DIY Refurbished Dresser
Updated: Feb 9, 2018
A couple years back a coworker gave me this great sturdy solid wood dresser. When I first brought it home my boyfriend at the time (now husband) was going to be moving in with me so I added it to my bedroom just for him. Well now we live in a new house, in a different state, we are married, and we have a baby girl on the way! Oh how times change. I decided that the dresser I was given would make a perfect dresser for the nursery, but it needed a little love. #DresserMakeover
I took this run of the mill wood dresser and turned it into something that suits our nursery perfectly, and I have to admit, I love the little pop of pink!
What you will need:
120 grit sand paper
1 quart Zinsser B-I-N Primer
1 quart semi gloss paint (your choice of color(s)) I choose white and pink
1 good quality paint brush
2 4"rollers with 1/2"- 3/8" nap
Small paint pan with liner
Painter's tape (if you desire)
New knobs/handles (and drill if needed)
First thing, let's see what we are working with.
Real wood (what kind of wood? I don't know)
It has a layer of polyurethane.
No overly unsightly dents or imperfections.
Now let's prep!
Pull out all the drawers and remove the knobs/handles. You should see screws inside the drawers. Decide if you are keeping the original knobs or if you plan to replace them. If you are replacing decide if you need to plug the original holes. You don't want your drawer fronts to have random holes!
Take a good look at the frame of the dresser for any structural issues. Also look at each drawer. While you have the drawers out, its a good time to repair those problems. If you have major dings or scratches you can fill them with wood filler and you will never know they existed. Lucky for me, I didn't see any major issues. YES!
Next comes sanding. I used 120 grit sand paper and sanded by hand. If you have a belt sander you can use that to sand the large flat areas to cut down on work. All I had around was an orbital sander, and orbitals will leave swirls so I didn't want to use that.
When you are sanding, always sand with the grain of the wood, never against!
Sand the entire dresser and drawers. Its going to make a mess and take some time. If you have any fancy molding or routed work you can get into the grooves using a dremel. You are not "refinishing" the furniture, so you do not need to get down to the bare wood. I like to sand down to where the wood starts peeking through the stain. That's a good indicator that you are completely through the polyurethane.
When you FINALLY finish sanding everything its time to clean up. This step is important in order to make sure you get good adhesion of your paint. Vacuum up all the dust you can. Be sure to check the inside of the dresser as well.
After getting the major bulk of the sanded dust off the dresser and drawers, wipe the entire dresser with a microfiber towel. The towel grabs the remaining dust and removes it from the wood's surface. If you are like me, you want to wet a rag and wipe down the dresser. You can try it if you want, but after it dries you will see clearly that you still have saw dust remaining on all the surfaces and you will still need to wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. Any oils or dust left on the surface will cause poor adhesion and the work you put in to restoring this furniture will not be long lasting.
Take a step back and see the difference you have made already!
Next comes primer. For this project I had leftover B-I-N primer from another project. This is a shellac type primer typically used on slick surfaces. It is very very thin, so it dries nice and smooth...and fast! You could also use Kilz Latex primer as another alternative. Make sure to open a window and give yourself proper ventilation. I'm preggers so I also used a respirator.
Prime all surfaces that you plan to paint. I paid special attention to the sides of my drawers since I wanted to add a pop of pink on the sides. Be sure to watch out for drips and runs. This stuff is thin which makes it hard to work with. If you get runs you can sand them down with a fine grit sandpaper before your final coat of paint. When you are finished let it all dry.
You will see streaks and brush marks, and that's ok! This is just primer. Its going to block any stains from showing through and set a foundation for your paint to adhere to.
As a general rule, I try to let things dry over night between coats. I am always tempted to rush things along, but patience pays off in the end.
Now its time to paint! I am using some semi gloss Behr paint + primer. I used white for all the exterior surfaces and pink for the mostly hidden sides of the drawers. If you are a fan of painter's tape, now would be the time to use it. I taped off the line where my pink and white meet so I was sure not to make a mistake. I didn't think I needed any tape anywhere else on the dresser.
After painting let it dry to determine if you will need a second coat. My dresser did need a second coat, but it was worth it.
After you are finished painting you can either install your new hardware or replace your old hardware. For this project my husband and I choose some 3.75" brushed nickel finish handles that are slender and straight. The old handles on this dresser had two holes total per drawer and my new ones will require two per side of each drawer so I had to drill two new holes. I used a string between the two existing holes and marked where the two new holes would be to ensure they were all in line.
The last steps are to put it all together, fill it up, and admire.
Overall this project took about 6 hours total (most of that was laborious sanding) and cost around $60 ($20 for supplies $40 for handles)