An Uninspired 70s-Era Sideboard Gets a Luxe Makeover for $60

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You don’t have to settle for second-choice furniture just because your dream look is out of budget. In fact, you can still snag just the right thing for your space if you know where to look. Thrift stores, garage sales, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace are all treasure troves — you just might need to give whatever you find a little TLC to help it reach its full potential.

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Online browsing is what led Kim Holbrook to the ideal sideboard for her family room. “I was looking for storage for a smaller alcove/media area,” she says, and found this one on Facebook Marketplace.

While this piece fit the hard-to-size area perfectly, it was stained a butterscotch color and had old hardware that made the whole thing look dated — especially considering Kim was targeting a more contemporary-looking piece for her family room. The piece, as Kim put it, “screamed for a makeover.”

To modernize the unit and highlight its beautiful detailing, Kim first removed the cabinet doors and hardware. Then, she stripped off all of the old stain and varnish — a process made very challenging and time-consuming by all of the lattice work on the cabinet doors.

After sanding the entire piece, Kim applied a pale gray stain that gave the look of weathered driftwood, then topped it with a matte sealer. The entire process took about a week. In the meantime, she ordered sleek new drawer pulls in a contemporary gold finish.

While the project required plenty of patience and sweat equity, it wasn’t budget-breaking. Kim spent $250 for the sideboard and an additional $60 in supplies, but the result of her work is a custom piece that looks like it could be sold in a high-end furniture store.

“It was a fun project, and I’m very happy with how it turned out,” says Kim. Her only advice to anyone following in her furniture makeover footsteps? “Be prepared for [the project] to require more time than you imagine.” A wise and always relevant bit of DIY advice, indeed!





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