Furniture Building, House / Bedroom, In Progress

Bedroom Makeover, Part 7: Furniture Fiascos

I’m dying to complete my bedroom makeover and share it with you guys.  I have such a vision for the space!   Frankly it’s taking way longer than expected.   I guess that’s a casualty of this “I’ll make my own furniture for the first time ever” idea.  That’s ok, though – it’s saved me over $200 bucks, and allowed me to customize the piece for my space.

I finally got around to staining the nightstands this weekend. . . but it didn’t go well.  There were a few issues.  First off, the fumes from the stain permeated the house.  So gross.   I should have done it outside, but didn’t want to because we’ve been having random storms, and I know the humidity would hinder the drying process.

Second problem:  The espresso colored stain plain did not work well.  I used Minwax brand.  As I surveyed the disappointing results, I remembered the Minwax Espresso stain totally sucked the last time I used it.  It doesn’t seem to “stain” the wood evenly.  After 3 serious coats, all of which I let sit for a good 15 minutes, it still looks this weak:

That just won’t do.  Our current bed from West Elm is a rich, glossy espresso.  We’d like the nightstands to match that.

Third problem:  Even if I applied stain until the cows come home, I don’t think it would help mask the imperfections in the piece, like the spots where the wood filler covers the countersunk holes that the screws are in.  It’s my first time using wood filler, and I’m terribly disappointed by it.  It “stained” whatever bits of wood it touched, so that now they’re not absorbing the finish evenly.  Even after liberal sanding.

After all this, I think we’ve resorted to paint the nightstands.  We’ll go with a rich brown/black, doing our best to match it to the existing bed.  Now the dilemma is – to spray paint or to brush paint?  What do you guys recommend?  What will give the most even finish? I certainly don’t want brushstrokes visible on my furniture, but I also don’t want the drips that can be caused by spray paint.

Sigh.  I’m just so ready for them to be done.  I refuse to start the other projects,  such as decorating the walls, because I want to base the decor on how the room feels with the completed furniture in it.  At least my curtain fabric came in the mail today.  Time to get sewing!

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  • Reply Jeannine @ Small & Chic at 11:22 am

    I think I would use traditional paint, not spray paint. I’m thinking about how nice the gloss paint looks on cabinets and crown…I’m not sure spray paint would be thick and rich enough.

    What do I know, though. I’m seriously challenged when it comes to spray painting.

  • Reply Mikalah at 11:55 am

    I love the nightstands! Don’t you love all the fun road-blocks you run into with projects? =) Personally, I would recommend using a little foam roller to brush paint on. It will give you really even coverage, and if you are looking for glossy paint it’s hard to find really good spray paint. I did use spray paint for our little side-table in the living room, but it took 2 whole cans of paint! So far, it’s been resilient to some cleaning as well, but I think if I did it over again I would use the foam roller for better coverage. Good luck!

  • Reply Erin @ SYL: Slipcover Your Life at 12:12 pm

    I think for wood furniture like that you need to brush paint on several VERY THIN coats… Thinking you need to do high gloss!

  • Reply Julia at 12:35 pm

    Yup. Paint would likely match your beds finish much better…Good Luck!

  • Reply Sunny's Life in Rehab at 12:42 pm

    Spray paint it in thin coats. I’ve done dozens of furniture projects with spray paint, including armoires and my daughter’s entire bedroom, and the results have been excellent, whereas I’m never happy with the brush strokes of regular paint.

  • Reply ughsome at 4:41 pm

    maybe using a mechanical sander would help by exposing more grain, evenly? and you could do that over this and redo te stain. (or maybe you used one already in which case please ignore my comment!)

  • Reply Robin at 8:30 pm

    Hey Jane, I gave you a blog award over on my blog! 🙂

  • Reply Julie at 2:50 am

    SPRAY PAINT!!! Definitely spray paint. Check out my Home DIY post again, and check out our kitchen cabinets (face and doors). They are all spray painted! We did two coats of white, antiqued them and then sanded them to distress, and finally a coat of clear semi-gloss spray paint. Done.

    Then check out my posting of the American flag door hanging. I used paint. WHAT A PAIN IN THE ASS. I was SO wishing that I had used spray paint! SO MUCH EASIER!!

    I’m sure whatever you do, it’s going to look amazing! And as my friend Samantha always tells me, “Don’t make it too matchy-matchy!” =)

    Oh, and I recommend doing one tiny project real fast, and them come back to this one. Refreshed and ready to conquer!

  • Reply Julie at 3:01 am

    OH! And if you do end up using spray paint, you MUST use one of these:

  • Reply Sarah at 1:53 am

    I’m going to be the only one who chimes and says…go BUY new furniture!!! You have WAY more patience than me!!! However, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  • Reply Jane at 10:08 am

    No way, I definitely will not buy new furniture. 🙂 I’d rather save the money and be patient with this project!

  • Reply Alexis L., The Studioist at 3:41 pm

    I’ve gotten acceptable results with both rollers and spraypaint but I would suggest practicing on some scrap lumber to see what works best for you, especially since you had trouble with the stain. Also, you may want to consider a color that complements, rather than matches, the bed to avoid the heartache that comes along with not being able to replicate a factory finish at home.

  • Reply How-To: Stain A Hardwood Table | The Borrowed Abode: Apartment and small space decorating tips for renters and homeowners. at 8:31 am

    […] my very disappointing results when I stained our home-built nightstands a dark espresso, I decided to do a little research on […]

  • Reply DJ at 6:30 pm

    I realize this thread hasn’t been commented on in over four years, but just in case someone happens on this page (kinda like me)…

    I’ve used Minwax Espresso with fantastic results. The key for me was hidden in the directions: make sure you use their pre-stain conditioner! There is an oil based (red can) for oil based stain and a water base (tan can) for water based stains. Make sure you a) wipe the excess after about five minutes and b) apply stain within two hours of the conditioner (I usually wait about 15 minutes).

    Better luck!

    • Reply Jane at 11:10 am

      Thanks! I did start using pre-stain conditioner after that fiasco 🙂 It has helped, but I still find that the cheap pine at home depot doesn’t seem to take the darkest stains very evenly.

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