Old Dresser Makeover

You know that dresser that you had when you were 12? The one you covered in stickers and the one mom let you bring to your college dorm? Yep, we had one of those still in our bedroom for a LONG time. In this case, it was my husband's. Does that scream 1980's kid or what? I'm pretty sure my brother had the same furniture.

The thing is, you have it for so long you kind of get immune to its ugliness. That's what happened to me. It was real wood, solid, and held t-shirts. I never gave it a second thought until Creating with the Stars happened in March of 2013. 

Each week I had to complete a new project based on a theme and then it would be voted on. Bottom 3 got booted out each week. Well, since I have this little gig on the side called a full-time job, not to mention children that depend on me for food, I had like 12 minutes each night to actually work on my projects. So, each week I pretty much started the next week's theme not even knowing if I made it through to that round. That's how this dresser happened.
(Slightly scratched, eh?)
After round 3, I redid this dresser in preparation for round 4.  Spoiler alert, I didn't make it to round 4 with the map table. It's all good though. I got more than 20 minutes of sleep that week and a re-fabbed dresser out of it.

So here's where I started. The things I really did not like were the handles, the feet, the way the sides stuck up past the top, and those lovely decorative notches chainsawed out of the front edge. The size and shape were good.

So I removed all the drawers and went to town with a saw.

First thing I did was chop off both of the tall side things. Sorry, couldn't saw and take pics at the same time. Safety first! :)

Then, I smacked each handle numerous times with a hammer until they fell off. That part was actually really fun. If you're having a rough day, I highly suggest. There were a few staples to pull out once the handle fell off.

Then we removed the feet. They were just held on with a few screws.

Then I gave the whole thing a really good sanding. Especially the top. (I sawed off the front edge of that "decorative" board right after this part, then sanded that really well too)

Here you can see all the handles missing, the front edge of the top is flat, and how the top is sanded much better than the rest.

I still wanted to see some wood on the piece so it didn't look like a giant hunk of cement. That's why I white washed the top. I pretty much just used my chalk paint recipe and really watered it down. Then wiped the surface with a cloth as soon as I painted it on.

The rest of the dresser was painted with light gray chalk paint normally.

Then I did the drawers in an ombre look making the paint darker as I went down. However, no matter how much black I added, drawers 2 and 3 kind of pretty much look the same color. Whatayagonnado?

After all was painted and dry, I was ready to wax 'er up. I used the same Minwax Paste Finishing Wax I used on my other dresser, my deskthis table, and this table. (I am Sarah and I have a furniture waxing problem).

Buuuuuut.... it was missing something. I know, I can't just leave it alone.

I broke out the DIY Moroccan stencil and traced it onto the drawers.
Then I painted over that with some teal paint and a craft brush. Then waxed.

Ahhh, better.  Last step! I bought some Besta Legs from IKEA and 3 Lansa Handles.  Took a bit of measuring to get the handles perfect but it looks so much better!

Ta da! Total cost for this project was $37!

So before you think there is no hope for your old middle school furniture, see what you can change! You might be able to remove/paint enough to make it awesome!


  1. Awesome! I'm so impressed. I would have thrown that old dresser out.

    1. I was close Denise! Being broke makes you get real creative. hahaha

  2. This is such a great DIY! Proves how paint and creativity can be transformative!

    1. Thanks! Yep... totally transformed that side of the room Loving it. :)

  3. Great job! Jon and I both love it!!!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah! I should take saws to furniture more often ;)

  5. Turned out fantastic! Wish I had thought of this :-) I found one of these at a garage sale for $5, replaced the top, added shelves and now it holds baskets full of barbie stuff for my daughter. I love cheap rehabbed furniture!

    1. $5! Love that! Love that you saw potential in an old piece too. I love cheap rehabbed furniture too! :) Thank you!

  6. What did you use to sand it down and to fill in any holes left by the old handles? Great job!

  7. Thanks so much :) I sanded this dresser with an orbital sander. A few passes with course grit sand paper, then gradually getting more fine. And, I filled the holes with Elmer's wood filler. It comes in a little tube. Really easy to use.

  8. I have a DIY Moroccan stencil but I don't see how my stencil is going to make another design... Your Moroccan fit so well together??? Is there a template to the DIY Moroccan stencil you have???

    1. Hi! I made the stencil I used on this dresser. Here's the link if you want to print it out. You could either scale it on your printer or a copy machine to get it the size you want. Hope this helps! http://whiletheysnooze.blogspot.com/2012/07/diy-moroccan-style-wall-stencil.html

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks Taylor. Still a before and after I'm really proud of :) Thanks for letting me know!