Dresser DIY

Doing hands-on projects usually leave me feeling energized and rebalanced, which made this weekend  an ideal time to tackle a furniture makeover project. Adequate storage is essential to apartment living, so I decided to give a face lift to a ho-hum dresser I picked up at a thrift store for $25. When picking out furniture to redo, focus on whether or not you like the overall shape of an item and then check to make sure it's structural sound. Color and fabric can be easily changed, but if a piece doesn't have a good frame to work from, you're better off buying a new piece of furniture. What attracted me to this dresser were the cabinet doors. I loved the geometric form created by all the beveling and the handles reminded me of bamboo. What I didn't like was the color, which wasn't dark enough to match the rest of my furniture, but was too dark to act as a high contrast focal point in the room. I also wasn't crazy about the bronze gothic-style drawer handles. 

 Enter paint and some TLC. The first step when refinishing wood is always to remove what was there first. I did three rounds of sanding over the entire dresser (from 80 grit to 120 to 220) to remove the dark staining and dings on the surface of the dresser. 80 (or 60) the grittiest sandpaper, does most of the work in terms of getting out scrapes and scratches. As one moves up to higher grades (120 and 220), the importance is to smooth and soften the wood. Fill in any egregious holes with wood putty and repeat sanding.  After sanding, wiping dust out of every nook and cranny with a damp rag can be annoying, but it's important to start with a clean surface for paint or stain to adhere to. 

Using a combination of rollers and brushes, I gave the dresser a wash of color with interior/exterior high gloss paint in Coastal Blue by Behr. I only bought a pint and with two coats     of paint, there was still extra leftover. I originally intended to change all the drawer handles as well, but I choked when I saw how expensive new ones are. The top drawers had mismatched handles, so I justified shelling out for new crystal knobs. For the rest, I bought a can of chrome spray paint (less than the cost of one new handle) to create a more modern look with color. To add a little pop, without overwhelming the overall look of the dresser, I did an ombré effect on the drawers behind the cabinet doors. My sister was also working on a project that day, so I was able to use some of her spray paint, both in white and turquoise to do make the drawers ombré with adding to the cost. 

I have a few small things to finish on the dresser, but I'm pleased with how it turned out. The stress relief the project provided was great and at the end I get to have a custom nine drawer dresser for under $50. Do you like DIY projects? Any fun projects in the pipeline?

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