I’m hooked on furniture updates, and boy, did I have the perfect candidate: my husband’s dresser. I honestly can’t believe it’s the same piece, so follow along with how I completed this DIY dresser makeover.
The Old Dresser
It was a dark (almost black) stained dresser from Ashley and came with a matching nightstand I already updated and full bed we no longer own. The piece had good bones, but the top had been scratched a little, and I never liked the drawer pulls. I even tried to spray paint the existing handles gold last year, because they were an irregular size and it wasn’t easy to find a replacement. Even as gold handles, they just weren’t pretty. I stared at it on a regular basis, being totally stumped over the drawer pulls.
Just change it!
Finally, I figured out I just needed to CHANGE the handles completely. I removed the old handles and filled in the holes with wood filler. That way, I could have the style and configuration of handles I wanted.
If you’re filling in the holes, you need to paint the piece so you won’t be able to tell where the old drawer pulls were.
To fill in the holes, you’ll need to put wood filler into the existing holes until it’s even, or just above, the rim of the hole. Then, use a straight edge to scrape off the excess. You may need to repeat this process more than once and sand it a little at the end. I finished any stubborn areas that were difficult to get smooth with Drywall Patch and Primer and used the sander on the cap to smooth everything out.
I primed the dresser with chalk paint, so there’s no need to sand or prep the surface in any way. I did the same method with my nightstand. It was kind of a pain to paint, because the drawers didn’t come all the way out. My hands got pretty dirty getting in between the drawers.
I finished the dresser with two coats of latex paint. I just used leftover paint and had a mix of Rock Bottom and Station Gray both by Sherwin Williams. It turned out to be a dark, warm gray.
I used 3 coats of Liquitex matte varnish to seal all the painted areas. I applied it with long, smooth strokes across the top, sides and drawer fronts so it has a nice, smooth finish. This is my favorite brand varnish to work with, as its finish can’t be beat. It’s available in several different sheens—high gloss, gloss and matte. Gloss is similar to the sheen of satin, and that is probably my favorite, but I tried matte out for this project and am happy with the result. It still has a beautiful finish, but isn’t reflective at all.
Drilling new holes
Since all the old hardware holes were gone, I had to make new ones! I wanted to put a single leather drawer pull on the top three drawers, so I used a tape measure to mark the center of each drawer and drilled a hole with my drill that was large enough to accommodate the hardware screw. I used the same technique when I did my bone inlay nightstand.
The bottom drawers each got two modern brass cylinder-shaped knobs, so I centered them and put each hole 6” from the edge of the drawer.
I made my own DIY leather drawer pulls for the top three drawers. They were mixed them with some modern, brass cylinder-shaped drawer pulls for the larger four bottom drawers. I got the pulls on Amazon for about $13 for a set of 10, so it was a great deal. They were brass, but I sprayed them with a metallic gold Martha Stewart spray paint to get them more of a gold color, but the difference is pretty subtle.
When I look at our new dresser, I almost forget it’s not actually a NEW dresser, but one we’ve had for years. It looks completely different after the DIY dresser makeover. Now it looks like something I would buy somewhere, and goes so nicely in our newly refreshed master bedroom.