Lori Haught Harper
Lori Haught Harper
  • Hometalker
  • Parkersburg, WV

Update a Dresser in 10 Easy Steps

4 Materials
Easy

Creating a new look for an old piece of furniture is simpler than you may think. Watch this transformation that updates a 1970′s dresser and gives it new life!
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
Using General Finishes Black Gel Stain, General Finishes Persian Blue Milk Paint (I’m in love with this color!) and a few other supplies available at your local Woodcraft store, you can create a similar look. Let us help you refurbish your “found treasures” or pieces taking up space in your basement or attic that could truly become functional and beautiful again.
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
1. Remove hardware.
Save all the accompanying screws together in a zipper bag.
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
2. Clean hardware.
I kept the original hardware as it complemented the colors I chose for the updated look. I gave all the handles and pulls a quick cleaning with Parker & Bailey Brass and Copper Polish and a shop rag, and then set everything aside until after all the painting was done.
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
3. Sand the dresser to prepare for paint.
I used an Abranet assortment pack of 5“ sanding discs in varying grits with a random orbit sander. Remove dust with a shop rag before applying paint. Make sure you sand enough of the previous finish off before applying your paint or finish, for the best adhesion.
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
4. Mask off areas for paint.
Because I chose two colors for this dresser, I masked off the “blue” sections of the top drawer first so I could cleanly apply the black finish.
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
5. Apply black gel stain.
Using a foam brush, I applied three coats of General Finishes Black Gel Stain (available at Woodcraft) to the dresser, allowing a day in between coats for drying time.
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
The black stain was applied here and tape removed. Next comes the Persian blue!
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
6. Apply blue milk paint.
I applied three coats of General Finishes Persian Blue Milk Paint (available at Woodcraft) with a foam brush to the three lower drawer fronts and the “blue” sections of the top drawer.
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
Blue milk paint added to the top drawer front - looking good so far!
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
7. Mask off and paint black trim on blue dresser fronts.
In order to get clean lines for the black trim of the bottom three drawer fronts, I masked off the areas around the grooves first, then applied the black gel stain with a small brush into the exposed areas.
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
8. Apply Pearl Effects highlights.
This was the fun part! I used General Finishes Pearl Effects (available in various colors at your local Woodcraft store) in Burnished Pearl, thinned down with some General Finishes Extender, and a stiff round brush to add highlights to the surfaces of the dresser. I accentuated the wooden trim pieces, the edges of the drawers and where the hardware would naturally make contact with the wood. I ran it across the top and sides of the dresser as well.
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
Where I felt like I got the highlights a little too thick, I simply went back with the black gel or Persian blue and faded it back out a little.
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
9. Apply Top Coat.
For the top coat, I used General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane Top Coat Flat, giving all surfaces three coats for a nice protective finish that’s not too shiny.
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
10. Replace hardware.
Last step – replace the hardware, and then step back to admire your work!
easy dresser update how to paint, painted furniture
With just a little paint, finish and elbow grease, this old piece was taken from drab to fab in no time.

Suggested materials:

  • General Finishes Persian Blue Milk Paint  (http://www.woodcraft.com/product/857889/general-finishes-persian-blue-milk-paint-pint.aspx)
  • General Finishes Burnished Pearl  (http://www.woodcraft.com/product/160654/general-finishes-burnished-pearl-pt.aspx)
  • General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane Top Coat Flat  (http://www.woodcraft.com/product/850181/hp-polyurethane-top-coat-flat-quart.aspx)
See all materials
Lori Haught Harper

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Carole Bisby
    on Jan 1, 2016

    Love it and the color choices. Question does that sander have a vacuum attached to it? I never saw one like that. Beautiful piece, where are you going to put it?

    • Lori Haught Harper
      on Jan 4, 2016

      @Carole Bisby Hi Carole, Lawrence is correct. I had the sander hooked up to a dust collection system to keep the mess down. This dresser actually went to my son - he needed a dresser in his apartment.

  • LindaK
    on Jan 1, 2016

    The finished product is beautiful, but was that burl wood? The dresser might have looked equally beautiful with the burl wood drawers stained. Just a thought.

    • Lori Haught Harper
      on Jan 4, 2016

      @LindaK Hi Linda, it was a burl wood veneer - very pretty - and I did consider leaving it. Good food for thought though! :)

Join the conversation

4 of 48 comments
  • Celia W Shell
    on Jan 2, 2016

    This is gorgeous! Great job! Love the color

  • Nancy Robinson
    on Jan 4, 2016

    I tried my first attempt at chalk paint in lilac and I am still a fan of naturally stained wood. Love your piece (which matches the finish and style you have done here) but am going to sand off my layer of 6" trial of chalk paint and just re varnish in same existing finish . I have finished a couple of pieces by hand rubbing furniture wax into existing finish and it looks GREAT. I do love your piece and maybe when I come up with a combo or a non pretty finish on wood I might try this. Good Job!

    • Lori Haught Harper
      on Jan 4, 2016

      @Nancy Robinson I actually have not tried chalk paint yet, that's on my list. Lilac sounds gorgeous! I like the idea on the furniture wax. Thanks for your comments. :)

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