in a small computer room with my Brother in law who lit one cigarette after another. It actually smelled like an ashtray. I wanted to paint her and make her my kind of pretty but the cleaning was a nightmare.
She’s gorgeous now though. That table was blessed to go to a talented loving woman like you😊
Aww thank you, my friend! And I know your FIL was happy to have you to take his father’s piece and love it back to life! What a treasure! XOXO
Sharon L Austin says
Ugh, that water!! Turned out super cute though. I can’t wait til you get to the cute little desk in your summer haul. (the one without the chair)
Right? It was SO gross! Thank you, my friend! That table has a part sticking out of it that I’m not sure how to proceed with, so it keeps getting skipped over, but I’m anxious to do something with it as well! XOXO
Kimberly Wollmer says
Great job once again Christy! You are a miracle worker. Just curious – what is that little cart that the table is sitting on? Did you make that? I can’t remember seeing it before in your makeovers. It looks like it would come in handy.
Thanks so much, Kimberly! That cart started out as a small rectangular dolly that I built with scraps. I ended up screwing a longer piece of scrap wood to either side so it could hold furniture pieces. It is great for painting on and for loading furniture into my booth! XOXO
My parents where both heavy smokers, I can imagine what this table smelled like. It’s almost stuck in my sinus. I think this table looks very sophisticated, but also versatile. Very nice!
Have a great weekend Christy!
Thank you, Niki! It isn’t the most pleasant scent lol. Enjoy your weekend too! XOXO
Love the details on this table! I have an old drum style table that is a dark stain. I would like to paint it an olive green color, and want to do some distressing to allow some dark to show and highlight details. I’m concerned about the dark stain bleeding through the green paint. Should I use clear Boss before painting? Also, I bought a gorgeous antique dresser for my daughter a few years ago that I didn’t realize had a nicotine smell until I got it home. I’ve cleaned it very thoroughly both inside the drawers and the dresser itself and it helped, but there is still a faint smell. Have you ever used clear boss inside drawers to block odors even if you weren’t painting it? Thanks!
Thank you, Vicki! Clear BOSS will work for both pieces! It is a stain and odor blocker. Be sure to allow it to dry overnight before painting the table. And for the dresser, you’ll want to lay it on its back and paint the entire inside cavity as well. It will lock in those odors! XOXO
Such a beautiful piece along with your beautifully executed refinish! I believe it’s time to swap out your table for the new one! The details are the best. I’m sure the table in your office would sell just as quick in your booth as the new one!
Thank you, Julianna! I am very tempted lol! XOXO
Debbie in TX says
Who wouldn’t love such a useful, gorgeous table? Since you think this one has prettier details than the one in your office, I think you should keep this one for yourself and put your office table in the shop. It would sell just as well since it is so unique. Just a thought . . . : )
Thank you, Debbie! I am really tempted to keep this one, except it is quite a bit more narrow. I am tempted though LOL! XOXO
Hi, what an elegant table this turned out to be! Love the distressed white! It truly was stained terribly by that thick covering of cigarette smoke. But you did a fabulous job!! This is a perfect piece that can be used for a variety of purposes. Thanks,too, for giving such detailed instructions! Have a great weekend!
Thank you so much, Sue! Who knew it was that dirty? I had no idea that I would get that much off of it! Have a great weekend, my friend! XOXO
What a lovely piece. My mother has her grandmother’s trestle table. It is so dark. One day it will be mine…..
Thank you, Robin! Ooh nice!! XOXO
Gosh what a stinky mess you had to clean up. Ew indeed! But BOSS and Fluff have come to the rescue – just gorgeous!!!
Thank you, Petra! It was gross for sure!! XOXO
Or Christy you can keep this one and sell yours! That’s what I’d do! Beautiful job as always
I’m tempted!! Thank you, Susan! XOXO
Michele M. says
It is a beautiful table, indeed! Well done, Christy!
I noticed you hadn’t really shown a pic of the exposed wood prior to coating- what kind of wood was that table? Just curious.
Thank you, Michele! I did share a before photo, but I’m not sure what kind of wood it is. XOXO
Beautiful! What a great rescue! A total Cinderella piece here, with a classic Christy white paint makeover. 😀 I love it!
Thanks so much, Becky! Enjoy your weekend!! XOXO
hi,, I always love your blog…u are the best transitional painter..no one else does such a good job on makeovers!! I wanted to ask if you have a place to order the Dixie Bell paint…I could not seem to find where to order…thanks so much lynda
Thank you so much, Lynda! I really appreciate your kind words! Yes, you can visit my Etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheSerialDIYer I usually highlight the products I use in blue throughout my posts, and if you click on any of the Dixie Belle products, you will be taken to my shop! 🙂 XOXO