Am I doing this old dresser a disservice by painting this old dresser

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I've been looking at chalk paint ideas for dressers and want to paint this. My father gave me this old dresser (I have another identical one, which he had stacked together to hold linen.), which I remember forever. It's at least 40 years old, possibly older. My bedroom is boring, and since I rent, cannot paint the walls so I thought I'd brighten it up by painting this with chalk paint. The decals are stick-on, so I'll be removing them. I saw a previous post where it was stated that if it had dove-tailed drawers, you should refinish it and not ruin it by painting. Advise anyone please?
  18 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on May 11, 2016
    If it were mine I would opt for the refinish with a new color stain instead of painting with chalk paint.
  • William William on May 11, 2016
    It's a personal choice. Some Hometalkers have painted dressers no matter the construction or age. Depends on condition of the object and what would make it look better. Just because something is old does not mean it has antique value. Do what your heart tells you to do.
  • Kathryn MacMillan Kathryn MacMillan on May 11, 2016
    I agree it's a personal choice, do what makes you happy, furniture should be enjoyed, if the current finish doesn't work for you then redo it, breathe new life into it, enjoy the process and the end result will be uniquely yours, I never see any sense in keeping something you dislike because it might be worth something, the personal enjoyment is the true worth, (in any case, the vast majority of old furniture has no antique value).
  • Susan Bechamp Susan Bechamp on May 12, 2016
    Paint can have a Lazurus effect on old furniture. So can a fresh coat of stain. There are so many colors available now days in both paint and stain. Some let the wood grain shine, others cover it completely. Practice on some scrap wood to see which end result appeals to you. And don't forget different techniques have different results. You can combine the best of both paint and stain on the same project.
  • Teresa Teresa on May 12, 2016
    you can have the best of both worlds. There is a wonderful product called Unicorn Spit that will show the grain but comes in luscious colors. If you google it, you can find the website. There are also a lot of gel stains in lots of colors that will brighten up your piece without hiding the wood. Unfortunately, I cannot see the dresser so am flying by the seat of my pants, but that is typical.
  • Marilyn Zaruba Marilyn Zaruba on May 12, 2016
    About 50+ years ago, I painted a beautiful antique vanity with ornate mirror in a style fashionable at that time. It was very French Country, but about 15 years later, that style was gone so I removed the paint and refinished it to show the beautiful wood and you would have never known it had once been painted. You can always *go back* IF you don't change it structurally. BTW, is there supposed to be a picture here of the dresser? If so, it is not showing up for me.
  • Lynn Palmatier Lynn Palmatier on May 12, 2016
    Can always do natural and paint combined. A picture of the unit would help. I have seen where the top is natural and the drawer fronts natural with a painted base. If the wood is beautiful this would show it's natural beauty. If it's a laminated dresser (circa 1900's), you may consider painting... Lots of ideas to work with. Match to your decor.... There may be some ideas at the bottom of this hometalk pages that may give you some ideas or do a search on this page.
  • Reggie Reggie on May 12, 2016
    I am not a fan of chalk paint, but I do paint a lot of furniture that has seen better days. Sometimes I use stain on the best wood and paint the rest. If you want to paint it, I say go for it. I have never regretted redoing a piece of furniture.
  • Patricia Patricia on May 12, 2016
    I'd love to see a photo if you have one to share. Some modern day furniture is constructed with dovetailed drawers, so I personally don't use that as a way to determine whether to paint or not. Mostly it's a matter of personal preference as well as the condition of the furniture. I'll include a before/after photo of a dresser that I painted white (chalk paint). Best of luck with your project!
  • Beth Yadamec Beth Yadamec on May 12, 2016
    If you want to paint it, paint it. I debated painting beautiful 1930's dresser that I had inherited from my Grandmother. I painted it. You can always remove the paint at a later date. The piece will be fresh and new. Maybe even replace the hardware? Or at least repaint it? Good luck, paint on!
  • ShirleyB ShirleyB on May 12, 2016
    I don't see the original photo...it really depends on the piece.
  • Debi W Debi W on May 12, 2016
    I'm having trouble downloading the photos.
  • Kaye Kaye on May 12, 2016
    You'll never know if you don't try it !
  • Nancy Gramm Nancy Gramm on May 12, 2016
    Dovetails do indicate quality and, when handout, can also indicate age. But 40 years definitely does not make it an antique. If it's truly no older than that , the dovetailed drawers simply say it's a quality piece, and I'd personally feel no hesitancy in painting. But that's just MHO. It's your piece, dollink. Do whatever you like. (However, long long ago the hub and I painted over an already-painted chest of drawers given to us by his mother. Not until years later did we discover that underneath what turned out to be 5 layers of paint was a gorgeous quarter-sawn oak. It's now beautifully stripped and graces our guest bedroom.)
  • Sally-Charles Evans Sally-Charles Evans on May 12, 2016
    Years ago I painted (antiqued) a very old bedroom set that was about 50 years old at the time. My father almost fell over when he saw it. Long story short, I loved the set antiqued for many years. When I got tired of the finish I hauled it to the carport one piece at a time and stripped it, and gave it back the former glory that it was born with.
  • Debi W Debi W on May 12, 2016
    Yea! I think I've finally downloaded it!
  • Annadele Annadele on May 13, 2016
    This is a nice looking dresser. It appears to be a good candidate for painting. And perhaps changing the hardware. The stain gives it a dated look, in my opinion. At one time I believe painting wood furniture was sacrilege! I got over it, eventually. There are so many neat finishes and treatments you can give to painted furniture - I say go for it!!
  • Lynn Palmatier Lynn Palmatier on May 13, 2016
    Great dresser, I have one very similar. This would look great restained or painted. Definitely need to get rid of the decals... it looks like solid wood and that top is losing the lacquer and will need stripping or sanding. Painting with a distressed look would also look nice...
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