June 27, 2013

How To Paint Laminate Furniture in 3 Easy Steps!

How to paint laminate furniture in 3 easy steps! Amazing tips!
Hey ya'll. So, when we moved into our house 3 years ago, we had two hot pink couches and a mattress on the floor. I was living the high life. And that's about the time when I began my journey of finding old thrift store furniture and painting it. 
Now three years later, I've painted and repurposed tons of furniture, my entire house is pretty much furnished with my finds, and I write a blog about doing just that.
That was never really my plan, but in the end, I wouldn't change a thing.








Anyways, this last week a good family friend was moving and gifted me a bunch of furniture that was in his basement. While the majority of the dresser was real wood, the top and sides were laminate. I was excited by this discovery because I get all sorts of questions about how to paint laminate furniture, and I knew this would be a great opportunity to talk about it. 

So, today's post is about how to paint laminate furniture. And actually, this method of painting furniture is so easy and can be used on all wood furniture, not just the laminate stuff.
In fact, I paint the majority of my pieces this way.

So, here is what I brought home earlier last month...a trailer full of free furniture. 

How to paint laminate furniture in 3 easy steps! Amazing tips!

I decided to start with the smaller dresser first (although I eventually painted the larger one, too.)
Here's the before picture.

How to paint laminate furniture in 3 easy steps! Amazing tips!

The dresser was in great shape, and was a perfect paint candidate. After just a couple hours of work, here is what I ended up with. I think it may be my favorite yet. 
Or at least a good rival to my all-time favorite. It's hard to compete with that one.

How to paint laminate furniture in 3 easy steps! Amazing tips!


So let's talk about the actual process of painting. One of the most common questions I get about painting laminate furniture is if it should be sanded first. In my experience, no. Sanding laminate furniture can damage the laminate and basically ruin the piece. So, be careful.

But good news. Rather than sanding the laminate, all you have to do to get the paint to adhere correctly is prime.

How to paint laminate furniture in 3 easy steps! Amazing tips!


The reason you should prime your laminate furniture first before painting is simple. Laminate has a shiny finish and if you just try to paint directly on it, the paint will not adhere well and you'll visibly see the paint bubble up as soon as you apply it. I've made this mistake before, and it's a sad moment. The solution is primer. Primer will adhere to the laminate, and it will create a surface that your paint can adhere to. It will keep your paint from scratching or peeling off, it will cover up the wood stain, and it will even cover up that musty smell old furniture tends to have. Basically, primer is awesome. 
The primer I usually use is Zinsser primer (affiliate link). I've also used Kilz, and it works really well, too. Just look for a primer that says it's good for adhesion.

How to paint laminate furniture in 3 easy steps! Amazing tips!


Once you allow your primer to dry (You probably only need to wait a couple hours, but I let it dry overnight.), it's time to paint the dresser. I was able to do the entire dresser with one small $3 sample of Behr flat paint in Marina Isle. It's my new favorite paint color. It looks amazing on furniture and is the perfect little aqua. To apply the paint you'll need an angled paintbrush and a small foam roller. I use the angled paintbrush to get into all the crevices and corners, and then I smooth over everything with the small foam roller as I go, getting rid of any brushmarks. This will give you a flawless, factory-like, smooth finish. I did 2 coats, allowing it to fully dry between coats.
And yes, I literally put a tarp on my bedroom floor and had a paint party. 
I live on the edge.

How to paint laminate furniture in 3 easy steps! Amazing tips!


Once your paint has dried, it's time to seal it. This is the last step. I needed this piece to be really durable because it is going in the laundry/dressing room...aka the crappy side room in my bedroom that has an ironing board in it. I just know there will be a hot iron, soggy towel, or blob of soapy detergent on this dresser at some point. So rather than wax it like I do to my chalk paint pieces (like this one), I decided to use polycrylic. If you need your paint job to be durable, go with polycrylic (affiliate link). Polycrylic is great because it's durable like Polyurethane, but it doesn't yellow over time and it's really low-odor. To apply your polycrylic, just brush it on with a high quality paint brush. I did 2 coats, allowing it to dry for several hours in between. If you can see any brushmarks, or if you just feel that it might need it, you can sand lightly with fine grit sand paper once the polycrylic is dry.



After the dresser was fully cured (about 24 hours), it was time to change the hardware. Changing the hardware is one of the best ways to update old furniture. Although the old hardware wasn't bad, and could have been easily updated with a coat of silver or ORB spray paint (seen here), I had a little something special up my sleeve.
After finishing up my kitchen cabinets and being thrilled with the hardware from D. Lawless, I was browsing their store and found that they had an amazing selection of antique restoration hardware. I had been looking for something like this for a really long time, and was so excited. 
It took me forever to decide, too, because there were tons to choose from. I eventually chose the stamped solid embellished brass bail pull
Now brace yourself.
These pulls were only $3.45.
Oh, and I got that little crystal knob, too. They have so many glass and acrylic knobs. It's a hardware lover's paradise.



The pulls were originally brass, but I wanted to spray paint them silver. So, I attached one spray painted pull and one brass pull, and stared at it confused for a day or two. I just couldn't decide. Here's a really bad night time iphone pic to satisfy your curiosity. You'll hafta squint. The gold pull looked really chic and reminded me of my favorite kitchen island ever, but it just looked off when combined with the other furniture in the room. So, ultimately, I decided to spray paint the hardware.



And now that all is said and done, I'm so glad I did. It looks amazing now, and feels like it just fits in the room. 
You can get a better idea of what this room looks like (and witness all my decorating mistakes) here.



Since I didn't want the pulls to be bright chrome, I decided to layer some spray paints. I sprayed the hardware first with the Rust-Oleum Bright Coat Chrome and then gave it a really fine misting with the Rust-Oleum Universal Pure Gold (affiliate links). I love the result. It ended up being a really pretty pewter, and because it has some dimension to it, it doesn't look so spray painted.



I really think the blue paint and fancy new hardware totally made this piece.




 I added a few thrifty details to style the top of the dresser...a little gold mirrored tray that I found for a few dollars at a thrift store years ago.



And a couple thrift store vases filled with some mini roses.
Remember this?



And then that mirror. I got it at Costco for $22. It's apparently supposed to be an outdoor mirror...
because that's what the box said.
But I make the rules around here. :)



And that's pretty much all for today, ya'll! 
Thanks so much for stopping by!
P.S. This dresser ended up going through some major changes later this year, which can be seen here.



P.P.S. I know many of you have questions about chalk paint, so you might want to also check out this post.


'Til next time!


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145 comments:

  1. Love the dresser, love the paint colour, ADORE that mirror!!!! what a pretty vignette.

    Great job & thanks for the tips!

    now if you can tell me how to refinish rubberwood I'd be all set...

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    1. Thanks so much Anne! The mirror is adored by moi, too! :) Oh, and what on earth is rubberwood? Looks like I have something new to discover!

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  2. This is all so beautiful, I too love the colour you painted the dresser and how you changed the brass pulls...awesome!

    Thank you for a super tutorial, I'm going to try it!

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    1. Oh, that's awesome Raylene! You totally should try it! Thanks so much for stopping by!!

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  3. That is amazing! I LOVE that paint color - and the hardware just seals the deal! Love it!

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    1. Thank you! I really thought so, too! It really takes it up a notch! :)

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  4. I just found your blog and LOVE all your tips. I am just about to embark on my first furniture painting journey... I'm in Australia though, so we don't have all the same brands you do.

    What sort of paint do you use? Is it just a wall paint? Or a special furniture paint?

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    1. I just used flat interior paint...nothing special! As long as you prime first and seal afterwards, a basic flat acrylic paint works just fine! Hope that helps!! Thanks for all your sweet words!

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  5. I LOVE that color! I am going to re-finish a small side-table I found for free on Craigslist in that color!

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    1. Oh, how fun! That color would make for such a fun side table!! :)

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  6. I love this! Thanks for the tips! About to dive into a huge buffet with laminate sides!

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    1. Yay! That will make for a gorgeous buffet! So glad I could help! Thanks so much for stopping by, Laura!

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  7. I saw that mirror at Costco a week ago and I almost bought it. I loved it the minute I saw it! Maybe I should go back and grab one...

    Great tutorial. I haven't tried painting furniture yet, but I have been keeping my eyes open for a piece to try it out on.

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    1. I was so excited to find that mirror! Such a great deal! You should totally try painting furniture.....it's so fun! :)

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  8. Love it so much! That color is gorgeous, I may steal it for a future project! Those pulls are amazing and really pull it all together!

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    1. Thank you so much Lauren! You totally should....it's such an amazing color....I totally love it! And yes, those pulls totally make the piece! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

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  9. Looks amazing Virginia! Naturally, I love the color you color you chose ;) I can't wait to see what you do with the other pieces!

    Ashley xoxox

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    1. Yay! So glad you love it, girl!! It's nowhere NEAR as gorgeous as your island I love so much....but it was definitely my inspiration! Next up, start working on the closet!! Muah!

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  10. thanks for the update - I have a laminate dresser and 2 bedside tables that I got at Ikea forever ago and am so looking forward to giving them an update when we move to our new home! Thank you so much for the ideas and the steps involved.

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    1. Aw, thank YOU, Stacy! You are so sweet! I am so excited for you to update your dresser and tables....you will love what a great difference it makes!

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  11. Great job! I love your blog. I am moving into my first home today (yay!) and your blog has truly inspired me. Thank you! I can't wait to get to work. :-)

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    1. Anna, thank you so much for saying that! That truly makes me so happy! Congratulations on moving into your first home! That is such an exciting time!

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  12. Hi Virginia! Do you think primer+chalk paint would work on laminate? Are there any issues with using polycrylic (instead of wax) on calk paint?

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Janet

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    1. Hi Janet! I've done it before and it seems to work just fine. :)

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  13. Thanks so much for the tutorial!! I was wondering if you have any tips on how to paint over water stained laminate? I know you said that you cannot really sand over the laminate and since most of the laminate furniture is made from mdf or a material like that it is easily damaged when a wet cup is set ontop of it :( soo i was wondering if you had any tips on how to go about covering the water stains on this kind of furniture?!

    Thanks soo much!!
    Jessica!

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    1. Hi Jessica! You can either just paint over it with the primer and it will cover it, or you could use a little wood filler and smooth it down with fine grit sandpaper. It won't ruin it if it is sanded lightly...you just don't want to sand so hard that it sands through that top layer of veneer. Really though, I would just prime over it. :)

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  14. LOVE that dresser 'after'! Love the color and the color of the pulls too.:-)

    OK...so ya want another way to paint laminate? Spray paint! Hubby and I spray painted 5, yes five!, pianos! :-) It's a painter's dream and you don't need to sand and ya don't need to seal either cuz spray paint is oil based so it really sticks. The best spray paint we've found is Krylon's made for plastic ...cuz after all laminate is sort of a plastic ;-)

    Annnnddd...just in case you're wondering, it takes 6 cans of satin black for an upright piano and 10 cans of satin ivory :-) And yup, it holds up really well :-)

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    1. That's great, Connie! Yes, spray paint does work well, too! I just can't always find the colors I want. I'm hoping one day to buy a paint sprayer, too. That will make the process really quick! :)

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  15. This is a spectacular entry!! What a beautiful result. I love that you mixed colors to paint the hardware, it came out beautifully!

    xox
    Bailey
    http://akabailey.blogspot.com

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  16. truly beautiful finished piece.....i must say: YOU GIVE THE MOST AMAZING INSTRUCTIONS. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I HAVE LAMINATE PIECES I'VE BEEN EAGER TO PAINT. THANKS TO YOU I CAN.
    LUV THIS BLOG....
    BLESSINGS..
    LESA

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    1. Aw, thank you so much Lesa! That is just so nice to hear! You are so very welcome!! :)

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  17. I have a laminate dresser that has bubbled on the top. How do I deal with that? The rest is in excellent condition.

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  18. Hey Virginia! First time commenter, long-time reader here! I just wanted to say thanks for this post and all your inspiration. I just moved into my first house about a year ago and it'd be looking pretty sad if I didn't have awesome bloggers like you to refer to! Love the dresser!! Any tips on how I can teach my friends that I'm the go-to person for their old furniture. ;)

    -Amber
    healthywealthydiys.com

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  19. I.am.in.love. This is absolutely gorgeous..and now, please excuse me while I got wipe up my drool. Great job. Melissa @ TwoItYourself.blogspot.com

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  20. Absolutely gorgeous! Love this post and love the blog. :) I have some laminate built-in cabinets in my bathroom that I'm dying to paint...do you think this technique would work there? Thank you!

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  21. Love the color! Looks amazing! Great tips.

    Emily @ elizabethjoandesigns.com

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  22. Fabulous! I painted our son's (who is waiting for us in an orphanage in India) dresser that was part laminate. Primed it, painted it with a few coats but couldn't get the red color just right so I finished it up with spray paint and it's perfect. Do I need to use polycrylic it too?

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  23. Have you ever used primer from a spray can? I'm just wondering how it adheres compared to the kind you would roll on. I guess I would also need to pay attention to whether or not its oil based or water based?

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  24. Looks beautiful! I use a lot of the same products when painting furniture-they sure do the trick! As a fellow thrifter and DIYer I just love reading your blog...thanks for sharing!

    Shelly @ www.livingonsale.com

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  25. So gorgeous! I just discovered your blog as I am getting ready to move into a house after 20 years of condo living! You're helping me get geared-up! I think I will refo my childhood bedroom set in this color for my daughter-- thanks for he inspiration!

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  26. Hey you are awesome. Just wanted to know if its fine to use the same brush for the primer, paint and finish? Of course after washing each time. Plus what kind of brush would you recommend? Its quite confusing. Mohair?

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    1. Hi there! I sure do! I just use a normal $5 paintbrush. Nothing special. :)

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    2. Make sure to read the entire post above though, please! I recommend using a mini foam roller over your brushstrokes to even them out.

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  27. Could this work on the cheap book shelves from Target/Walmart that are press-board? I really don't want to have to buy new book shelves, but they currently look like something from my old college apartment.

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    1. It should work just fine as long as you prime first!

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  28. I was just wondering because I have picked up 2 discarded mostly laminent wood pieces of furniture. There are scratches on them not deep but enough to make it very unapealing to the eye. What would i do, since I read that you said you cant sand laminent furniture and would ruin it. Please help I really dont want to find out I cant redo them .

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    1. Hi April! I would use Elmer's Wood Filler on the scratches and then sand it even with the wood after it dries. You can sand it lightly and it will be fine. You just can't sand it like you would a normal piece of wood. Hope that helps!

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  29. I just found your blog while googling about painting a dresser. I'm so glad I did! Thanks for the tips!

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  30. Can you use semi-gloss paint instead of flat paint? I've already primed my furniture with 2 coats of primer and now I'm ready to paint but I only have semi-gloss in the shade I want to use.

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    1. You sure can! I've painted many pieces just by priming and then using semi-gloss. I don't usually use a topcoat with semi gloss paint, as it creates a nice finish. Hope that helps!

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  31. The paint I have says "Paint and Primer in one." Do I still need to use primer? Or is that sufficient?

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    1. I still would! I've skipped it before when using the paint and primer in one, and it still peels. :)

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  32. Oh man. Do I have a million thanks for you. I discovered your blog (bible?) by googling "ugly-as-sin laminate furniture." (Ok, maybe not that EXACTLY, but I'm pretty sure that's a good approximation.) That was three days ago. Now the ugly laminate is awesome, a bookcase is primed and BEGGING FOR some paint. Now I plan on painting EVERYTHING: vanities, dressers, my husband's skepticism...

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    1. Kate!! That's awesome!! Thanks so much for letting me know. I'm pretty excited for your new 'paint everything' journey, having embarked on one of my own several years ago. Also, your comment was hilarious! Thanks girl!! xo

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  33. I'm giddy as if a celebrity has acknowledged me.

    Hey girl, I totally think that turquoise end table brings out your eyes.

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    1. HA!!!!!! Well, I'm about to acknowledge you twice...because you are just THAT awesome! (And also.......I am about the farthest thing from a celebrity possible. But, thanks for putting some wind in my sails anyways!) MUAH!

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  34. I just wanted you to know that I love your blog! I tried painting a wood laminate dresser for the first time (my daughters huge dresser) and it turned out wonderfully! The style was very feminine for being such a large piece but the wood just gave it an ugly outdated look. I have been struggling with painting it or not but after reading up on some of your projects it gave me the confidence to give it a shot and now I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner! I can't wait to paint more pieces and get to work on some more home improvement projects in my 1940's home that have been intimidating me. Thank you so much!

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    1. That's SO awesome, Melinda! I appreciate your sweet comment so much! Thank you!

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  35. I am preparing to paint a dresser that is similar to this, my drawers are wood and the sides and top are laminate. Did you sand your drawers at all-or just put primer on everything and painted. Also, I'm going to distress it- do I wait after I distress it to apply the top coat?

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  36. I am preparing to paint a dresser that is similar to this, my drawers are wood and the sides and top are laminate. Did you sand your drawers at all-or just put primer on everything and painted. Also, I'm going to distress it- do I wait after I distress it to apply the top coat?

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  37. Clever, thrifty and a great result. Thanks for sharing.

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  38. Did you use this same process to paint your kitchen cabinets? Mine look exactly like your before picture and I would love to get them to that nice clean fresh look, but I'm not sure where to start.

    Thanks!

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  39. I have a cabinet that is laminate and has a few scratches. Is there a way to fill that in or am I stuck with them?
    Thank you!
    Rebecca

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    1. HI there! Yes, try wood filler, then let it dry and sand it afterwards. That should work nicely.

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  40. Did you sand the polycrylic? Thanks so much!!! Beautiful turn out!

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  41. I have been encouraged by your post! I work for a non-profit and people donate their used furniture to us to sell so we can run our program. We usually sell stuff so cheap because it always that particle board boring brown stuff. I really want to play around with some things now and see if I can change it and still make a profit for our program! I feel so energetic, I can't wait!!!

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  42. Having made some furniture courtesy Ana White i totally ruined all those efforts by painting them awfully. since discovering your blog i have been reading your blog entries on painting furniture almost daily. i need some courage desperately to start on those. your posts are so nicely written and the after photos so beautiful, i feel i can do it even though i am in india and many of the products you talk about we don't even have here i think like polycrylic

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  43. OMG! OMG! I cant stop reading your blog ever since I discovered it last evening. I was googling about painting my old laminate, similar chest, which I found in Goodwill (Thrift store in Toronto).
    You are amazing. thanks for all the details and picture. I am doing it this weekend.

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    1. Thank you so much! Good luck on your project!!

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  44. I agree!! This is quite amazing! You totally made the right decision of changing the hardware to pewter!! LOVE IT! Thanks for the info!

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  45. This is absolutely amazing!!! I love it! How many coats of primer did you apply?

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    1. Thanks so much! One coat usually does the trick for me! :)

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  46. does flat paint give it a chalkie look or does the polycrilic shine it up a bit? do you ever use semi gloss? if so how do you like it? im getting ready to paint an old dresser handed down to me from grams who had it since she was small.. so i really want it to come out nice : )

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    1. Hi there! Yes, the polycrylic shines it up. I've used semi gloss paint before many times, and love the way that looks as well. I just usually do the flat paint + polycrylic these days, it is usually gives a more durable finish. :)

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  47. YOU! My dear...are the reason I opted to paint my ancient (slight exaggeration) dining table and chairs. ;-) I started yesterday, so wish me luck. I originally just wanted to buy a new set but after reading this... I KNOW I can do this! Thanks, you are saving me lots of money! oh! almost forgot, quick question...? Did u sand between coats for the polycrylic?

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    1. Hi there! Yes, I do sand between coats. It should help to get rid of any brushstrokes in the topcoat. Thanks so much for your sweet words!

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  48. Hey Virginia, New Subscriber :)

    I took on my first DIY this week and pained my laminate table black. UGH (not a good choice for the first project LOL). Anyways, after priming and a few coats of the paint I decided to put the polyacrylic on to protect from wear and tear and make it shiny. Long story short, even after painting how you recommended, when it dried there were brushstrokes everywhere :/ I was wondering, did you sand in between coats of polyacrylic? Or did you go over with a roller? Pleaseeeee help! I cant wait to show you before and afters <3

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    1. Oh no! I'm so sorry that happened, Demree! I've had that happen before on a dresser and it was so frustrating! After a little trial and error, I've found that using those inexpensive foam brushes to apply the polycrylic works best. These days, I apply one coat with the foam brush, let it cure for a few hours, sand it with fine grit sand paper, and then repeat that process with another coat or two of polycrylic. Since you've already done the polycrylic coat, I would just go sand it and add your next coat with the foam brush. Let me know how it turns out!

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  49. hi and thank you so much for the Step by Step. Gorgeous piece and great instructions and links. Question - does the primer step have a smell? i know you said you threw a tarp down and painted, but i'm not sure if that included the primer step ? i have a small place with no garage unfortunately.... Thank you very much for the scoop on this point!

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    1. Thank you so much! As far as I've noticed, there isn't much of a smell at all when priming. Hope that helps! :)

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  50. Seriously this is my new favorite blog. I love how detailed all your tutorials are. Your house is BEAUTIFUL! I'm working on a dresser right now that will be also used as a changing table, and I was wondering what finish you would recommend for it. I don't want it to be too shiny yet I want it to be easy to wipe down. Also does the finish smell? The dresser is in my living room since I've been working on it late at night, so I'm wondering if I should move it into the garage before finishing it. Thank you!!

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  51. I'm in the process of repainting two desks as we just moved into our new home and this was just the information I needed! Thank you:)

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  52. Can you skip the primer if you're using a paint that has primer added?

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  53. Hi Virginia! For the first tine in my life I'm commenting on a blog, I'm so inspired and blowed away by your style that I keep entering everyday to see if you posted something new. I just adore everything, my housband thinks I'm going mad because I want to buy used stuff to renovate it! Thank you so much for sharing all your knolegde. I wish we had all those azing product and thrift stores here in Venezuela! Please show us what to do to make a router, phone station look beautifull! I really need some ideas and who better for that than you! :) keep your great ideas! I declare myself a Virginia fan jeje

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  54. an *outdoor* mirror? really? i've honestly never heard of that!! it looks fantastic inside instead :)

    also, i have found and been reading your blog over the last few hours and love it! love your style and bravery and i can't wait to use some of the tips i've learned here to paint some furniture soon! :)

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  55. LOVE IT!!! Im from Canada, but ordered the same hardware and am so excited to spray paint them and then add them to my daughters newly glitter painted bedroom suite!!! Thank you!!!!

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  56. I love your blogs, your honesty, tips, mistakes...love it all!! For any of us who have more time and creativity than budget know, it is all in the paint and finding the right pieces to work with. Paint is my best friend and on a normal day taking the kids to some lesson or other, I came across a smallish 6 drawer dresser perfect for my very french shabby chic guest bedroom. It was $5 and for the first time I am taking on laminate. My instinct was to lightly sand to give it "tooth" for priming, but decided to Google and found your delightful site! I now have all the paints, primers, painting tape and did my before picture which included stickers all over the drawers. I need a statement piece in this room of pinks, greens, whites and little bits of yellows, so I am painting 6" yellow and white stripes on the dresser top, yellow on the sides and using fleur de lis pale yellow stamps, slightly sanded for age on the alternating yellow and white drawers. I am SO thankful I found your site and didn't sand as my "month in the mind dream dresser" plans would have been junk! Can't wait for the "after" picture and the dresser that my mom-in-law will appreciate the most; both for its look and its practicality. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks. Keep painting!!!

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  57. Help please! I've been using your blog as my house inspiration...it looks AMAZING! I'm trying to paint an end table for the first time and I think I ruined it already. I used oil-based primer like you said. It's a wooden end table, not a laminate one. I probably should have sanded it first, but I didn't. It's been three days and the primer is still kind of wet and sticky in some spots. Is this because I didn't sand it? I didn't put it on too thick. What should I do? Sand it all down and start again? Did i use the wrong primer? I want my furniture to look as beautiful as yours! :D
    - Meghan

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    1. Hi Meghan!
      I'm so sorry you are having a difficult time. It's likely due to your primer.I would allow a few more days for the oil based primer to fully cure and then paint it with oil based paint. If you choose to redo it with water based primer, make sure you use water based paint over top of the primer. Water based products are what I use and they dry quicker and are much easier to use. They don't smell either! :) Hope that helps!

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  58. I love all of your diy tips!! I can't wait to start my projects now that I have some guidance from you. Me and my new family have a similar story. We have just bought our dream home and we are now short on cash to furnish it. We have old bedroom furniture that needs some help, big time. I do have a question: Our furniture is laminate and old, on a side table there is a raised spot where the "wood" has lifted due to water damage (my wonderful husband left a glass of iced water on it too long without wiping dry) and I was wondering if you knew a way to fix it? I know cant sand it so I am at a loss as to what to do.
    -Ashley

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  59. Great tips! I have my eye on an Ikea wardrobe and LOVE the high gloss doors, but they add an extra $130 over the regular (laminate) flat white doors. If all these steps are necessary to go from flat white to high gloss white, I'm game since it would still be a significant cost savings, but based on all the ideas in the comments, maybe that's not necessary. A white gloss rustoleum spray for plastics maybe? Or clear gloss polycrylic on its own?

    Would love to hear your thoughts, but I'm saving this post either way!

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  60. Hi Virginia. I love your blog! I was wondering if you think this method of painting laminate would work with a kitchen table? The top of my kitchen table is laminate bute the rest is wood. Would just priming it and painting it last?

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  61. I am so glad I stumbled across this. I just bought a credenza that I THOUGHT was wood, but was not...it was laminate. We were planning on sanding and you literally saved the day! NEW FAN!! thank you for such easy instructions and illustrations as well!

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  62. You have totally inspired me. I spent yesterday painting an old media console I bought in the 90's - not laminate but veneered and beaten to heck after 10 years, 3 children, 4 cats, 4 dogs, and 5 living rooms. I thrifted a barrister's shelf for its spot in the living room (my TV is mounted on the wall, so I don't really need a console any longer.) I am thinking it will live in the foyer next to my bedroom door and will host a thrifted pitcher and basin set. My next project is my kitchen table, chairs, and hutch. The hutch and table ARE laminate-topped. Wish me luck! I've also become addicted to spray painting. Thanks, Virginia!

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    1. That's so wonderful!!! Thank you so much Becky! xo

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  63. Will any primer work for this project or do certain ones adhere better than others?

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  64. I've just discovered your blog, and I've fallen hard. Totally bookmarking this for all of my furniture updating and DIY inspiration, thank you for this ace post!!

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  65. Thank you for this - I just used your tips for my latest project and linked back to this post. It worked perfectly! www.memyselfndiy.com

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  66. I just found your blog and have been reading it for HOURS!! You're my new heroine - I anticipate saving time and $$$ following your tips. Here's my issue: would you suggest trying to paint laminate kitchen countertops? I need to upgrade the look of my home, and I'm wondering if I can use a chalk paint to mimic slate countertops? Thoughts?

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    1. Hi Nancy! Thank you so much! Here are several links to products that can be used to paint countertops. I would look into one of those first! Hope that helps!
      http://www.mom4real.com/2013/01/faux-granite-countertops-with-giani-granite-paint.html
      http://www.uglyducklinghouse.com/2011/02/i-painted-my-kitchen-countertops.html

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  67. What did you spray the lamp with? Is it Titanium Sliver?

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  68. Um, I just found your blog and now I'm obsessed. :)
    I can't wait to try and paint some furniture turquoise in the next few weeks!

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  69. Is there a need to sand the wood first if you are going to use primer on a piece that is wood and laminate? Love your blog and am painting everything I can get my hands on!!!

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  70. I have an old wood secretaries desk with just the top of it being veneer (i think). Its shiny and has been very durable. I have had this piece of furniture since about 8th grade and I am 55 now!. All my other furniture is very dark wood and this piece is the old Maple color. I just wanted to sand and stain to match my better furniture but have no idea what to do with the very top of it. H E L P

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  71. Hi Virginia! Could you please give me the codes to make that paint color pleaseeee! I want to paint a bench and this color is perfect! :) hope u could help me! Thanks

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  72. I found a wood kids bedroom set with laminated top and sides.Its white washed in color but has multiple areas where the laminate was peeled off the top edges and it has an ugly brown cheap looking material showing through on these areas.Can this be fixed?

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  73. Hi Virginia, I LOVE this color, beautiful job! Can I paint over veneer the same way (without sanding)

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  74. Hi Virginia, I am currently a makeover to my bedside tables following these steps of your post "How to paint laminate furniture". I'm at doing the coat of polycrylic tonight.

    Question: Do you only put it on with a brush or do you use the foam as well?

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    1. Hi Emma! I apply with a brush and sand with fine grit sandpaper in between coats (once it's dry).

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  75. Fabulous tutorial, will definitely be using this. Our son's nursery is Marina Isle trimmed with white, beautiful color choice!!

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  76. Thanks for this tutorial; I love finding thrift store pieces, then get them home and scratch my head. I often pass up laminate pieces because I just don't know to work with them, but I'm not afraid to anymore :)

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  77. This is awesome wish I would have found this before I messed up my daughters night stand. Question for the paint color. Do you always use a flat paint? Is it better? Or do you use the flat paint because the polycrylic gives it the shine look?

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  78. You are a freakin' genius. So happy I found your blog.

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  79. thanks for these wonderful tutorials.. i'm using this to paint an old dresser to use for storage in my new sewing/craft room.. I am also re-painting my horrible kitchen cabinets using your tutorial.. it seemed impossible to do myself until i found you... thank you so much for helping me see i can do this myself..

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  80. I just came across your blog, and I wanted to thank you. I've been looking for ideas and tips since I'm redecorating my apartment, and your posts are exactly what I'm looking for. Great unique ideas!

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  81. Would this work on something like particle board ikea furniture, too? I love my little cubicle organizer, but it's a dark brown to match my current room. You've inspired me to switch to white and blues, and I'd love to still use this piece (only a few months use).
    Thank you so much for the blog! As a college student moving into my first non-furnished place, this has given me hope and inspiration that I can decorate on a budget with a little TLC!

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  82. This is exactly what I was looking for! I have a bedroom suite that is functional, but not pretty. I started trying to sand it so I could re-stain it and realized that it was veneer so that wasn't going to work. Thanks for making the steps simple and easy :)

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  83. Thank you!! I actually took your advice on the Rustoleum recommendation and that is fabulous - exactly the look I was going for and now I need to pick up a foam roller to paint my desk.

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  84. Great tutorial. I also LOVE free furniture. It's so satisfying to re-style and I have to say your color choice and painted hardware is gorgeous! x

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  85. I just have to say I have so enjoyed your tips and tutorials. I love reading and laughing along and learning. You have made DIY seem less daunting. I didnt think I could do it but I have made a few things that I am proud of. Thanks!!

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  86. I have been asked to do a refab on a laminate dresser for a nursery. In my research I came across your blog....can't thank you enough for all the helpful tips! One question though...the dresser I'm working on has a few light scratches that I don't want to show through the paint...how would you go about fixing these before you prime? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Sean! You can fill any scratches or dents with wood filler. Just apply a small amount and sand it with fine grit sandpaper once it's dry. Then you can just prime and paint over it and it will look good as new!

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  87. I'm so excited about this post!! When I got married 9 years ago, the furniture my mom surprised me with in high school came with me. I never liked the furniture, but it was a lovely gesture and I've never had the heart (or money) to part with it. We're moving at the end of the summer and I've dreamed of a new bedroom suite in the new house. Money-wise, that just might not happen. You've inspired me to paint this furniture and make it new for our new space! Thank you!

    We were going to put it in my 5 year old daughter's room whenever we got new furniture. I'm excited to maybe even paint it purple for her.

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  88. Jessica, how about using white paint for your daughter's furniture as Virginia has done and use purple as accent in your accessories or even wall color. Seems like it would be easier and less laboring to change accessorties then to have to repaint a bedroom suite again as she gets orlder. Just my 2 cents.

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  89. Virginia, I thought some furniture items looked familiar and when I took the tour of your bedroom, saw the before picture and after, I remembered I found your beautiful blog earlier this year and commented on it. You've come a long way, baby! Your bedroom is so beautiful and serene looking yet so elegant! God gave you a special gift and you are certainly using it.

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  90. I just love what you did with that dresser! I've been trying to tap back into my crafty side but I'm so worried I might make things look worse instead of better! I have a question about the primer also, do you th ink a spray paint primer would work? What kind should I look for if it did? Also after doing this method do you think I could distress it to add some character or would it not come out right? Any advice is helpful thank you and your such an inspiration!

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  91. I just love seeing the projects you've done, you're such an inspiration! I used to do crafts all the time but after going through some hard times and after having my first child got into the whole laying around with my sweatpants and hiding thing. Now my family has just moved and I'm ready to start tapping into my "craftyness" again lol. I am wondering if you could help me with a few things. I was wondering if a spray paint primer would work instead or if it would be better to do pain't primer like you did? Also if I did do a spray paint primer would I still be able to sand it if necessary? Any and all advice is most welcome, thank you for doing this blog! I now have ideas for projects that can help give me something productive to do!!!

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    1. Hi Alicia. If you use a spray paint primer (usually oil based), I would make sure to use a spray paint over top (also oil based). But, yes, that would work, although it might be expensive if you are painting a large piece. You can sand the primer if you need to with a very fine grit sandpaper. Hope that helps!

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  92. Lovely. And thank you for your very detailed instructions on how to paint over laminate. I have a desk that's sooo old, scratched, etc. and I've already ordered the Primer and Polyacrylic from Amazon. I love the "outside" mirror. Perfect touch!! Thanks again! Claudia

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  93. We just scored a couple of (free!) tall, deep bookshelves that are cheap veneer. I want to paint them white to use in my kitchen (I have no pantry), but they have plastic trim which add to their charm. Should I use spray paint on that? How do you recommend I approach them? There's some deep carving-like detailing.

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  94. Thank you so much for posting this!! I regularly shop the thrift shops. You gave me courage to tackle some projects!

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  95. Hello virginia,
    I loved reading this post and now im inspired to paint an piece of dresser i have in my room. But this will be my first time at any DIY project so wanted to ask you:

    1. The dresser is black wood from ikea, how do i paint it white?
    2. I do not want to spend a lot of money, so how do I sand it without using the sanding machine you have?
    Thanks so much

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  96. I love this post. You have just saved me a ton of trouble and fishing the internet for how to redo this roll top desk I'm rehabbing for my mom. I bought it and was told it was solid wood. Sure heavy enough to be but alas it was MDF with laminate Figured that out as I had to peel some laminate off :( I now can get started on it much sooner than I thought thanks to you. I'm also a sucker for free or cheap furniture to rehab. I've done a set of bunk beds and dresser for my kids so far and have the roll top desk with a chair and a dresser lined up. Can't wait!

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  97. I loved your tutorial! Super helpful and inspiring. I found a vintage dresser from the 60's at a thrift shop and knew it was going to be the best "1st project" thanks for helping me feel less scared of a huge DIY project. I have some quick questions:
    Does it matter whether I do 1 or 2 coats of primer?
    Can I use a paint roller for the Polycrylic, or would a brush be better?
    Thanks!

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    1. Hi Chasity! I usually just do one coat of primer, but if you notice that the stain is seeping through the primer after the first coat dries, it might be best to do two. Also, I would definitely use a brush for the Polycrylic, as the roller makes it bubble up. Hope that helps!

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  98. I love this! Do you recommend using a primer based paint instead or primer then paint?

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    1. Hi Megan! In my experience, the primer plus paint in one doesn't work as well on furniture as just using a separate primer and then paint. Hope that helps!

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  99. Thanks for this tutorial! I finished my side table today and I absolutely love it! I can't wait to finish the rest of my bedroom set. Thanks again :) I didn't have as much patience to wait for hours for paint to dry but I'm happy it didn't ruin the project.

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  100. Love this! Great tips about painting laminate! I tried it on a bedside table I did a few weeks ago and the project turned out really well! Thanks again!

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  101. Is painting laminate furniture the same as painting formica? I tried the same technique on my kitchen cabinet doors which are formica, some are fine but others have chips taken out of them. I primed, painted and protected but still chips. Any advise?

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  102. Okay, I specifically came back to your blog and found this post, which I first saw on pinterest (which led me to your blog to begin with) because I was mesmerized by it, and because of one thing. That mirror only cost $22!!!!! That is incredible!!!! I was in a kind of outlet store, and saw one just like it for $100. I'm amazed and will be hitting up Costco for finds like that!

    Initially, I was looking at how to redo my dresser, which I am doing, and have been helped by your information!! I totally got wrapped up in these posts though. I have my own little miniature start up blog, which is more about everything (hopefully has a little a humor, and is not just design), which I'm trying to build. I could literally lose endless Saturdays with your posts though.

    thank you!

    (And just in case any of the small timers want to collaborate and need a smaller forum to start up, my blog is myreverielane.blogspot.com)

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Thanks so much for leaving a comment!! I do the hammer dance every time I read one.