A looooong time ago (way before LCH), I tackled my boring guest bathroom vanity…I think it was one of my first DIY projects in this house. The only problem? I didn’t exactly know what I was doing.

I had successfully painted the upstairs vanity white, so to differentiate the one downstairs (they were originally identical), I decided to stain it. It was my first time using Minwax Dark Walnut, which as you know later turned into a full blown love affair with the product. But, the vanity was made of laminate, so it never really absorbed the stain. It always sort of sat on top of the surface, definitely not the way a wood stain is intended to look.

It’s a little hard to tell from the pictures, but you can see the crazy gloss finish and the unevenness on the side panel. So I finally decided to remedy the situation with some new skills. Keeping with the dark espresso look, I chose a black paint. I sanded the stain (which came off really easily, a tribute to the bad job I’d done haha), then applied 3 thin coats of paint. I distressed all the edges, letting the light “wood” show through. I love this look, seen a lot on Pottery Barn furniture.

You’ll notice I also painted the vent at the very bottom so it sort of disappears (something I also need to do in the kitchen). Two coats of wax finished it off. I’m planning on either changing the hardware or spray painting the brushed nickel parts ORB. What do you think? Something is bugging me about them now with the new color.

Oh and I finally found a rug that the cats won’t pee on

There you have it, vanity remixed times 2. And I’m claiming victory with the rug. That’s been a long, hard battle.

11 Responses

  1. m @ random musings

    I love the updated vanity! Out of curiosity, did you use gel or regular stain product the first time around? I know the gel stain label says you can achieve a faux finish on laminate, just wondering if that’s marketing hype!

    • rachaelevans

      I used the regular stain, but yes you are right about gel stain! I have used that on my fake wood door (with an elaborate technique though). I haven’t tried it on laminate furniture though.

  2. Kassi @ Truly Lovely

    That looks much better! Strangely enough the black and the distressing makes it seem lighter and brighter than it did before… Congrats on the rug win by the way! ;)

  3. Sue Davis

    You completely ROCKED this… it looks fabulous… I agree with changing out the knobs… I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like you have a silver finish faucet and door hardware… so I would go with something to match – a nice brushed chrome/silver… nothing shiny, and have all the knobs match.

    • rachaelevans

      Thanks Sue! Yeah the faucet is chrometastic, but I had plans to ORB that as well (the rest of the hardware has been spray painted….) So torn!

  4. Amanda

    Wow – this looks AMAZING! What a great decision to distress the vanity. We have a couple pieces of furniture that are distressed (which we purchased that way) and I love the look. Great job!!

  5. gloria

    Hi there! Just found your blog and really like it!! I really love the black vanity in the guest bathroom. I am getting ready to re-finish a similar vanity and am wondering what kind and what color of paint that you used. Was toying with using chalk paint (but have never used) and was curious what you had gone with. Also, wondering if it has held up with the wax finish. Thanks so much!

    • Rachael Evans

      Hi Gloria- I love to use the sample quarts from Sherwin Williams for furniture, it is plenty and holds up great. The wax makes it almost indestructible. I haven’t had any problems!

  6. Shaye


    Just came across your vanity redo and was wondering what kind of wax you used. I am about to tackle a similar project and have a toddler so making it “almost indestructible” would be awesome!



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