Before and After: A Facebook Marketplace Vanity Gets a Chic Paint Makeover

published Jun 22, 2023
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Green vanity with green paint an brass hardware before renvovation.
Credit: Sarah Lyon

I’ve always found makeup vanities to be so charming and elegant. As someone who loves experimenting with makeup, I’ve always thought it would be extra enjoyable to get ready for the day while sitting down at a beautiful vanity instead of searching my medicine cabinet and hoping I don’t drop that tube of lip gloss into the toilet.

I’m an extremely active Facebook Marketplace shopper, so I knew that with some patience, I’d most likely be able to find an affordable vanity there. One benefit of living in a major city like New York is that people are always moving apartments, so new listings constantly pop up. After just a couple of days of looking in earnest, I came across a vanity that spoke to me. The dark green color didn’t really match my color scheme, but I loved the piece’s bones. It had nice scrolled details and cute bun feet. The size appeared to be just right for my bedroom. 

After picking up the vanity and bringing it into my apartment, I lived with the piece for a bit and simply enjoyed its functionality. Delighted by just how much space I now had to store all of my makeup, perfumes, and other beauty loot, getting glam became way more fun than usual. However, I began to tire of the dark green hue after just a couple of weeks; it felt out of place in my bedroom, which features soft blue walls and an array of neutral furniture pieces. While I was a bit nervous to take on a furniture painting project in my small NYC one-bedroom apartment, I figured it would be worth a try.

On a Sunday afternoon, I headed over to my neighborhood hardware store to purchase supplies. Having painted a few pieces of furniture in the past, I knew I’d need several key items: a sanding sponge, paint brushes of various sizes as well as a roller, a large tarp to keep my floors clean, and, of course, some paint. With the help of an employee, I opted for just a quart of a custom black matte Benjamin Moore color: He mixed this for me on the spot, which was fun to watch!

Credit: Sarah Lyon

When I got home, I took everything out of my vanity, removed the mirror that came with it using a screwdriver (this part of the piece just wasn’t my style), and removed all the hardware (I knew I wanted to replace it anyway and opt for something a bit more simple, but you’d remove the knobs and pulls for painting regardless). Then I laid down the tarp, placed the vanity on top of it, took the drawers out, and began to sand each of those first with the sponge. Once they were prepped, I moved onto the top and sides of the vanity. After sanding, it was time to paint. I once again started with the drawers and found that a normal large paint brush did the job here.

While tackling the tops and sides, the roller came in handy and definitely sped up the painting process. I will note that this vanity was a bit tricky because its design features a ton of ornate detailing, which is beautiful, of course, but a bit difficult to paint around. I used a very thin paint brush to get into these nooks and crannies; it just requires a bit of extra time and energy, as you don’t want to glob paint on and lose that detailing. 

I let the paint dry and then went back in to do some touch-ups, as I missed a few areas. I didn’t need to do more than one coat of paint on the piece, but if you take on a similar project where you’re going from a dark to lighter color, it may require priming as well as more coats of paint.

Credit: Sarah Lyon

Once everything was nice and dry, I installed the new Amazon drawer pulls. I was drawn to these because of their chic, classic look, and the price was right, too. In my opinion, they fit the piece wonderfully, and because I have lots of other brass accents in my bedroom, they helped to tie my space together.

If you’re thinking about taking on a furniture painting project while living in a small space, know that you definitely can do it! I was able to give this preloved vanity some new life, and every time I see it in my bedroom, I fall in love with it all over again.