How To Paint A Nightstand White | 5 Easy Steps

I purchased a cheap nightstand at the thrift store just to try some new things. It is wooden veneer and had some minor issues, it definitely needed some TLC. I decided I was going to do a fully painted white nightstand, I wanted to give this little nightstand an easy makeover. Painting furniture white is super easy and it’s a great way to modernize it so it can be used again. I am going to explain how to paint a nightstand white in 5 easy steps.

First, let me show you the products I used. Remember you don’t need everything I used, the key essentials for this product would be a brush, white paint, and sandpaper. I do many projects and use tools that can help make things easier and quicker. Check out my tools for this project below:

Bosch Palm Random Orbital Sander See Latest Price On Amazon
LEOBRO 72 PCS 5 Inch Sandpaper Sheets See Latest Price On Amazon
C-I-L Interior Paint (Pure White) Purchased Locally

Wagner Flexio 590 Paint Sprayer 
See Latest Price On Amazon
LePage Wood Filler Purchased Locally

Spray Paint Primer
See Latest Price On Amazon


How To Paint A Nightstand White? | 5 Steps

Step 1: Cleaning & Preparation

When it is time to start the project begin cleaning and inspecting. Wipe all surfaces with a dry or slightly damp cloth.  During this process, look for any serious cracks, chips, or scratches. Keep them in mind because you will have to sand them out or apply wood filler in the later steps.

Before starting, like any project, ensure you have the equipment and products you need. It is a much slower process when you go to the store multiple times just because you were not prepared. I usually sit down and make a full list of what I need, usually I have most of it, but any extras I make one trip to have it organized and ready to go!

Step 2: Sanding The Entire Nightstand

For this project, the nightstand was veneer, which is a thin layer of wood for design. This means BE CAREFUL when sanding, there is limited room for error or you will have extra work to do. This night stand had a bit of warp, and I had to make the surface as flat as I could. I sanded through the veneer slightly on the top surface (You can see in the video). However, I had a plan to fill the cracks and use wood filler to even out the top surface.

If you are staining the top surface, sanding through the veneer and wood filling will make it a difficult project. Why? Because you will see through stain and any damages to your surface. This project is painting the entire surface white, so just creating a level and smooth top surface will make your table look great!

I sanded using my Bosch random orbital sander using 220 grit sandpaper. On the corners and edges I used 150 grit paper by hand. Remember, if there is a wood grain always go along with it!

Step 3: Remove Old Hardware, Wood Fill, & Drill New Holes

Removing hardware means to remove the old drawer pulls. In this project I wanted to have a single screw sized knob, which meant I had to fill in the old holes with wood filler and screw a new hole in the middle. If you can get away without drilling new holes, good. It will save you time and extra work. But…I went for it!

How to measure for drawer knobs? 

The way I find it easiest is to grab your tape measure.

  • First, measure the length of the drawer and divide it by 2. This is the center lengthwise, mark a line down.
  • Second, measure the height of the drawer and divide by 2. This is the center height-wise, mark a line across.
  • Where the lines cross is the center of the drawer.

Fill in the spots that need filling. Such as cracks, dents, chips, you name it. You must let the wood filler completely dry before sanding it down. Sand with 220 grit or higher. See the filling process in the video below!

Step 4: Prime Entire Project

Priming is a very easy process, I buy Rust-Oleum Spray Paint Primer. The reason to prime the project is to ensure that the dark wood does not bleed through, meaning you can see the original color. The priming prevents it and helps the paint set onto the project. Since I had used wood filler in multiple areas I realized it needed extra primer. I had issues seeing the filled areas, so I sanded down the area and primed heavy over the specific spots. Mainly the drawer holes, they were just more visible, so I spray primed over them until they were not visible. Wait until the primer is completely dry before heading on to the painting stage.

If you are staining, as I did in the Oak Table project, do not prime the surface being stained. Stain sits into the wood, priming is used to prevent bleed.

Step 5: Paint and Finish

Finally, it is time to start painting. I started doing many projects so I picked up a Wagner Flexio 590 Paint Sprayer on Amazon. It does make painting a really quick process, but cleaning it is what takes the most time. Anyways, what I am getting to is that you do not need one, feel free to use a brush or even a roller.

First, apply one coat all over but do not over-paint. You want a thinner coat, so you stay away from dripping paint. After that dries sand very lightly with a minimum of 220 grit sandpaper. Next apply your top coat, a coat that is a bit thicker than the last. If you are satisfied then great! Your painting is finished, but if it looks like another coat will be needed then apply if need be. When all the painting is done, again, very lightly sand with a minimum 220 grit to have the smoothest possible surface.

If you want your table to last a bit longer, find a finishing product such as Triple Thick Varathane, Clear Spray Lacquer, etc. Layer it on the top or all over, totally up to you!

Don’t forget to add in your knobs or drawer pulls!


Quick tip: using a paint sprayer leaves your projects with a smooth and professional finish when comparing it to a brush or roller. I highly recommend picking one up, either an HVLP electric sprayer or air paint gun.



How To Paint A Nightstand White YouTube Video!

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Furniture Flipping Results

Lets talk a look at the financial side of this project. First, what were my expenses for this project?

Item Cost
Nightstand $15
Primer $9
Sandpaper Few Sheets = $1
Paint Leftover From Old Projects = $0
Wood Filler Small Amount = $1

What was the profit on this project?

Selling Price – Project Expenses = Project Profit 

$50 – $26 = $24

Yes the profit on this was terrible… but I chose to do it to learn the process and test the paint sprayer. This project probably took 2-3 hours of working time, deducting dry times. For the time spent, I still made enough to go out for lunch! LOL I also wanted to test out the wood filler because it was my first time using it! I learned a lot from this project and I will be using what I learned and making my next projects better.


I hope you learned a thing or two on this “How To Paint A Nightstand White” article. If there are any concerns, questions, or absolutely anything please comment below! I will answer as soon as possible. I have so many projects that I have planned so stick around and subscribe to both my YouTube channel and this Blog.

Thanks for tuning in! – Jamie