DIY painted dresser project

2 Mar


The ugly dresser is finally finished, and not so ugly anymore! Gone is every last trace of white flecked paint and gold trim. The ornate handles are gone too, replaced with new brass bin pulls. We borrowed an electric sander from a certain neighbor who had a hand in a previous project too. Thank you Nancy, our project was made much easier with your help!


Over the course of two weekends, we sanded, primed and painted this fancy dresser, and turned it into something a little less fussy, and dare I say, less gaudy? The sanding portion of our project took quite a few hours– using both the electric sander, and working by hand on all the curved and carved parts. After sanding and wiping the whole thing down inside and out, we primed the dresser with two coats, sanding lightly between coats. We let the primer cure for 48 hours, then wiped the whole dresser down again to get rid of stray dust to help ensure a very smooth surface for the final paint color. We used sponge cabinet rollers to get a really smooth coat, and an angled sponge to get into all the carved details, without leaving any brush strokes.


We picked a satin eggshell finish, after finally settling on a shade of gray. Intern and I went back and forth on shades of gray for days and days, though we’d originally planned to paint the whole thing a darker, almost black color. I was worried that a darker gray would be too much, and we needed something lighter so our bedroom wouldn’t become a dark depressing hole full of cats. We narrowed down the choices to “temptation”, “french beret”, and the top contender, “Mark Twain Gray” …all slightly different shades of basic gray.

We finally settled on Benjamin Moore “Gray”, yes, just gray. Don’t laugh. It has a touch of blue in it! Again, the dresser needed two coats of paint, and we sanded lightly between coats to keep the final finish smooth.


Our brass bin pulls are from Lowe’s online– we originally picked out some different bin pulls from Restoration Hardware, but sadly they were too big, and didn’t come in the right width for the dresser. Overall, the whole project cost about $200, including the $100 dresser, paint, supplies and $30 for hardware. We purchased primer and paint in pints, and didn’t use a full pint for either phase of the project.



5 Responses to “DIY painted dresser project”

  1. Teresa March 2, 2012 at 10:29 AM #

    “a dark depressing hole full of cats” ha ha ha ha! That’s the name of my next album. BTW the dresser looks amazing! You got skills.

  2. Kirsten March 2, 2012 at 11:43 AM #

    Mmm, it’s so nice!! Thanks for all the tips. I love the way the satin eggshell finish looks. These photos are marvelous to look at– I’d be staring at the dresser a lot if it were mine!

  3. Signorina Mia March 2, 2012 at 11:47 AM #

    Kate! You should submit these photos to Design Sponge! I could totally see you on that site! Mi manchi un sacco! Ciao bella!

  4. thesistersk March 14, 2012 at 9:02 PM #

    So beautiful! I also love that white chair, where is that from!?

  5. Filio Kondylis June 25, 2012 at 6:10 PM #

    Beautiful Job. Well done, and thank you for the tips.

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