Step-by-Step: Refinishing a Jewelry Armoire

Give an old piece of furniture new life.

Maybe you've got a storied piece of furniture passed down from your great-grandmother, or perhaps you spontaneously picked up something from a resale shop—either way, you may be wondering how to transform the item into one that matches your style. Refinishing an antique item is an excellent way to preserve its sentimental value while updating it to match a more modern home. Not to mention it's an extremely affordable option if you want to spice up your decor.


Today, I'll go through a few very simple steps on how to paint a jewelry armoire. The process can be easily replicated for any similar piece of wood furniture, which means you can, essentially, refinish plenty of items in your home.

The armoire I started with was a hand-painted piece with magnolias detailing the front and sides. My mother gave it to me—it sat in her bedroom for as long as I can remember, but she recently re-decorated her room and found no need for it anymore. I, an eager recipient of handed-down furniture, gladly accepted the armoire with the idea of refinishing it. Though it was beautiful, the flowers and traditional look of the piece didn't mesh well with my contemporary, monochromatic bedroom. 


To make it more my style, I decided to paint it black. Here's exactly how I did it.


Step 1: Buy spray paint.

I ventured to the local Lowe's and stared at the spray paint shelf. There were plenty of varieties, but I, being a simple gal, wanted an all-in-one solution. I chose a black spray paint that included primer. As far as finishes go, you can choose from matte, glossy, and satin options, as well as specialty finishes like glitter. Satin was my finish of choice, and I only needed one can for this project. I've never spent a better $6. 


Step 2: Place piece on paint-friendly surface.

Spray painting creates a bit of a danger zone for valuables, so make sure you have a large enough spot to paint your armoire. I set up my armoire on a flattened cardboard box in the middle of the garage. I'm thrilled to report that no kayaks were harmed in the paint process. 


Step 3: Sand out impurities.

Because my armoire had some hand-painted magnolias disrupting the smooth surface, I needed to sand them down before painting. I used an electric sander and got most of the flowers off the surface, save for some spots in hard-to-sand areas. I'm not a perfectionist, so it was fine for me, and you can't tell the difference in the finished product. I do feel a little bad about erasing the artist's hard work, but I find solace in knowing that I'm still preserving the piece instead of tossing it.


Step 4: Wash off sanded wood.

Give your furniture a quick wipe down with a wet paper towel to remove all the sanded wood particles. Follow with a dry paper towel.


Step 5: Cover hardware.

I loved the gold, vintage-looking hardware on the armoire and thought it would beautiful next to the black paint, so I vowed to keep these original details. If you don't like the original hardware, you can buy affordable knobs from a variety of home and gift stores. As for my armoire, I covered the drawer handles, keyholes, and hinges with painter's tape. Some edges were tough to perfectly line with the tape, but don't let that frustrate you. You can always go in for tiny touch-ups later.


Step 6: Spray, baby!

This is it: the moment you've been waiting for since you left Lowe's with a paint can in-hand. Start spraying that armoire, evenly coating every inch of the surface area. Remember to shake your spray can and hold it about 6 to 8 inches away from the piece to ensure no drips occur. Move the can in a steady, sweeping motion for even coverage.


Step 7: Let it dry.

Give your armoire a full day to dry completely before you touch it.


Step 8: Remove tape from hardware, touch-up, and enjoy!

One can of spray paint was just enough for my armoire—a second coat was not necessary. After letting the piece dry, I let my boyfriend do some heavy lifting and had him lug it upstairs to the bedroom. I peeled off the painter's tape, placed a tray on top, and gandered at my masterpiece. My armoire now stands majestically in the bedroom, transformed into a complementary piece that not only looks good-as-new but also reminds me of my wonderful mama. I will soon go in with a small paintbrush to finish minor details around the hardware, but for now, the armoire is complete. 

Alyssa ruane


Alyssa Ruane

Categories: Charlotte @Home