As I’ve said before, I love to decorate children’s rooms! You have more opportunity to “think outside the box” to achieve unique solutions and looks that are fun and whimsical. We recently re-decorated our own children’s rooms, and I was faced with having to buy all three kids a new nightstand, which can be daunting to any budget. I looked around at some traditional wood options, but I wanted something that was a little more interesting. Some options are so expensive and the quality is just not there. I hate paying hundreds of dollars for laminated MDF, which is easily damaged when moving and shows wear very fast when used everyday by a kid. I was extremely frustrated until I found what I was looking for – a metal tool chest.
These metal tool chests can be found at any of the big box hardware stores that sell toolboxes and tool storage. I settled on a 4-drawer model that sits at the perfect height for my kids’ beds. They come pre-painted in black and red and offer ball bearing drawer slides that are rugged enough to stand up to extreme daily use handed to them by children. I also love that they have locking casters that make the chest extremely easy to move around when you need them to be and stationary when not.
For my little boy’s room, I purchased a black tool chest, so I wouldn’t have to paint it. I removed the company’s logo off the front, which was super easy with a flat head screwdriver. I then had a piece of stain grade glued panel wood (also found in the big box hardware store) cut to fit the top of the tool chest. The wood top was then stained to match his other furniture. I finished off the wood top with satin finish polyurethane. It looks super cute with his black wrought iron bed, wood desk and stainless steel lamp.
For my girls’ rooms, I also purchased black tool chests, but quickly got to work changing the color. I put the chests together without the casters and taped off the silver handles. I then applied a clean metal primer (which was in a spray can) and then waited 24 hours for this coat to harden. Next, I applied a white spray paint that specifically stated was purposed for metal in a satin finish (you could also use gloss). I applied several light coats and then waited another 24 hours for this layer of finish to harden. I finished it with a clear matte lacquer spray finish to protect the paint. I believe the 24-hour waiting period helped obtain a hard, durable finish. I used spray paint because I didn’t want brush strokes or lines and felt that this was an easier application due to the metal material on the tool chest. I then had a piece of stain grade glued panel wood cut to match the dimensions of the top and painted each piece of wood to match the colors of each girl’s room. I finished the painted wood top with satin finish polyurethane. To add a finishing touch to the girls’ nightstand, I ordered vinyl monograms from the ETSY shop, TealandDooley, found here: www.etsy.com/shop/TEALandDOOLEY with each of their initials and applied it to the front of the now painted tool chests. After all the painting was complete, I added the casters to the bottom.
It was a little work, but a fairly easy project. The hardest part was waiting the 24 hours between paint finishes to achieve a nice hard finish. Our kids now have really cute nightstands that are durable and adorable. Sometimes the manufacturers and/ or the stores will run an extra coupon or sale that makes these chests extremely affordable. The color combinations and applications for this project are endless, and we are so happy with our re-purposed tool chests! Happy Designing!