before & after: cobalt blue dresser makeover


I have avoided painting a piece of furniture in my home for a long time, opting instead for a mix of natural woods. However, if I were to bring a solid colored piece into the mix, I think something along the lines of this electric cobalt blue dresser from Natalie could be the way to go. It’s bold, to be sure; but at a reasonable size, this dresser makes just the right amount of noise in a room. I think the color fits quite well with the mid-century lines, and I’m pleased to see that Natalie kept the original gold handles. Newer knobs might have cheapened the look of the piece, but the vintage hardware provides a nice touch of sophistication to this ultra-mod look. Nice work, Natalie! — Kate

Have a before & after you’d like to share? Just shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)

Read the full post after the jump!

Time: 6 hours over two days (to allow drying time)

Cost: $20 (paint + sandpaper)

Basic Steps: I sanded the piece with a 120 grit sandpaper followed by a 220 grit. Then I taped off the drawers and primed with an oil-based primer.  I applied paint with a gravity feed gun (2 coats).  Lastly, I scrubbed the hardware with a tarnish remover and put them back on the piece.

My advice: Don’t expect to finish in a day if you want a really quality, professional looking paint job.  Take your time and don’t skimp when it comes to the quality of your paint.  Oil-based paints are more durable and give a deeper looking finish, but they require about 12 hours between each coat of paint. — Natalie

  1. Tina says:

    That is absolutely fabulous!

  2. lifeloveluxe says:

    Bold, bold bold! I’m not sure I’d be courageous enough to do it, but the outcome is extraordinary! What a gorgous piece.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I am officially obsessed with this color! What paint color/brand is it?

  4. Kim says:

    I LOVE this blue! It’s amazing how one change (color) could make such a fabulous change to a piece. I love the advice to take your time to get it right. I’m inspired. I may need to divert from my usual neutrals and add this or something of this color to my “dream space details” here: http://www.loveumadly.com/2011/11/daydreaming-about-dreamy-spaces/

  5. Lovely Mrs E says:

    oh! Wow! I have an end table that I’ve been wanting to paint for months now. I’ve been looking for the perfect color. I might have finally found what I’ve been looking for. Great job!!!

  6. J MacColl says:

    Stunning

  7. What a great paint job, appreciate the very specific tips too! I have something pinned up on my inspiration board this exact color blue – have been trying to figure out how to add it in to my home decor somehow. Love this!

  8. gina says:

    Thar is a great color. I love it.

  9. isabel says:

    I’m actually surprised to say this, but the after photo looks really great. some furniture does deserve a paint job!

  10. Tandy says:

    I love that the grain texture of the wood’s grain shows through underneath the paint. You did a fantastic job! I would look for simple brass tapered legs or even longer brass sleeves to go over the wood..

  11. Kristan says:

    There was nothing wrong with the Before, but I absolutely adore that color. Beautiful work!

  12. Tisha says:

    Out of curiosity, was the piece wood or laminate? If it was laminate, any tips on getting the paint to stick?

  13. Mimi says:

    That cobalt dresser is fabulous!

  14. tracy a says:

    unexpected and completely fabulous.

  15. Ana says:

    If it was laminate it’s a good transformation. If it was wood, well it *was* beautiful the way it was. I hate to see wood get painted if it doesn’t have to be.

  16. Gabe Wimberly says:

    Does anyone have a “Brand” name for as Cobalt blue paint? Also was this a flat or semi gloss finish?

  17. Evita says:

    I don’t want to close this page because I want to stare at this beauty all day. Gorgeous transformation Natalie, and I’m glad you keep the original pulls as well!

  18. Sing says:

    The color is beautiful!

  19. Rita says:

    According to Natalie’s website (Natty by Design), she used Ben Moore Admiral Blue in a satin finish. If you are not familiar with her blog, you should definitely check it out. It’s on my daily blog roll.

  20. Katie says:

    Ohmygosh this is GORGEOUS!!!!

  21. blooie says:

    I usually don’t like these, but GREAT job! Outstanding!

  22. that was a beautiful piece before, but of course colbalt blue makes everything look a little more fabulous.

  23. This DIY stopped me in my tracks because it is so professional looking. Fabulous.

  24. Brian says:

    Um love the intentions…but….you just destroyed a gorgeous piece of quintessential mid-century furniture…..should have just refinished it. :( You need to study your Modern classics.

  25. Terrific! I am about to restore two old dressers and chairs and use bold, playful colors to finish them instead of the traditional finish and you just provided me with both inspiration and valuable information! Thank you.

  26. Penny B. says:

    This is gorgeous! Not a color choice I would have made for a dresser but after seeing it, I love it!!

  27. Carly says:

    There is something to be said about choosing a piece carefully before painting. You just put a lot of time and effort into painting a very expensive dresser that is now ruined. Sanding and oiling is all that this dresser required the value to be raised. You could have gotten the same results on a similar dresser like this and not ruined expensive wood. You painted over walnut, which is sacrilege! That is no way to treat good wood, show some respect, this is a horrible piece. This is not a professional refinishing job, NO professional would ever PAINT over good wood.

  28. Jenna says:

    The before is BLAND and BLAH. The after is beautiful!! So unexpected and gorgeous. Love this.

  29. What a difference! The details really pop after paint. Seems like it was waiting all it’s life for this makeover……

  30. Paige says:

    Hate to see that wood painted, but the detail on the drawers really stands out now. I could hardly see it before.

  31. Ruth Abbott says:

    While there is nothing wrong with people having a strong opinion I do dislike when people state someone has ‘ruined’ a piece. To state your opinion in such a way shows that while you may appreciate good design you don’t seem to hold simple manners in such high regard. Although there are many wooden pieces that should not be painted over it seems like a broad generalisation to say that wood should never be painted full stop. If this person appreciates the beauty of the piece more now than they did before and it is not a priceless collectors item I for one have no problems with it. Off my soap box I want to say that I think this makeover has been well finished and the colour is beautiful and thoughtfully chosen. Kudos.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      well said, ruth.

      grace

  32. julie says:

    this is GORGEOUS. amazing job

  33. PILY says:

    WOW! power color!

  34. Kari smith says:

    I love it too!! Could you tell me the color.. I am looking for this color to paint a ceiling in my bedroom. Thank you!!

  35. Christina says:

    Wow, that is a very striking color! I think it’s great! The only thing I would change is the hardware, but that’s just because there’s something about brassy things that rub me the wrong way. I just can’t believe how professionally done it looks!

  36. Jen S says:

    Gorgeous! And since when were there “rules” about modifying your own belongings? I love the creativity and fresh perspective of this piece.

  37. aunt blanche says:

    I love Natalie’s dresser after the makeover, and really liked the “before” look, too. The key here in my comment is the fact that this is NATALIE’S dresser to do with whatever she wants. She’s not posting anything on here for anyone’s expert opinion, only for our enjoyment and maybe to inspire others.
    When I read such negative posts on here and other sites, it makes me wonder if those posters would say such things to other people face to face, or if they feel the internet gives them the anonymity to say whatever they want however they want just because they can.
    Manners shouldn’t be forgotten when one logs in to the Great Wide Web. There’s a reason old sayings hang around as long as they do: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

  38. Cathy says:

    I love the dresser! I probably wouldn’t give a 2nd look to the before – but the “after”, WOW. I love it.

    Oh, if someone could please point me to the holy written rule that says not to part wood, I would love to see it. Thank you.

  39. Brandon says:

    I would love this if it were from ikea or something but, to see such a beautiful piece of crafted furniture painted… it’s painful. Having said that, don’t get me wrong the result is nice. I just wish I hadn’t seen the original :)

  40. Jo Kin says:

    Good but keep the wood grain! You guys don’t get it. Don’t destroy the trees soul!

  41. Renee Watkins says:

    Simply gorgeous!!

  42. Darin says:

    Looks like a vintage Danish modern that got turned into a blue cheapy dresser. Would have been nice to see it restored to it’s original beauty. But I’m sure it would add color and funkyness to someones pad.

  43. Monica says:

    I’m dying to know what paint this is! I’m so inspired to do the same to a dresser of mine but I know how crucial it is to get the right color. This one is absolutely striking and bold in the best ways.
    If nothing else, that you Natalie and Kate for the wonderful post.

  44. Lorrie says:

    Hi! I know this post of this cobalt blue dresser is a couple of years old but I love it! I cannot tell however, from the picture if it is a high-gloss or not. I have a cobalt blue tile countertop in my half bath and I want to see if I can paint the cabinet below it to a) match in color and b) match in the glossiness/wetness look also. Did the paint you used have a wet look to it when it dried?

  45. Josie says:

    What color is this?

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