October 9, 2012

DIY Painted Dresser

First off, I want to say thank you to all of you lovely readers that were so kind with comments and emails regarding yesterday’s $20 pallet wall post. You have no idea how awesome you make this job.

Speaking of yesterday, I gave you a quick sneak peak at a few of our latest projects for the first time. One of them being a thrifted dresser turned media console/ storage. Let’s take a look!

Our previous media console was great. Great in our last home. We didn’t have much room to work with and the size worked well. We also didn’t have any kids crawling around and getting their hands on every possible item left open. Yea, the entire console was open storage. It was actually a bookcase that we chose to use beneath the television. It was pretty. Just not functional for two munchkins.

On top of that, our television stopped working for a second time in the past six months. We opted to stop throwing money into it and just bite the bullet for a new one. We’d been hoping to do so in the future and this just pushed us along. With a new, and slightly bigger tv, the old media stand was really starting to look awkwardly small and out of proportion. And so, the hunt for a new one began.

Which ended quickly just days later, as I stumbled upon this beauty in a local thrift store.

For just $70, including a huge mirror that I have yet to figure out what to do with. Ok, it’s not your typical beauty, but the bones are great and it was awesome lines. Mmm those legs… Not creepy at all.

Yes, half the hardware was missing or mismatched and the top was scratched beyond the point of return. But I had big plans for this gal.

I started by taking the orbital sander to the large, flat surfaces and a sanding block to the others. You want to make sure to scuff up and shiny areas and the primer will do the rest.

I used a spray primer for reasons none other than being lazy and anxious to get this project moving. Usually Zinsser is my go-to primer, but I decided to switch things up a bit and try Kilz. Honestly, I didn’t love it. One major difference I noticed was a thin bumpy surface left by the Kilz primer that I’d never experienced with Zinsser. Not a huge deal, as a bit of extra sanding between coats took care of it, but more work none the less. Anyone else ever run into this problem?

Regardless, a few thin coats of primer and we were looking pretty good!

Onto the fun stuff. Color! We chose Ben Moore’s Cape May Cobblestone for the base coat. Which, if anyone is keeping tabs, is just a shade darker (on the same color swatch) as our wall color, Gray Husky. It’s the perfect neutral with just a touch of warmth. We had Sherwin Williams match the color with a can of Pro Classic in semi-gloss. I can not stress enough how important the brand of paint is when painting furniture. If you’re going to skimp on something, let it be the furniture, not the paint. Seriously. Pro Classic is magic. It has self-levelers that leave a professional, no brush strokes result that does not compare. I’ve also heard really great things about Ben Moore’s advance formula, but have yet to try it. If anyone is interested in painting something similar in size, know that we purchased an entire gallon and used maybe a 1/4 of it. Go with a quart.

Side note – No, I do not work for Sherwin Williams. We just really love sharing products that we love with you! Although, to be honest, I did work for them in college, haha. That could explain my passion and interest in painting.

As for application, I used a small brush (this one to be exact, it’s awesome!) and a foam roller on the larger surfaces.

 Next up, the pattern on the drawers. I searched high and low for a pattern that I liked and came across this image. I was sold.


I wish there had been a quicker way to go about replicating this design, but I struggled to find one.  With a triangle and ruler in hand, I started taping. The top portion first and then a day of drying time.

I’ve obsessed over frog tape before, so I won’t get into it again. It’s the bees knees. DO NOT try this without. Just saying.

 My neighbors must think I’m crazy when they see my hunched over dresser drawers for hours in the garage. So worth that chance.

I’ve recently heard a lot of fuss about keeping the tape on until the paint dries, but I’ve always been taught the opposite. My view is, get the tape off before it dries and could possibly crack and peel off excess paint. I think the odds are higher for peeling paint than paint running. If not, you may be putting the paint on too thick.

We also picked up six of these white and chrome knobs from Home Depot. Love how they blend in and don’t distract from the piece.

 The reason I fell so hard for this dresser in the first place was the placement of the drawers. I knew instatntly that we could remove the top row and they’d be perfect for the tv accessories (cable box, gaming system, etc.). Serious design fail? Not measuring to make sure they fit until after purchasing, sanding, and painting. They made it by 1/4 inch, no lie. Whew.

We couldn’t possibly have planned this piece any better. It holds all of our DVDs, video games, TV cables, and more!

And bonus, everything closes in hidden storage! So much easier to manage with the kiddos.

 We also drilled a small hold in the back of the dresser to run the cables from the consoles to the wall outlet. Finally, hidden wires!

 We’re so in love with the way this piece turned out and how the bold pattern pops off the rustic pallet wall. This whole room so perfectly represents our combined design tastes!


49 thoughts on “DIY Painted Dresser

  1. Annie

    I want to just curl up in all of this right now. The color of the (fantastic) wall and the (amazing) media stand are just… yeah, I want to curl up in all of it and let it hold me for awhile. Great job!!

  2. Heather

    I just love how it turned out! Makes me think that I could (maybe! 😉 handle this design?!! Gorgeous room!

    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Thanks Heather!
      It’s just paint, give it a try! Worst case scenario, you paint over it 🙂

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  4. Eileen

    Thanks for this. I’m planning on something very similar and have been on the hunt for buffet or something like it for…years. Question: Did you paint all the way back on top drawers that became shelves, and did you need to insert any kind of board on the bottom of top drawers?

    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Yes, we painted the inside of the dresser where the top row of drawers was removed since it’s visible now. Thankfully there were already boards in place to create the shelves, but otherwise we would have added them. Hope this helps!


  5. Emylee

    Quick question: does your xbox console stay cool enough in the small drawer opening? I know they tend to overheat easily and this is my only apprehension about doing a similar set up.

    1. Jessie R. Post author


      Yes, we struggled with the overheating issue in the past and this dresser is a great solution. We’ve been looking for a way to hide it along with the cable box, which also overheats, and so far so good 🙂 Hope this helps!


  6. Hollie @ I'm Busy Procrastinating

    Came across this on YHL today. So cute! I have been very fond of the yellow inspiration dresser as well, but hadn’t gotten around to trying the herringbone pattern out on a piece of my own yet. Nice job, and I like your gray/white color combo.

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  10. jayhox

    I had to hunt & hunt & hunt your site for this posting. I saw the dresser in Ladies’ Home Journal. Beautiful work (love the wall too…so clever!). I had just bought an old dresser the day before I saw the magazine article & wasn’t sure what the heck I was going to do with it, but your post (and the article) have given me some great ideas! I’m waiting for the primer to dry so I can get to work on it! Thanks for sharing your remakes! Fabulous site!

  11. Emily

    Beautiful piece of functional art! I’m so impressed by how you found that dresser and saw so much potential. That is a magical skill.

  12. Rachel Palmbush

    Just found this off a Pinterest link and LOVE it! What a great idea. Turned out fabulous. Dying to find a $70 thrift store dresser now…

  13. Jessica A

    This looks fantastic! Just wondering whether you used poly on the top, and if so, how long you waited for the paint to cure before applying. If not, how long did you wait before putting objects on top?

    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Thanks, Jessica! Yep, we try to always top off our paint projects with a coat of poly. Try a water-based poly if you’re looking for less shine, like ours. Depending on the paint you use will determine the cure time, but we usually wait over night. Hope that helps!


  14. Jennifer

    Hi, love the dresser! Could you share the name if the white paint that you used on this piece? I didn’t think I saw it….


    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Thanks, Jennifer 🙂

      I used leftover white trim paint from our kitchen.. which is color matched to our Ikea cabinets. So, I’m probably not much help in that department. It’s more of an off-white though if you’re looking for something similar. Hope that helps!


  15. Michalann

    What a fabulous makeover!!! I have been wanting to do something like this as well. Just one question for you: did you put in any extra support board on your top “shelf” that houses the equipment, or did you just paint what was already inside? (I am assuming you removed the drawer guides?)

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