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White chest of drawers with hessian covering on drawer fronts

Overview

Upcycling bedroom furniture is the best way to update your room. Give your boring old bedside table a new lease of life with just a lick of paint, some hessian fabric and a new set of handles. This bedside drawer makeover is simple and stylish. What's not to love? Here's how.

Steps

1Gather your tools and materials

Below are all of the tools and materials you'll need to complete this project.
Tools and materials required to complete this project

2Remove handles and hardware

Before doing anything, remove your drawers and grab a screwdriver to unscrew the existing handles and hardware from the side of the drawer. Keep these handy by popping them into a cup or a zip-lock bag – so they don't disappear!

3Fill the old handle holes with Spakfilla

If you've decided to replace the handles on your drawers with new ones – like we're doing – you're going to need to fill the existing holes with Spakfilla. Scrape on, then smooth away any excess and set aside to wait for it to dry. Once it is, give it a light sand with 180-grit sandpaper, then wipe clean.

Person filling holes in timber with filler using a plastic applicator

4Sand your bedside table

If you're doing this by hand, make sure you have ample sanding blocks and pieces of sandpaper – you're going to need quite a bit to get the table down to its natural timber. Using an electric sander might be easier. Pick up one of these from Bunnings. Make sure you have your dust mask and eye protection on for this – you'll end up covered in dust, and you don't want to be breathing that stuff in!

Person sanding a bedside table with a cordless sander

5Wipe away the dust

Before applying the primer, grab a damp cloth and sponge your cupboard clean. You need it to be dry and dust-free before applying the paint.

6Tape up your edges

Before you begin priming and painting, apply some painter's tape to the edges of your cupboards and drawers – this will allow for a nice, neat finish.

Woman applying tape around the edges of a drawer

7It's prime time!

It's prime time! For this we're using a Zinsser shellac-based primer, just in case there's any oily residue left over from the old paint. This primer dries really quickly, so you should be able to paint fairly soon after applying. Just remember to give it a light sand after, then wipe away the dust – this way the paint will adhere more easily.

Woman painting a wooden bedside table with white paint

8You're ready to paint your bedside tables!

Before pouring your paint into the tray, give your tin a good shake so the pigment is well distributed. Then you're ready for your topcoat – roll it on in long, even strokes. Use a brush for all those tricky to reach places. Wait for it to dry, then give it a light sand with 180-grit sandpaper before applying a second coat. While this is drying, you may want to spray your handles. We chose a Rose Gold colour, which we applied using a spray can after giving the handles a light sand (this helps the paint stick easier).

Person painting the legs of a wooden bedside table

9Mark up where you want your handles

Once the paint is dry, use a tape measure and a pencil to mark up where the handles go – mark the centre point first. Then place the handle against it and mark up where the screw holes are on your handle. Mark those spots with a pencil. To make sure your handle is screwed on even and straight, use a square.

Woman using a tape measure and pencil to mark the front of a drawer

10Drill holes for the handles

Before you start drilling, make sure your drill bit is a little larger than your screw to make sure it's the perfect fit.

Woman drilling a hole in the front of a drawer

11Spray on your adhesive

Affix your hessian with a spray adhesive – simply spray on to the front of the drawers and wait five or so seconds before placing the hessian over the top. Try to ensure you get the grain of the hessian straight. Once it's in place, simply cut around the edges of the drawer. It's best to leave about an inch overlap on each side when you're initially measuring your material, then trim your piece to fit the edges of the drawer.

Woman spraying adhesive on the front of a drawer

12Re-attach your handles

Poke some holes through the hessian using your awl (or a screwdriver), and screw in your new handles, then re-attach any hardware from the sides. Your bedside table upcycle is complete!

Person attaching a handle to a drawer covered in hessian

13All ready to go

It's as easy as that to refresh and improve the quality of an old set of bedside tables.

14Keep watching

Watch the full episode and more D.I.Y. projects from Make It Yours Episode 2: Master Bedroom Makeover by Geneva.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.