$20 yard sale French Provincial painted chest turned nightstand

Back in the spring I posted this French Provincial hutch/chest on facebook that I saw at a yard sale for $20.  I said it was killing me to leave it behind – many of you said, “NO!  Don’t leave it!  Buy it!”   So buy it I did. 🙂  I actually was debating about buying it as I was browsing the rest of the sale and posting that on facebook, but trying to imagine where I would put it, what I would do with it, what color I would paint it… etc.  There is no returns at yard sales and most thrift stores so I like to be extra careful when buying something that costs more than a few $ and also is BIG and hard to get home/find a space for in my house.  My biggest concern was I didn’t have any space where I could use this whole piece together.  I would LOVE to one day have a bigger eat-in kitchen area and would totally use this in there as a small hutch/coffee station/china cabinet type of idea.   But we just don’t have any room anywhere to use both pieces all together.

French provincial hutch and chest found at yard sale

But for now I am going to make use of just the bottom portion (yes, I kept the top and plan on keeping it for now – may just store my spray paint on it in the garage until I can use the whole entire piece together). 

white painted french provincial chest before

This small chest (larger than a nightstand but sort of small for a dresser) is going to become my husband’s new nightstand in our master bedroom. 

And for now I drug this $20 refinished French Provincial dresser that was in my hallway upstairs into our room to use as the other nightstand.  Both of these pieces are very similar styles and almost exactly the same height.  I would like to find another bit smaller chest instead of this dresser or even a matching set of nightstands but for now these will work.    (Totally playing musical furniture in our house – ever do that? Smile)


But first this chest had to be painted.  I went with white (Behr Ultra Premium Paint + Primer in Ultra Pure White) because it is safe… seriously I need to branch out from white furniture and I plan to with some accent pieces hopefully next year BUT for our bedroom with the dark gray walls white is what is best and what I want in there.

I removed all the handles and drawers and gave everything a really good wipe down.  It didn’t really need to be sanded since the finish was ok, just very yellowed. 

Painted nightstand - in process (1)

Now let me tell you about my secret weapon in painting furniture.  I am loving my new paint sprayer HomeRight sent me called the Finish Max Fine Finish HVLP sprayer.

Finish Max sprayer to paint furniture

I actually used this sprayer to paint the other dresser I just finished but had so many other things I needed to discuss in that post (like the mahogony stain bleeding through and needing to rebuild a crushed corner on a drawer with filler) that I didn’t want to make that post even longer but discussing how to paint with a paint sprayer.

Dresser makeover

I got this sprayer from Homeright a while ago and was excited to finally be working on my master bedroom makeover and get a chance to try it out.

This sprayer is amazing.  I had another sprayer that I had used before (not a brand name) and I just wasn’t happy with it.  The paint didn’t come out smooth and was more “spattered on” leaving the piece I was painting with that rough textured feel that I then had to sand before doing another coat or before putting a finish coat on it.  I just was never happy with it and considered just starting to brush on or roll on paint.  BUT I loved the fact that with a paint sprayer you can paint so much faster!  So I was ready to test out this Homeright sprayer and see if it would work better. 

Using Finish Max Fine Finish sprayer to spray furniture

This sprayer was so much better for painting furniture.  Once I got my paint consistency right (you want thin but not runny paint), the paint comes out in a fine mist and gives a fine finish!  I didn’t have to sand between coats unless I got a run or found a spot that just needed some work that maybe I missed in the prep work.    It speeds up the job so much – seriously I can have a coat of paint on the chest, and 3 drawers in less than 5 minutes, let dry for a few hours while I work on something else, and then spray another coat and I am done with painting! 

I also loved how this one just plugged right in and the motor is attached on it – no separate air compressor sitting on the ground or anything like that.  Cleaning any paint sprayer is probably the hardest/worse part about it but this one was fairly easy to clean too. 

My process for painting with a paint sprayer is 4 easy steps:

  1. Pour paint in cup – dilute with water (if latex paint) until it is almost milk consistency (just maybe a tad thicker) – usually a 3-1 ratio – 3 parts paint, 1 part water.  You will be able to tell if you need more paint or more water if it isn’t spraying out well.  You can also use a paint additive like Floetrol if you want. 
  2. Plug in sprayer to an extension cord – simple and easy!  NO air compressor required.
  3. Spray furniture.  Do this in light, even coats just like if you were spray painting something.  You aren’t necessarily looking for complete coverage in the first coat – you want light, even coats. 
  4. Clean out paint sprayer (using water if latex paint).  Make sure to do this quickly and well as dried paint in a paint sprayer is frustrating and can mess up your sprayer.    Empty out excess paint, fill cup with water, and spray through sprayer until clear.  Then detach cup and tip and clean well using soap and water if necessary. 

Here’s the chest after the 2nd coat right after I sprayed it and the paint is wet.  A nice even coat that just goes on perfectly.

Painted nightstand - in process (2)

So let’s see the before/after since I know that it is what you are wanting to see!

Here’s the before once again.

Painted chest turned nightstand - before

And here’s the after!

refinished white french provincial chest

Oh, I NEVER get tired of the difference a coat of paint can make on a piece of old, yard sale furniture!  LOVE, love, love this. 

spray painted handles on french provincial nightstand

I gave the original handles a coat of oil rubbed bronze spray paint.  (Ignore the little mark – that isn’t on the chest – must have been a tiny bug who tried to photo bomb my picture by sticking to my camera lens.)

painted white french provincial nightstand

I owe you updated pictures of our room so maybe next week I will pop in with a quick update post on that.  This room makeover is going MUCH slower than I thought and wanted but I am realizing more than ever that I am just not a finish a room makeover overnight kind of person and life just gets in the way more than I want! Smile 

painted french provincial nightstand

I can only imagine how pretty this whole piece would look painted white!  Hope I have a chance to use it all together one day!

$20 French Provincial yard sale chest becomes painted white nightstand

Have you ever painted a piece of furniture with a paint sprayer?   


  1. WOW!

  2. This will make a great nightstand by your bed! Your paint job looks great. I have never used a paint sprayer so I was really interested in your comments comparing your old one with this new one. I’m sure there is a learning curve involved but I’m a pretty messy painter. I’m glad that you are making progress on your bedroom.

  3. I had a piece of furniture so similar to that when I was a child!! I love the way you redid it. That spray painter really makes a difference in the finish.
    Stacey recently posted..A Peek at MondayMy Profile

  4. That turned out so good!! I like you see things I like and then they sit in my garage. I bought a gorgeous harvest table last spring at a garage sale and it’s still in my garage!

  5. You did a great job and it turned out great. I have seen in magazines and on blogs that the bed side tables don’t match so much anymore. So you might like it better than you think once you get used to them.

  6. Great piece…..great makeover! Can’t wait to see your room :-).

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Love, love, love the piece and the “after” pictures……You did a great job!!! Can’t wait to see the update and the reveal of your master bedroom!
    Happy Thanksgiving,

  8. Looks great. Can’t wait to see your room update.

  9. Great idea…. I have a similar set.. question as to what you did the top of the dresser with as mine is a laminate material.

  10. Great makeover !!! I love it !!!
    I have one question about spray painting – can you do it with chalk paint ?
    Thanks 🙂

  11. Joleen W says:

    U did a great job painting ! I have been putting off painting a French Provicial “set”..
    that I want to sell…(2 nightstands… 1 storage chest) im afraid of messing them up !

  12. You did a great job and it turned out great. I have seen in magazines and on blogs that the bed side tables don’t match so much anymore. So you might like it better than you think once you get used to them.

  13. Hello,
    I had a question, well two questions, about this French Provencial make-over? How did you remove the glass from the table (or was it not permanently affixed)? Did you sand it down prior to repainting? I have a chest-of-drawers and a nightstand like this that I want to makeover, but don’t want to ruin them since I’m a novice at this.

  14. Kristin says:

    I have the exact same furniture from when I was a little girl! I have that dresser/hutch, desk/hutch, dresser, nightstand and headboard. I am currently repainting it for my daughters room with white chalk paint. Your way looks much easier!

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