Modernizing Dressers

Original_Mirror_Dresser_Header

We’ve all been there – you move out for the first time and your family donates their old furniture to you or allows you to take the furniture you grew up with. While it seems great at the time, eventually your tastes change, and you begin to want your furniture to tie in with the rest of your belongings. Buying new furniture can be really expensive, and if you already have good quality stuff, why get rid of it? All you need to do is modernize it.

Scott had two maple dressers that he brought into our home from his childhood. They are two solid pieces of furniture, but oh, so stuck in the 1970’s. After wandering into a store in New Westminster one day – The Fat Paint Company – we had our answer! We could make our pieces more relevant to our style by painting them.

The original short dresser
The original short dresser
The original tall dresser with brass handles
The original tall dresser with brass handles

Fat Paint is a brand of chalk-style paint, not to be confused with chalkboard paint, which is the paint you use to turn things into surfaces you can write on with chalk. It can be found at The Fat Paint Company and Brick and Mortar Living in New Westminster, or you can buy other brands at places like Home Depot. The beauty of this is it requires very little prep work. Rather than having to strip the entire piece, we simply needed to give it a very light sanding and then apply the paint!

The End.

Okay, there’s a little more to the story, but not much! We chose two colours for our pieces – Warm White and Antique Wedgwood. We removed the old hardware from the drawers and then lightly sanded the dressers and mirror frame. (Please note it is suggested you wash the furniture down at this point. We weren’t aware of that step at the time and never did. We simply dusted the dressers off well using both a soft cloth and a vacuum. Our furniture was in very good condition, though, so that probably helped as the end result turned out great!)

The first colour we started with was the Warm White on the front face of the drawers and the tops of the dressers. We followed the instructions on the cans which were to apply a few coats of paint. We did three. We used a small roller to do this and then lightly sanded between each coat once it was dry. When I say lightly sanded, I mean lightly sanded. It was awesome. There was very little mess and the paint went on beautifully. (Safety disclaimer: as we were sanding, we made sure to wear a mask so that we weren’t breathing in a lot of dust.)

After removing the hardware and sanding the drawers, we try our first coat of paint.
After removing the hardware and sanding the drawers, we try our first coat of paint.
Another layer of warm white goes on
Another layer of warm white goes on

Before we applied the Antique Wedgwood, we taped off the edges of the warm white so that they would stay crisp and clean. We then followed the same process, applying the paint and sanding in between each coat. As this was a smaller area with curves, we used a brush for this colour.

The painted drawers taped and ready for the next colour
The painted drawers taped and ready for the next colour
The taped drawers to allow for sharp edges where the colours meet
The taped drawers to allow for sharp edges where the colours meet

There is a wax that can be applied after the paint, but as it is beeswax and I’m allergic to it, we needed to find another option. We used a clear polyurethane varnish. Again, we followed the instructions on the can, lightly sanding between each coat of varnish.

The drawers, painted and varnished
The drawers, painted and varnished

Finally, to fully bring the restoration up to date, we went to our local Home Depot and found some new hardware. We attached that to the drawers and suddenly we had a brand new look at a very reasonable cost!

The square handles on the short drawers
The square handles on the short drawers
The elongated handles on the long drawers
The elongated handles on the long drawers
The completed tall dresser
The completed tall dresser
The fully restored dressers
The fully restored dressers

I have an old desk and chair set from Ikea from the 1970’s. It’s still in great condition but definitely needs a new coat of paint. I’m thinking that this may be our next chalk paint adventure! You know, unless we find other stuff we want to paint first. Oooh! Is that a garage sale?

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