DIY Furniture

Refinished Antique Bar Cart

I absolutely love when people reach out to me and ask me to help refinish one of their old pieces. More often than not, this means I get to work with different types of pieces than I normally buy, I get to pick colors or finishes that I don’t typically use, and best of all, I get to share my love of projects with the people I’m helping.

Refinished vintage bar cart using chalk paint and stain
What We Started With

My friend came to me this past weekend and asked if I could help her refinish her antique bar cart from the 1950s that she recently purchased off Marketplace, and of course, my answer was “Heck yes!”

Other than tightening a few screws, this cart was in exceptional condition.  It had no dents or scratches, and only had a thin layer of finish and stain. She wanted to keep it classic, so that it would match the many stages of her life to come, however, she did not want it to be a solid color and definitely didn’t want any distressing. After a little brainstorming we decided to go with a classic white bottom and stained top. I was really excited that she wanted to restain the top, because I had never tried this before. Of course, I had seen it done many times on Instagram, but I never had a piece where I need to strip the existing finish before I stained again.

The Refinishing Process

First, we sanded the top piece (which also comes off to serve as a platter) and the bottom shelf. Since the bar cart didn’t have a heavy finish on it, it was easy to sand off the finish and stain with my electric sander, using a medium grit sand paper. We stained the top and the shelf with one coat of Varathane Premium Interior Wood Stain in Briarsmoke. And oh my gosh!! The stain turned out beautiful! I was immediately in love with it. I’ve found that this brand of stain, compared to Minwax, goes on a lot heavier, so we wiped the stain off immediately, as the wood soaked it up really quick. Once we had the top and the shelf stained, the bottom portion got painted with Americana Decor Chalk Paint in Everlasting. I used this brand of chalk paint on my dining chairs in the past and was very satisfied with it. It goes on very easily, with minimal brush marks, and holds up really well! No sanding on the base was required. After two coats of chalk paint, we applied one coat of Varathane Matte Water Based Polyurethane, and let it dry.

Oh, and I didn’t mention, but the piece came with these beautiful, rustic gold wheels. I think they help add so much character to the bar cart.

The Final Results

So, after an afternoon of work, we were finished, and so, so happy with the results! The ONLY thing I don’t like about helping someone with a project is when it turns out so good and I become jealous that it’s not my own. You’re a lucky duck! Such a good find Kaile, and an even better refinished project. I know this bar cart will bring you so much practical use for years to come. Thank you for giving me the pleasure of helping you return it to its potential!

Until next time DIYers! Thank you so much for reading!

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