Update: Check out how my timber furniture looks in my refreshed farmhouse style master bedroom here.

Before I began my master bedroom revamp I knew I wanted some rustic timber to keep the space warm and grounded, however finding the right pieces to ‘restore’ rather than ‘refurb’ is easier said than done.

We all know how easy and effective slapping a fresh coat of paint on a piece of furniture can be – not only does it completely transform the feel of an item though it can also hide a myriad of sins. So, when you’re planning on paring-back rather than packing-on, a little more care (and/or blind faith!) may be required.

With that in mind I set about sourcing some second-hand timber pieces which would eventually become my bedside tables and finally found these on eBay.

Deco Dresser ($60)

Kauri Pine Cupboard ($50)

Because my bed doesn’t sit centrally on the wall I wanted two pieces with mis-matched proportions to play off the asymmetry. I also needed plenty of storage.

Remember my inspiration board.

I knew I was dreaming when I included that apothecary style cabinet (lower right) though thought I could somehow transform my crappy old deco dresser into something with a similar feel so I got to work.

First I removed the mirror and handles then stripped back the old varnish using my secret weapon; commercial grade graffiti remover. Seriously, this stuff is awesome! You just pour a layer on, leave it for five minutes then remove it with some soapy water and steel wool. It’s soooo much easier and faster than using a conventional paint stripper.

Okay, so admittedly I get mine from a friend in the industry though I’m sure it’s available somewhere for domestic use (sorry I can’t help more).

I next gave the dresser a light all over sand then stained it dark using a combination of walnut and black. I was careful to get the stain into all the imperfections in the timber to create the look of an aged patina. To finish I sealed it with three coats of danish oil then added some library pulls.

The pulls were originally shiny polished brass so I coated them with some old gold Rub ‘n’ Buff to create a tarnished look. I thought it may not stick given how smooth the surface was though it hasn’t budged. For something different, rather than label each pull with a numerical digit I used french written numbers (un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit) which I simply printed off my computer onto regular copy paper. I then stained the paper with a diluted coffee mixture to give the labels an aged appearance.

My original plan with the kauri pine cupboard was to keep it as is though the blonde timber looked too unbalanced against the walnut of the dresser so I decided to stain it dark too which was fast and easy because it was already so bone-dry no stripping or sanding was needed. I simply mixed up some walnut and black timber stain then gave it three good coats. There were heaps of gouges and grooves in the soft timber from years of love (or neglect!) so, as with the dresser, I was careful to let the dark stain penetrate all the imperfections to create an aged-looking, time-worn patina.