March 18, 2013

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser

I mentioned working on a side project when we cleared out the addition, and we’re finally ready to share! This is somewhat of an unusual piece of furniture for us, in that it doesn’t technically have a home. We know once the new living room/master suite is complete later this year, we’re going to be left with a large amount of space. Furniture-less space. So, while we do plan to live with the new layout for a while and try out most of our living room furniture before we go crazy buying more, we know we’ll be needing plenty of new (aka, thrifted and DIYed) pieces as well.

I was sifting through a local thrift store one evening when I stumbled on this gorgeous chest of drawers. You guys know by now ‘gorgeous’ has an entirely different meaning for me. Potential galore and a $50 price tag. Yup.

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

Terrible picture, I know, but aren’t before pics supposed to be? This photo was actually taken once we brought home the dresser to our garage and took a sander to it. It had legs when purchased, which were clearly something added by a previous owner, that we removed. We scored a new set off of Ebay that better fit with the mid century period of the piece.

This guy actually set around for quite some time before I finally nailed down a plan of attack. I’m really digging the two-tone look that’s been popping up lately in furniture, so I decided to give that a try. Since the drawers are made of solid wood  I chose to keep them in a wood finish, while painting the rest of the piece a neutral gray/blue.

Umm. It is stunning. Yes, I’m biased. But I never thought this piece could look so good. The wood finish is super rich and provides just the right amount of contrast against the gray. I want to eat it up.

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

I started by removing all the drawers and giving the entire piece a nice sanding. I began the new look starting with a new stain on the drawers. Let me just throw this out there. This was my very first solo staining project. I watched my dad stain furniture my entire life growing up, and I’ve witnessed Ricky work on a few projects as well, but I’ve just always been a little hesitant to get my hands dirty. Maybe intimated is the right word. You guys. It is crazzzy easy. Here’s what I did.

First up, gather your supplies. All three of them. I used Minwax’s Dark Walnut stain, a Purdy brush not designed for stain (rebel), and a few rags (these are actually from those bags of t-shirt scraps from Lowes/Home Depot/whatev).

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

Pay attention. This gets crazy (kidding).

Brush on a very small amount of stain. I barely dipped my brush into the can. You can always add more stain to achieve a darker look, but you’ll have to re-sand and start over if you go too dark, so take it slow. Don’t worry about getting the area completely covered or an even finish, you’ll be using the rags to move it all around.

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

Speaking of, you could definitely use a rag to bring the stain to the drawer, versus the brush. I just used a brush because there was very little stain in my can that couldn’t be reached without covering my hands in stain.

Now, depending on how dark you want your finish will determine how long you leave the stain on before wiping it down with a rag. I was going for a medium tone, so with such a dark stain I instantly wiped it down. I worked in small sections so the stain didn’t have a chance to set in completely.

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

I spent maybe 15 minutes on all five drawers and only had to do one coat. How cool is that design on the middle drawer below?

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

I’ll probably apply a poly to the drawers eventually, in which case I’d use our favorite water based polycrylic.

Now, onto the rest of the chest. (rhymes, chia)

I’m a huge fan of Sherwin Williams’ Pro Classic for painting furniture. It has self levelers for a super smooth, brush stroke-free finish that makes me want to sing. You can’t go wrong. (not paid or perked to say that, just sharing the love)

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

I painted the entire frame, including the slots between the drawers with two coats of Ben Moore’s Ocean Floor, no sanding in between. Oh, and you can get a look at the fancy new legs! They actually came in that finish, which works perfectly with the wood drawers.

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

 And yes, that is paint on the left leg. No worries, it scraped right off 😉

A few days of curing and we were ready to piece everything together!

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

Baby photobomb.

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

Check out that richness.

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

We’re planning to keep the chest in it’s exact spot, post renovation. If you can’t tell, it’s actually just around the corner from the dining/kitchen spaces, beside the sliding glass doors. It’ll be a great bonus to our new living space with plenty of storage! We haven’t settled on any exact color schemes for the space just yet, so I kept everything fairly neutral in hopes of making it work. And a good before and after side-by-side.

Refinishing and Painting a Dresser | Cape27Blog.com

Are you guys taking on any fun futniture makeovers lately? Anyone else dabbing in the two-tone trend? I didn’t think I could love a dresser makeover anymore than this one… It’s been done.

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27 thoughts on “Refinishing and Painting a Dresser

  1. Haley

    This looks great! I love the two tone look and this makeover is perfect. What is your favorite Cincinnati thrift store for furniture? I only know of one good one and I’m searching for more.

    I’ve been working on a dresser redo also. Painting the drawers with a gradient.

    Reply
  2. Hilary

    That looks amazing! I’ve been considering doing a two tone job on my buffet that is the exact same style, just six drawers long. I was planning on white and dark stain, I hadn’t even considered a color. Oh the possibilities!

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      We were thinking of doing the same, with white. When I realized color was a possibility my mind nearly exploded, haha. Good luck with your buffet!

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  3. Christine Drumgoole

    So stunning! I adore the wood detail on the one drawer, so unique. It would have been a shame to paint over that. I’ve seen a little beauty similar to this in a local thrift store and thought about the same process. (You and I have the same definition of ‘gorgeous’, by the way. Check out my latest Craigslist find for proof of that! [two horribly spray-painted campaign night stands].)

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      ‘Gorgeous’ night stands! We just purchased a few campaign pieces as well! LOVE them.

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  4. sarahpicking

    That looks awesome! I just got a midcentury buffet from craigslist. The lines, and storage are amazing, but the blonde wood finish is not! I am debating painting it, or staining it a rich color. Question, what grit sandpaper did you use before the painting/staining process? Any more details you could offer about the sandpaper, how you wiped the sanded wood etc befor the paint/stain step would be amazing! Did you seal the stained drawer fronts?

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Thanks Sarah!

      We use a 120 grit sanding pad on an orbital sander. It didn’t take much. We wiped down the entire dresser with a damp cloth before painting, to remove any debris. We didn’t seal any of the drawers, but I’d actually recommend it for added protection. It’s definitely something we’ll be doing in the near future, just short on time right now! Haha. Hope that helps!

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  5. Adrienne

    It look so great! I have the same dresser, as well as a longer 6 drawer and nightstand. They were my mom’s as a teen. I’d love to paint them, or redo the stain, but have been too intimidated. Was the top of yours a really glossy, kind of plastic-y finish? Did you sand that down?

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      The top of the dresser was a wood veneer, I believe. So yes, shiny almost plastic-like. We sanded it down, just enough to rough up the shine and give the paint something to grip onto. Hope that helps!

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  6. Vicky Couch

    This dresser is definitely my favorite of your refinishing. I just love, love loooove it! The super smooth finish of the gray paint and the brown stain combined looks super-outstanding. I would love to do this with our entertainment center Dad is building…we’ll see! Thanks for the tips.

    Reply
  7. [email protected]

    Looks great. Amanda over at Our Humble Abowed recently made over a dresser like this as well. I like that this offers a slightly different two toned look that’s not as in your face as ombré. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Oh man, I wish I had a better answer for this circulating question… Cincy thrift stores.. quick answer, there aren’t any. Seriously, I’ve been struggling for years to find private owned, unique thrift stores. I usually hit up Goodwill and Salvation Army, but it’s really hit or miss most of the time. I just try to be patient and shop frequently! Wish I had a better answer!

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  8. Meredith S.

    where did you buy the legs from? they are perfect for mid century pieces that don’t have legs (like the one I’m currently thinking about buying). Thanks and great job!

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      We found the legs from a seller on Ebay. A quick search for mid century furniture legs landed us with plenty of options. Hope that helps!

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  9. Carrie Peterson

    I have a vintage dining table that has a painted design on the wood underneath the varnish. It badly needs refinishing. I’m afraid that sanding or stripping will ruin the design. Any suggestions?

    Reply
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  11. michelle

    I was inspired by your work so I decided to give it a try. I did and for my first DIY…I am pretty proud. I have photos but am unsure how to post them. Thanks.
    Michelle

    Reply

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