We get a ton of dresser makeovers in our inbox, but I thought it was interesting to receive such similar styles all around the same time. And since they were all so nicely done, I figured why not share them all? The unifying trend to the success of these pieces seems to be patient and diligent sanding, careful painting and choosing the right hardware to finish off the look. Each one of these dressers looks a million times better than its “before,” and all of them cost a good deal less than a new dresser — a testament to the resourcefulness of these three renovators. Great work, ladies! — Kate
Time: 6 hours
Basic Steps: I started by lightly sanding the entire piece with a 150-grit sandpaper. Then I filled in any dents or scratches with wood filler and sanded those down. Next I primed, and when that dried, I sanded with a 220-grit sandpaper. Next came three coats of high-gloss red oil-based paint. Between coats I lightly sanded with steel wool and then finished off the piece with an oil-based polyurethane.
Oil-based paint can be really tricky to work with and is quite different than latex. My advice for anyone who wants to achieve this look would be to start with something you don’t mind throwing out. Once you’ve gotten a handle on how to work the paint, move on to something a little bigger. Also, don’t be afraid to go bold with your paint color! — Natalie
Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)
CLICK HERE to see Steph and Naomi’s dressers after the jump!
Time: about 6 hours over the course of a few days (to allow for drying time between coats)
Basic Steps: I loved the lines of this piece, but the wooden handles made it a bit too masculine for my taste. I knew that if I removed the handles, I would have to paint the drawer fronts to conceal the holes. As reluctant as I was to paint this piece, I think the combination of warm wood tones and crisp white paint gives it a fresh new look that still pays homage to its midcentury roots.
I removed the existing wooden handles and sanded the entire dresser with coarse-grit sandpaper. I then filled the holes with putty and sanded everything smooth once the putty was dry. I used a foam roller to apply a single coat of Kilz oil-based primer to the drawer fronts and brushed on three coats of Olympic’s non-VOC latex paint color-matched to Valspar’s Swiss Coffee. I used a painter’s rag to apply Minwax gel stain in American Chestnut on the rest of the dresser. I then brushed on two coats of Minwax water-based Polycrylic over the entire dresser for added protection. To finish everything off, I measured and marked the locations for the new hardware, drilled pilot holes and installed the new brass ring pulls. — Steph
Time: 6–8 hours
Cost: $144 for two cabinets
1. Prime un-assembled Rast cabinets.
3. Apply first coat of paint.
4. Sand again.
5. Apply second coat of paint.
6. Sand some more.
7. Apply third coat of paint.
8. Assemble cabinets (don’t add drawers).
9. Add hardware.
10. Install drawers.
My advice is don’t skimp on the sanding. The trick to lacquered pieces is that the wood grain should show through as little as possible. Don’t skimp on hardware either because that is really what makes the piece pop. — Naomi