Give Cheap Furniture a Classic Look

No one will ever guess this was a cheap piece of furniture.

It's easy to transform modern-day "cheap" furniture and give it a classic finish with paint. I purchased this piece at a local thrift store and knew a little bit of paint would freshen up the look in a good way.

Cheap make-up table found at a local thrift store.

It was once a small vanity table as evidenced by the drilled holes on the back of the table top. But the mirror was long gone, so I filled in the holes prior to painting. Can you see how shiny and smooth the finish is? I get a lot of questions about whether laminated and/or shiny finishes can be painted, and the answer is "yes"!

Can you see how shiny and smooth the finish is? I get a lot of questions about whether laminated and/or shiny finishes can be painted, and the answer is "yes"!

I won't go into great detail on this post, but I've covered the topic about painting laminate in previous posts, which if you want more details and photos, please click HERE to read more about it. But to summarize the process:

  • First clean the furniture to make sure it is free of dust, dirt, and oils. 
  • Next lightly sand the surface with 220-grit sandpaper or sanding block. The goal is to slightly rough up the surface to give the paint a bit of something to grip to. (You'll notice in the photo below that the surface is still quite smooth even after I sanded it.)
  • Clean away the sanding dust. I use a tack cloth to quickly remove the residue.
  • Paint a thin light first coat of chalk paint. For this project I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. (If you use a different brand you might need to paint a primer coat first.)
  • Apply the second coat. Most likely this will be your final coat, but apply more coats as needed.
  • Seal the paint with clear wax.

Follow these easy steps to paint laminate.

The drawer was in OK shape, but I wanted to give it a fresh new look, too. So I painted the sides of  the drawer and added a pretty drawer liner to the bottom (see finished photo in the "after" section below).


I used one of my favorite go-to color combinations: Duck Egg Blue and Coco.

Old make up vanity painted in duck egg blue and coco.

Although this used to be a vanity previously, I think it will work quite well as an entryway or hall table.

This make-up vanity has a small footprint. It would also work well as a entryway table or small desk.

It would also work quite well as a small writing desk.

The desk is painted in Duck Egg Blue and Coco. The chair is also painted in Duck Egg with Old Ochre.

The top measures 28" x 16" which is a perfect size for a small work space.

The top measures 28" x 16" which is a perfect size for a small work space.

Prior to waxing I lightly distressed the front of the desk with a damp cloth.

Duck Egg and Coco with a lightly distressed finish.

The top is painted in Coco, and the base is painted in Duck Egg Blue.

Use paint to transform cheap furniture for a classic look.

I lined the bottom of the drawer with a lavender scented drawer liner using double side tape. I was excited to find this very affordable and pretty paper. Well it WAS affordable when I bought it. I paid about $4 for two six-sheet sets. But the price as of today is closer to $18. I'm not sure what is driving the price increase, but for 12 sheets I suppose it is still a good deal. Nevertheless, I wish I had ordered more at the lower price!

I used a lavender scented drawer liner.

Thank you so much for visiting The Black Sheep Shoppe today!

Before & After Collage:
An old make up vanity was transformed with paint.
Before and after side-by-side:
Before and after make up vanity.

Follow these easy steps to paint laminate!


  1. I really like the finished look especially given that it was that shiny finish. Don't think you said how you plugged the holes on the top but it was probably putty or the dowel trick? I think you need more staging items; a small lamp would look really great especially since it could be a writing table/desk. I especially like the scented drawer liner nicely done! Thank You

    1. Thanks so much Mary! To fill the holes I taped the bottom of each hole and then injected wood filler with a syringe. After it was dry I sanded it smooth.


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