How to Makeover an Oak Bookshelf, Mantel, and Dresser

Every December and January we take a look at the past year to see what you guys are loving and want more of. Without a…

Every December and January we take a look at the past year to see what you guys are loving and want more of. Without a doubt, our makeovers are one of your favorites.  Especially anything involving 1980s oak.  Why was that such a hot thing then I wonder?  It really wasn’t ever a good look.  I know, I lived through that rage.

Anyway, you might have seen that during the “shut down” of March 2020, we tackled a few projects around my house. Several of them involved painting, of course.  Our house was built in 1988 and was still riddled with oak.

The first one was my husband’s office.  You can read the entire blog post here on what we did.  Or what I did to be more accurate. 

Oak Bookshelf Before
Oak bookshelf 2 years after painting – such a transformation!

Here are the shelves today.  You can see that almost 2 years later (how can it be TWO years already?) the paint still looks as good as it did then.  The shelves get a ton of use.  Howard is in his office every day shuffling things around.  You might also have noticed that I bought him a new office chair.  Much better, don’t you think?

I also used our Wise Owl furniture salve on the inside of the drawers and shelves recently.  Isn’t it amazing that this wood is almost 35 years old??  The salve really is one of my favorite products in the Wise Owl line.  It brings old wood and even old leather back to life.  Bonus, it comes in about a trillion different scents, too.  This salve does an amazing job of getting rid of “musty” smells and such.

Another oak makeover was our fireplace.  You can see that Howard did help with this one. Isn’t he funny?

Oak Mantel Before

Here is what it looked like when we were done with it.

Oak Mantel After

We didn’t use Wise Owl paint on the fireplace.  I hadn’t started selling it then and I used what I had at the house.  Wise Owl is now a staple in all of our painting projects at the shop. If you haven’t tried out Wise Owl products…YOU MUST! The results are amazing and never disappoint. Antique Villa and Gray Linen from the Wise Owl paint collection was used on this 1970’s oak dresser.  Don’t you love how it turned out?  Read more about how we begin a furniture painting project here! We have also started using the salve on the inside of all of our vintage furniture.  It makes a huge difference in the look and more importantly, the smell.

Our 5 truck garage at the Grainery is now filled with projects to be tackled in this new year.  I am so excited to get started and show you more before and after pictures.  Stay Tuned! We will continue to wipe out 1980s oak one piece of furniture at a time.

The Grainery is full of Makeover Projects – Stay tuned

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I have NEVER like oak!!! I love what you have done with these pieces!!! Great job guys!!! Congratulations on your new opening!!!!