Guest Post: Redoing a Vanity for Under $50

I am so excited to share a post written by my sister-in-law, Lauryn. She and her husband (Tim’s brother, Kevin) just bought their first house and have been amazing with their home renovations. I really hope that she will do some more guest posts, as they have done a great job!

Vanity Before-After (1)

Hello fellow blog readers! Dory (my sister-in-law) asked I write a post on my husband’s and my recent DIY of my vanity. We moved into our first home just a couple months ago and I finally have room to have a vanity again! My mom picked this one up at an antique shop in Warrenton, VA, and brought it down once we moved in.

Vanity Before -

The vanity is in great shape including the huge mirror attached! It sat in our garage for about a month until we decided to try our hand at painting furniture.

What you’ll need for this project:

  • vanity : a gift but was $230
  • two orbital sanders (if you have a helper): borrowed for free
  • medium grit sandpaper: borrowed for free
  • paint: $30 (we overestimated and only used ~$15 worth)
  • brushes: already had
  • stencil of your choice: $12 (but came in a packet with others)
  • paint of your choice (for stenciling): $2
  • painter’s tape: already had
  • foam paint brush: $5
  • drawer pulls (to jazz it up): $67 for 6 pulls

Total for project with vanity: $346

Total for project without vanity (using a piece of furniture on hand): $116

Kevin borrowed his dad’s two orbital sanders and we went to work on the vanity first, turning it over on its sides to make sure we sanded underneath and any hard-to-reach crevices. Several times, for the more intricate or thin parts of the vanity, we went ahead and just used a piece of sand paper (medium for the entire piece).
 Next up came the drawers: these we whizzed through as the finish was only on the front. We went ahead and sanded the sides and the inside lip of the drawers. Once completely sanded we broke out the paint (Saffron Strands by Behr) and went to town. We skipped the primer (it’s included in the paint) and applied two coats. Continuing with the drawers we painted the front, inside lip and sides again with two coats.

Vanity Painted -

Then I realized just how mustardy yellow it really was and DID NOT like it. (The fluorescent light in the garage didn’t help either). I didn’t think the whole “just-one-color” thing through and found it to be just wayyy to grandma-y (yes, that’s a word) looking with the shape of the vanity and the mustard yellow.

I spoke with my mom that night and explained we sanded and painted the vanity but the color was just too bold and how I was going to sand it again the next day to re-paint it. She suggested white washing the vanity with a cloth just to subdue the color which gave me an idea! I headed to Michael’s the next day to pick out a stencil for the front. I really like the moroccan print lately so I found a stencil with this pattern then headed to Home Depot and picked up a jar of Martha Stewarts Metallic Paint in Thundercloud. I headed home and out to the garage. Kevin and I decided to try something new again, stenciling furniture.

Vanity Supplies -

Kevin wanted to be very precise with the stenciling so he measured out the center for each drawer then placed one of the shapes in the middle (so the middle of the drawer would have a centered shape). Once all the centers were found, I went ahead and taped the stencil down with some blue painter’s tape and was sure none of the stencil was lifting up off the curved shape of the drawer. Once the area was covered using Martha Stewart’s foam brush, I quickly lifted the stencil and let it dry for a couple seconds while I grabbed the next drawer. This went on for six drawers. Once I was through I grabbed the first drawer I worked on and placed the stencil over just two or three of the stenciling I had done prior in order to line up the shapes and proceeded to cover the remainder of the drawer (which involved repeating this last part 3 times).

DIY Vanity Stencil -

We moved everything up to our master bedroom once it was fully dry. I still wanted to get pulls for the drawers but hadn’t picked them up yet. A couple weeks and an Anthropologie 20% off sale later, we now have some pretty snazzy drawer pulls on the vanity! It was really easy to install the pulls because we had already found the center of the drawer, all we had to do was find the middle shape and drill away! This removed the risk of not having the pulls lined up once the drawers were stacked, too.

Vanity Completed -

I hope this encourages anyone who is putting off either painting furniture or stenciling furniture! All you need is a couple afternoons (and an extra pair of hands certainly helps the process go a bit faster)!


  • Do not skip the sanding step. It’s time-intensive but worth not having a “gunky/thick” feeling/look to the furniture
  • Skip the primer step since you’re sanding, more than likely you’ll need two coats of paint regardless
  • If possible, use two sets of hands 🙂
  • Remove the stencil once painted after a couple seconds and move onto the next one drawer. By the time you’re through with each set of stenciling move back to the first drawer as the thin coat of paint dries quickly!
  • Be sure to center the stencil by measuring each drawer so the stencils line up


Isn’t the “after” just amazing?! I love how it turned out! Thanks so much, Lauryn, for this great tutorial! Make sure to check out her new blog From NOVA to SWVA! Yay! My blogginess is rubbing off on more family members!

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  1. Any idea what year etc this vanity is? My mom picked one up, and a reverse image search brought me to your website!

    • No, I don’t know! This is actually a guest post from my sister-in-law, so I wasn’t even there when she bought it. It’s beautiful though!

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