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$30 Thrift Store Dressing Table

10/4/2019 By Taina Laraba

· Junkin Market,Vintage Inspired,Tutorials,Home and Garden

Yes, I know it's October and we're all concentrating on decorating for Halloween, but I thought a thrift find like this couldn't go unveiled.

Another gorgeous thrifted project from my blogger friend Christy.

This is a true treasure that you don't typically find at Goodwill, especially for only $30.00.

This is Christy's story on finding this piece.

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?

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!

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:

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:

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!

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

These look like beautiful jewelry!

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

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