Furniture Makeover: Paint and New Hardware Transform Old Wooden Chest


Article Posted By: Liberty

Furniture Makeover: Paint and New Hardware Transform Old Wooden Chest

Giving new life to an old piece of wooden furniture is as easy as adding a new coat of paint and new cabinet hardware. It might be hard to believe the gorgeous wooden chest you see above started off as the neglected trunk you see below, but the furniture makeover was really quite simple. Though this furniture makeover is for an old chest, it’s pretty much the same as what you’d do to renew an old wooden table, bookshelf or buffet. Bookmark this tutorial for the next time you have a thrift store find that just needs a little TLC.

Old wooden chest before getting a makeover
Materials for This DIY Furniture Makeover

Materials needed for DIY furniture makeover


Step 1 – Prep 

Remove all hardware (handles, knobs, legs and metal corners) from your trunk with a screwdriver.

Use sand paper to rough up the finish of your trunk. You do not need to remove all the finish or paint as it will be covered. However, to allow for the primer and paint to adhere well, you will need a rough surface.

Apply a paintable spackling putty to any holes or cracks in your trunk.

You might want a bit of a distressed look, but hardware holes or small blemishes should be filled. Use a putty knife to smooth out the putty and apply a light sanding to make sure it is smooth.

Allow the putty to dry completely.

Step 1: Prepare the piece for painting

Step 2 – Prime for Painting

Tape off any areas that you do not want painted to protect them from primer and paint.

Use a small foam roller to first apply a stain-blocking primer to any area you want to paint.

Allow the primer to cure for several hours.

Step 2: Priming an old chest for painting

Step 3 – Add Color With Paint!

Once the primer has cured, use a second clean foam roller to apply first coat of paint.

Be generous with the first coat of paint. We used Behr’s Premium Plus Satin Interior Paint in the “Surfer” color  to cover our trunk, but use your imagination and choose something that speaks to you!

When painting, try to move in the direction of the wood grain.

Apply the paint liberally throughout the entire trunk using the foam roller. Touch up corners and edges with a brush. Be sure to brush out any excess globs of paint by sweeping your brush in the direction of the wood grain.

Allow paint to fully dry. You may want or need to apply a second coat of paint, depending on the amount of color penetration or coverage you desire.

After paint has completely dried, remove the painter’s tape.

Step 3: Painting an old wooden chest

Step 4 – Dress it Up! Apply Hardware

Add new hardware and handles in the finish of your choice. We used Satin Nickel.

Pre-drill the holes. It may be easier to use a hardware template (we did!) to make sure your holes align properly.

Apply Campaign Hardware corners to each right angle around your trunk. If yours has two panels like ours you will need two sets for eight decorative corners for the front.

Step 4: Adding hardware to an old wooden chest

Step 5 – Add Furniture Legs

Lay the trunk on its back and attach new furniture legs to the base of each corner.

Again, pre-drilling the holes will make it easier.

Stand up your trunk; step back and admire your handiwork!

Step 5: Adding furniture legs to a wooden chest

Furniture Makeover: Paint and New Hardware Transform Old Wooden Chest