Wooden Chest Refresh

Bridget & I often go on and on about our love for thrifting. There’s just nothing like visiting our local antique shops and thrift stores in hopes of finding a gem amongst the piles of items. But 90% of the time, we just browse and leave empty-handed. It’s still fun, but it’s nothing like the rush of finding something that you actually want to scoop up and put in your car immediately.

I recently had that awesome “rush” feeling, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it today.

Be-Happy-SignYou guys have seen this little nook here on the blog before. It’s in our family room right by the TV area, and the basket holds all of our wrapping paper and gift giving essentials. We found the wicker basket at an estate sale in St. Louis (for less than $10) and it’s been a welcome addition to our home. But recently I was jonesing to replace it with something a little more substantial. Perhaps something that could offer a bit more storage, and something that didn’t shed little pieces of wicker everywhere. #notfuntocleanup

Chest-Before-HorizontalSo imagine my excitement when I found this wooden chest at my local Salvation Army store for only $30. It was in relatively good condition, and I could tell that the solid wood piece was definitely well made. After a text to Finn for his “man approval” (and receiving the green light) I scooped this baby up and brought her to her new home.

After a closer inspection, I decided that the wooden chest certainly didn’t need an entire overhaul. Instead, it just need to a little refresh to bring the wood back to its former glory.

I’ve read about Restor-A-Finish on a few of my favorite blogs, and decided that I would give it a try for this project. It’s supposed to breathe new life into old antiques, without the rigorous steps that accompany a strip/stain/poly method of completely refurbishing a wooden piece. Feed-N-Wax goes along with the Restor-A-Finish as a way to finish off the piece and give it a nice, shiny coat. (Kinda like shampoo and conditioner). So I grabbed these 2 products before getting started on my mini refresh.

Magic-WipeMagic-Eraser-AfterMy first order of business was to get rid of some of the weird gunk that was on the chest. Honestly, not really sure what was on this thing. Stickers? Gum? I actually probably don’t want to know. I used a Magic Eraser (my new favorite cleaning supply) and scrubbed away at any suspicious areas. In about 5 minutes, it was look much better…and a lot less gunky.Before-after-one-coat

Then I got to work with the Restor-A-Finish. I simply followed the directions on the back (wipe-on with a cloth, wipe-off with a cloth) and I immediately saw a difference. It covered up water marks and many of the surface scratches and spots with just one coat. It also made the finish a tad bit darker, which really brought out the natural colors in the wood. I was pleasantly surprised to see it worked so well without a heck of a lot of work. DSC_0044

I followed up with the Feed-N-Wax and that really did add a shine to the piece. That too was really easy to apply (wipe-on, wipe-off) and I even put a coat of it on a couple of my other DIY wood pieces (our coffee table, our side table) to give them a little TLC.

The chest was done in about an hour. No stain, no crazy dry time, no big mess. Side-View-Wooden-Chest

If you have deep imperfections in the wooden piece you’re looking to spruce up, then this might not be the best method for you. Instead, I would only recommend doing this if your piece has some surface flaws, water spots, or light scratches. Consider the Restor-A-Finish method as a facial, while a strip/stain/poly method would be an actual facelift. Know what I mean?


So there you have it…a mini makeover of our new thrift store find. This simple refresh eliminates a lot of the intimidating factors that come along with DIY’ing a piece of wood furniture (staining, sanding, waxing, etc.) Would you give this method a try for your next furniture project? wood furniture cleanercasey_sig

  • Katrina

    absolutely beautiful!

    • Thanks Katrina! You can’t go wrong at such a great price too.

  • Super cute & functional–I’ll have to remember those two products for a couple of future projects I have in my back pocket. Thanks Casey!

    Visiting from LorimerLiving.Blogspot.Com

    XO, Jaclyn

    • Jaclyn,
      I was a little skeptical at first..but it worked really well. Definitely something to keep in mind for future wood projects!


  • Stuff like this makes me feel like I reallllly need to start checking out thrift stores. That looks great!

    • haha! Yes you do Diana! You never know what you might find (& for what price!)…which makes it such a fun shopping adventure. Get your thrift on girl.

  • Alysia @ Slim Sanity

    Ah! I need to go looking around for something like this!

    • Such a good find. Holds so much and isn’t an eyesore!

  • Liz Gordon

    Wow, the difference (for the amount of work) is amazing!

    I found your blog through IHeartOrganizing and you are now one of my new favorites! I live in a 3 bedroom/1.5 bathroom townhouse so it is so exciting to finally find a home decor blog written by people in a very similar situation. Now, if only you guys could tell me how to make the space work once you have to start making it livable for a child! 😉 I had my first baby just over 3 months ago and have been trying to find creative and attractive ways to store and incorporate baby stuff into our living spaces.

    On a different note, where are those lovely slippers from??

    • Liz,
      We are so happy that you found us! Congrats on the baby…what an exciting time. You’re right…we haven’t done any posts about making a nice space with a child in the house. Maybe someday that will be on our posting schedule! 😉

      The slippers are actually from Nordstrom Rack, Jessica Simpson brand. Sooooo comfy! I got them for Christmas and have worn them just about every day. Ha!

      Have a great rest of your weekend!

  • Cathy Cortes

    Looks so good! That’s a great option to try those products. I’m so intimidated to redo a solid wood piece with sanding & staining.

    • Yes definitely give these products a try, Cathy. I was pleasantly surprised!

  • Ashley Cox

    The chest looks amazing! Great job! I love that kind of furniture! It brings somehow a better atmosphere! Greets! websiteStorage Peckham Ltd

  • Chloe E.

    It looks fabulous! Great job! Storage Norwoodgreen Ltd.


  • Emily Reed

    This stuff is amazing! We inherited a bunch of antique furniture that had been badly neglected for the last 15 years. Some good ole’ scrubbing with Murphy’s and both of these products brought them back to life! The mahogany one is awesome for the 50’s style pieces. And I love the smell of the feed-n-wax – you can’t beat walking into a room and smelling that orange. Some of the pieces were in a heavy smoke environment, but this has eliminated the odor on the outside. We’re still experimenting on getting rid of the smoke/must smell on the inside of the cabinets and drawers.

    • Emily..so happy you’re a fan of these products too! I was blown away by how much better it looked using these.

    • Anita W. Rohmer

      I just read that coconut oil would take out musty odors! I have’t tried it yet but will soon! I LOVE that stuff for LOTS of things!