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Topic: Should I paint or stain this antique vanity? Should I leave it alone?  (Read 1987 times)
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« on: July 29, 2013 07:50:24 AM »

I found this vanity on craigslist for $75. I am in love with it and will definitely be using it every day. I would be fine with leaving it how it is, but it doesn't really match any of my existing furniture.

The woman I bought it from said it was her great grandmothers, and that it is 80+ years old. She also said she was told it's mahogany, but I don't really know enough about wood to know if that's true. It is definitely an antique, and I am aware that restoring antiques can lower their value, but honestly I bought it to use it, not to resell it.

So there are a few scratches that might just make the "antique" look even better, but most of the large scratches bother me. I am unsure if I should strip it, sand it, and stain it, or if I should just attempt to touch up the scrapes. I have also considered painting it to make it match more of my furniture, but I worry it might not look very good once it's painted, and also it feels kind of wrong to paint over such a nice piece. If I somehow painted it white and replaced the knobs, and made it look good, that would be my ideal vanity.

My father, who used to work with wood when he made cabinetry, thinks I should do nothing to it. He said he would cut me a glass top to put on it, and thinks that's all I should do. I am a little worried about the outcome if I do decide to try and fix it up, because I don't have a lot of experience with sanding/staining/painting furniture. I also have to take into account the details on the vanity as well.

I tried to search Craftster and google for a project someone has completed similar to this, but I wasn't able to find anything useful. If you know of one, I would love a link to it!

So, if anyone could give me advice on what you would do in my position, with my level of experience (none, novice haha) I would be very grateful!

« Last Edit: July 29, 2013 07:52:03 AM by HayleyHeartsYou » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2013 01:34:50 PM »

I share your respect for the wood, but it is not a museum piece, it is for your home. Maybe a treatment like the pictures below would be a good solution. Paint some portions to go better with your other furnishings, but leave some of the wood exposed. You may need to refinish the top because of the scratches but could leve the drawer fronts or the sides in the original state.


Teesha Moore inspired patches--anyone want to swap?
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What a piece of work is man!

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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2013 08:57:35 PM »

Definitely agree with craftsunderground Smiley It's a lovely piece. If it was mine, I would paint those gorgeous carved legs and probably sand/paint/seal the top (and maybe the side panels) and add some new knobs. Definitely don't be afraid to at least sand out the scratches that bother you...

« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2013 09:44:36 AM »

Initially I had an entire reply typed out and ready to go and then when I hit submit, apparently my session had timed out.

SO, lol Moral of my story is -

click this link. and then keep us posted on what you decide to do haha

« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014 10:33:38 PM »

I am one who has painted damn near every piece of furniture I own, so take my advise with a grain of salt Smiley

I would either paint it, or leave it be. MAYBE try touching up the scratches with a stain pen or something if you decide to keep it as is, but the whole process to re-finish wood for staining is incredibly tedious, and not something that I would want to do as a novice, and particularly not with a piece with so many details. You truly have to make sure to remove every bit of poly or varnish and sand it all evenly to get a uniform look.

I love the French Provencial/Hollywood Regency style of furniture and paint and some glaze could do such amazing things to that vanity! Not to mention, it's YOUR furniture. So do what you love. Everyone is going to have an opinion. My boyfriend and I bought oak cabinets for our kitchen off craigslist, which were very good quality, but so not my style. They were like 20+ years old, and an outdated very light color. We painted them white and they look amazing with the style of my kitchen (I have a 50s diner thing going on) Yet, I still hear b.s. from my Uncle for the sin of "painting oak".  Roll Eyes
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2014 02:13:40 AM »

I would first have it appraised by someone who knows antiques. Often if you alter them, you do deminish the value.
After that, I agree with members...dress it up as you would like it to look. I am all for keeping the good stuff on the piece. Whatever part you like about it being raw wood. I have even whacked my wood with a bracelet of nuts to extra destress the texture. And hit it with a hammer, too. Just for that "lived in" look. That is what matches my house  Cheesy Then when the kids kick into it, I don't have to worry. I am like, "great...looks good like that  Grin"


NEW REQUEST: Need quilting fabric with ONLY purple, grey, green. Solids or Prints in any combination/shades, but NO OTHER COLORS ALLOWED. HELP! They are hard to find.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
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