before & after: dresser makeover

Chevron patterns have been coming back in a big way, and recently I’ve seen some interesting developments in chevrons: irregular chevrons, gradient chevrons, broken chevrons. Part of the fun of trends is watching them develop and change as people play around and experiment with different elements. The alternating chevron bands on this dresser makeover by graphic designer Courtney Johnson really caught my eye; I find myself dancing over and around the different abstract shapes that it creates. The key to this type of pattern is precision, and Courtney has done an excellent job producing a crisp, beautiful look for this dresser. Nice work, Courtney! — Kate

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.)

See the how-to after the jump . . .

Time: 10 hours

Cost: $50 ($15 for the dresser, $20 for knobs and $15 for paint and supplies)

Basic Steps: I gave this beauty a good sanding and a new layer of black paint all over. I taped off and painted the now-white area of the drawers. Then I used painter’s tape to create the herringbone pattern (measuring meticulously before this step). I had to be very patient because each stripe required about three coats of paint. For this, I recommend letting your favorite reruns play while you work (that’s Boy Meets World for me). Then, the best part – attaching the knobs and sliding the drawers in!

My mom always says, “A flat surface should be a clean surface”; that is, just because it’s flat doesn’t mean it’s a catchall for junk mail and trinkets. So the yellow pig dish is the only decor that makes the cut! — Courtney


I love the dresser, but it’s the floral art above the dresser that really caught my eye. Looks beautiful!


Wouldn’t that technically be a herringbone pattern? Either way, it makes a fantastic statement, and I prefer it to chevron any day.


This is fantastic. I love the knobs chosen for this piece. Herringbone is very difficult to do so I know how patient you must have been. You did an amazing job. Thank you for giving us this eye candy to feast on and enjoy.


Please,please give us some information about the floral art above the dresser. The dresser is a lovely project, but paired with that floral art it really is stunning. I must know if you can please supply the information; what size is that art, what is the art medium, and who is the artist?


The floral art is actually vintage Marimekko fabric stretched over a wooden frame.


I’m interested in the painting ABOVE the dresser.. very pretty.


Hm. Since the framing on each drawer is also black, the white looks awkwardly out of balance / weirdly cropped. The scale of the pattern doesn’t work with the inverse rounded corners. It may have all worked better if the pattern from the left drawers was mirrored on the right drawers so that the symmetry would make sense out of the awkward cropping. I (respectfully) don’t like this.


Thank you for the inspiration, it came out super cute.


the pattern doesn’t look right on the drawers where the edges are rounded! details!


I LOVE the contrast of the black and white with the floral artwork. I am so not creative when it comes to mixing patterns. The styling looks great without being over-thought. I personally like the rounded edges being black, I think it gives the piece even more personality :)


Wow, the finished dresser looks amazing!! I’m going to have to try and do one myself! Thanks for the inspiration.


I actually love the dresser in its before state! The after is ok, but I would’ve just regilded the drawers and spruced up the black.


It is a chevron pattern! Chevron patterns meet in the center, forming a mitred 45 degree angle. Herringbone patterns are created when the rectangle form is butted together, but not mitred, so that the rectangle shape is maintained.


I can’t find an image or a specific reference of this Marimekko design anywhere! Does anyone know what the design is called?

Ilana Graf

Wow, what a striking design and transformation! I love the chevron pattern and the new knobs. Very Cool. I took a black cabinet and turned it into a white cabinet with an interlocking circle pattern in metallic silver. Your dresser is a nod to zebra stripes used by so many designers. Well done!


So I’ve done some research and it’s not a Marimekko print. If anyone does know what it is…let me know!!

Jo Kin

Finally somebody got it right. They took an ordinary dresser and made it something fabulous! Love it darling!


It seems that nobody has heard of Dorothy Draper. Change the knobs to circular hoops, some paint touchups and you’d had a “España” set of drawers lookalike.


Excellent! I would love to get my hands on thos knobs for my own renovation…. Mss Pruitt can you direct me to an online shop where I can buy those?