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I have a client that had her son’s old wood dresser. It was being stored in a room and just sitting there looking for something fabulous to happen to it! She wanted to make this old dresser makeover so that she could use in her master bedroom. So we started talking about ideas for this.
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DIY dresser makeover ideas
We took a photo of her dresser and decided to do some mockups using color and accessories to make a design decision. By using Photoshop I was able to try out three different colors for this old dresser. This way my client can decide what she likes without trying to guess. The three colors I represented here were from Fusion color palette.
- Little lamb
- Lamp white
You can buy these from a reseller of Fusion by going to FusionMineralPaint.com and then putting your zip code in to find the nearest reseller. My closest Fusion paint seller is an hour away. So I will call before to make sure they have what I need. You can also buy on Amazon, just be aware of the high shipping costs.
Modern dresser makeover
We took this plain old wood dresser and decided that with a little paint and some accessories it would make this a modern dresser. Just the color alone updates the yellow wood to a neutral clean surface transforming this. So now by adding the modern acrylic knobs and legs it becomes such a different dresser all together.
Prepping your old dresser for a makeover
I say this in all my furniture redo posts.
The most important step before you begins is this: clean your furniture! Not once but twice! Turn it upside down, vacuum underneath and in the drawers. Take a warm sudsy cloth and wipe down all the surfaces. Painted dust is not a good look!
Once this is done I remove all hardware that can be removed. Take a simple screwdriver, remove all the hardware then store in a zip lock or a container. You will be amazed how quickly these little pieces can get lost if not stored away.
If I am using the original hardware on my painted or repurposed furniture piece then I will use a cleaner to bring the metal back to life. Good methods are as follows:
- Bar keepers friend– This works amazing! a little on a paper towel and wipe away! This worked really well on the hardware from my Sewing Machine Cabinet Repurposed post. The original hardware came out amazing!
- Equal parts vinegar and warm water and let sit overnight. Then transfer to a bowl of water with some dawn dish soap. wash your hardware then wipe clean with a rag.
I have used both methods. I like the second one when you have more decorative hardware and hard to get into all the crevices with just the Barkeepers friend.
How to paint an old dresser
Since this was a light wood color and I am using Fusion paint I will not use a primer coat. Two reasons for this. One the light wood will be under the darker paint color and not show through. Two, Fusion paint was made for projects like this and do not require a primer coat.
NOTE* The only time I would use a primer coat with fusion paint is if I was painting dark wood with a light shade. Reason being is the Tannins in the would can seep through leaving your lighter shade of paint with brown spots. Not a good look.
For any other types of paint, such as Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams I would use a primer coat. Because most of my painted furniture projects are one piece at a time, I find that a tester size can of paint has been sufficient. This has just been my experience, so I can only share with you my practices. Others may have different ones, but this is what has worked for me the last few years.
Primer for wood furniture
When using a primer you can use a regular primer, or if its a really dark, and old piece I would recommend a shellac based primer. A few things to know about this. You need to paint quickly, it dries rapidly. one smooth stroke at a time and don’t paint over what you painted until fully dry! otherwise you will end up with a rough surface and will have to sand.
Once complete, you must soak your brush in a mixture of ammonia and water..I usually soak for a few hours then rinse with soap and water and hang to dry.
Brushes used for painting furniture
Your paint brush makes a big difference! I use a purdy brush. More expensive but if you clean your brushes properly they will last you a long time. I use a 2″ and a 1.5″ brush.
Chalk Wax Paint Brush 4PCs Set. This is helpful to have a range if sizes depending on your surfaces you are painting.
Other tools to paint furniture
I have not used either of the below however, two other techniques are:
Please note that the above are examples and I have not tested out either of these methods.
Sealing your painted furniture
Once you have let your painted furniture dry a best practice is to add a sealant coat. Again, Fusion boasts that it has a built in top coat. If this piece is going to be a high traffic piece, I would recommend still sealing it even if you use Fusion. Of its not a high traffic piece then don’t seal it. It all depends on the piece and the end use of it. Use your best judgment.
I prefer using Minwax polycrylic topcoat in a clear matte finish. This way it protects your paint without giving it any sheen. If you prefer a sheen then it also comes in additional finishes, such as clear gloss and clear satin,It just depends on what finish you prefer for your painted furniture.
I will also use this on the dresser top where I will sand the wood down, lightly sand and then use this to seal the natural wood in. Always apply in the same direction of the wood grain! Let dry then add a second coat for good measure.
Supplies for this old dresser makeover
See below for all the supplies that I used for this makeover.
Replacing knobs is a great way to update and refresh a piece of furniture easily. I used these square acrylic ones to compliment the furniture legs on this project both are from from Amazon.
Another easy transformation on this dresser, was to lift it off the floor and add furniture legs. I used these Acrylic Furniture Legs with gold accent to compliment the dresser knobs.
to complete the look I used this peel and stick wall paper also from amazon. Super easy to install ( I do recommend two people for this project to help line up and adhere to the wll)
Finishing touches on a painted furniture piece
If your piece has legs, whether the original or you are installing new ones, I would say to use felt tabs for under the legs. This helps prevent marking or damaging your floor underneath.
Wallpaper for your painted dresser
Another fun detail is using peel and stick wallpaper inside the bottom of the drawers. This can be coordinated with the Wall paper you may be using on a wall to tie it all together. I did this on one of my projects where I used the same wallpaper that I used on the wall behind the piece, then used the same wallpaper on the insides of the doors. You can check that out on my Repurposed China Cabinet.
Take a look at this post 9 Peel And Stick Wallpaper Ideas to find some creative ways to use peel and stick wallpaper with your next furniture project.
Accessories used for my dresser makeover
his is the fun part! Once the old dresser makeover is done we get to accessorize to complete the look. Check below for what I used for this old dresser makeover.
- Mesa Pot– love these pots, they can sit on the floor next to a dresser to store extra items
- Umie Table Lamp– adding some light to the situation!
- Knotted Decorative Object– This accessory compliments the gold used from the knobs and legs.
- Bistro Tile Vanity Tray– stylish tray where you can drop your keys and jewelry.
- Libby Beaded Mirror-This round framed Mirror breaks up all the square shapes from the dresser.
- Capri Blue Volcano Mercury Glass Jar Candle– Candles are a must for any dresser!
- Sullivan Frame– Pop in a photo and this frame is the perfect accessory for any table top.
Like what you are reading? Check out the posts below for some additional related posts that may interest you!
Hope this post was helpful! Please email if you have any questions on any of my projects. Remember that I am not an expert and write about my process by trying different techniques.