Before & After: Wooden Storage Bench Makeover

New furniture can be very expensive these days, so it's always a great option to search for an affordable piece that simply needs a modern makeover. You can browse flea markets and websites like Craigslist for great pieces that just need a little love and a little sprucing up to fit within the aesthetic of your home.

The updated bench in its new home.
(Marisa Hice)

Things You'll Need

  • Wood furniture
  • Sandpaper
  • Interior paint
  • Large paintbrush
  • Small paintbrush
  • Drop cloth or tarp
  • Clean rag

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Step 1

Set up a workspace before you begin working on your piece of furniture. Sanding and painting create a bit of a mess, so it is best to work outside, if possible.

The before photo of the bench.
Marisa Hice
Step 2

Start sanding down the finish on your piece. This particular bench had a polyurethane stain finish as well as some acrylic painted flowers. Some furniture might already have an old layer of paint or a thicker finish. A 110-grit sandpaper should be sufficient to sand off the majority of the finish or paint from any bench. Be forewarned, sanding takes a good amount of time and strength, but it's an excellent workout.

Sanding down the shiny finish.
Marisa Hice
Step 3

Once you've sanded down your piece to your liking, take a clean, damp rag and wipe down the furniture to remove all the particles created by sanding. You will want to make sure the surface is clean so the paint will adhere to it.

Sanded, cleaned and ready to paint!
Marisa Hice
Step 4

Set your furniture on a drop cloth, tarp or even newspapers to protect the ground from paint. Open up your can of paint and start stirring so it is all evenly mixed. You might find it helpful to use two different sized paintbrushes for painting. For example, a 1-inch wide brush is great for the thinner parts of the wood, and a 4-inch wide brush covers more ground on the larger areas.

Gather up your paint and paintbrushes.
Marisa Hice
Step 5

Now it's time to start painting! Dip the edge of your paintbrush into the paint can, get a very minimal amount of paint on the brush and shake it off. You'll want to start very lightly. Quickly brush the paint onto the bench with long, even strokes. If you put too much contact between the brush and the bench, you will get splotchy parts and an uneven paint layer. Paint with the grain of the wood for the best effect.

First paint layer is complete.
Marisa Hice
Step 6

Once the first paint layer is finished, you can start to build up more paint layers to create as much opacity as you want. Since the paint layers are so thin, they dry relatively quickly allowing the process to go by relatively quickly. Once you achieve the effect you want, let your revitalized bench dry overnight and set it up in its new home!

Painting is done!
Marisa Hice
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