Dressed Up! Dresser Update DIY

I have a really old dresser. Not like from 1970’s…but old-old, as in 1808.  I got it from family about 10 years ago when they were cleaning out belongings.  I immediately loved the charm of it but I wanted to make it a little more “me” and that means paint.  Anyways all those years ago i painted the frame a creamy yellow but over the last few years it wasn’t my favorite and I decided that I was going to strip the paint and bring back the original beauty from 200 years ago.


Look at That!

I love that the date the dresser was created is carved into the wood. There is also a name written of the carpenter that made it. What a neat piece of history.

Well the project that I thought would take a day or two spun outta control.  I love projects but I will admit I have a really short window of time (I have 4 kids) and patience (also…4 kids) haha. So I took the dresser outside and with heavy duty gloves, a face mask and paintbrushes I painted the dresser in steps with chemical stripper.  I have never used chemical stripper before…and I had really high expectations...unfortunately for me.  I watched YouTube videos and paint just disappeared before my eyes…but my reality was different.  Paint bubbled and I scraped and sanded and it didn’t melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West…or is it East? I can’t remember.


After 2 days I had stripped and sanded until my fingers were tired and my heart was void of hope.  I stared at the dresser for way too long thinking of how I could salvage the project.  The biggest issue was that I couldn’t remove or get behind the wooden columns on the face of the dresser, so sanding behind and between all the details was painstakingly difficult.  The other issue was that much of the original veneer was chipped off, as well as a huge crack in the top of the dresser.  Literally I could look down through the crack and see the concrete patio beneath.  So crap! The only great thing about starting the project was realizing that three of the drawers were only supported by frames on one side, so I got out a Dremel saw and cut some 1x1” boards to nail in to place and remedy this issue.  


Once the frame was solid I went to work with wood putty and filled in every chipped, dented or cracked surface…this took about an hour.  Once dried I sanded all the hardened putty flush with the wood.  Well, it still looked hideous, but at least this super old dresser was sturdy and solid once again.  


I again stared at the dresser imagining how it could look and knew that I had only one hope…to paint it once again. Agh!! So I looked at Pinterest for ideas and texted my friend that has a great eye for design.  She’s an interior designer and has cool ideas and solutions for updating and transforming spaces.  Immediately (I don’t know how she does it) but she sent me three screenshots of dressers that could be inspirations for me.  The third one was immediately my favorite and green is my favorite color so I decided my dresser was going to not only get a simple face lift…but more along the lines of reconstructive surgery.  


I thought this project would be over and done with by now…but after 3 days I finally had a viable plan.  


I went to Lowe’s, bought 7 cans of Rustoleum Hunter Green spray paint and came home to get busy.  Slow and steady is the best practice with spray paint so it took me almost the rest of the day to put coat after coat of paint on the dresser frame.  


The drawers were another story.  I couldn’t imagine putting the original knobs back on with the new paint color.  I was worried that the glass knobs would make the hunter green dresser look more “country” than “chic.”  So lastly I filled in the old holes where the drawer pulls lived and purchased gold, linear bar pulls.  I bought the top two pulls at Lowe’s but ordered the three bottom pulls on Amazon because they were approximately 75% off of the Lowe’s price.  


After sanding, spraying and re-drilling holes for the new drawer pulls the project was complete and I was in love.  I hope that I can get another lifetime of use out of this old chest of drawers.  The deep green is moody and romantic accompanied by the gold handles it got a dramatic makeover.

Here are some progression pics of the dresser. See the huge crack in the top of the dresser and the chipped veneer…this old girl has seen better days.

Cost Breakdown:

Paint- 7 cans @ 3.98e about $30 (the most expensive part of the project.)

Wood Filler- $8

Sandpaper- $5

Stripper- $5

Drawer Pulls- $25

So for under $75 my dresser got a beautiful update. Not too bad!


What do you think?