Dresser Repurposed Into a Storage Bench

7 Materials
1 Week

There are a number of examples on Hometalk, where a dresser has been repurposed into a bench https://www.hometalk.com/search/posts?filter=dresser%20into%20bench

Julie, my wife’s cousin and a fellow hometalker, asked me if I would do one for her living room. I was more than willing to do one for her.

About four year’s ago Julie’s daughter, Jessica lost her battle with mental illness and died by suicide. Immediately after this tragedy, Julie candidly shared the circumstance leading to Jessica’s death. Subsequently she has become a committed activist for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. She believes the more we talk and read the more stigma we change. A link to her blog is at the end of this posting.

She recently received The Annual Butterfly Award from “I Understand Love Heals” for her work.

I admire her strength and courage and view this project as an opportunity for me “to do something” for Julie and her family when in reality no words or action can help with their loss.

The dresser we decided to use was once Jessica’s. It was a little dated and primarily constructed of MDF with printed wood-grain finish.

Dresser with top drawer removed
Dresser with top drawer removed

The top and the two upper drawers were removed. Part of the top was used to create the back of the seating area. The backs of the upper drawers were used to replace the fronts of the two lower drawers. The lower drawers were reinforced by gluing short lengths of 3/4” cove molding into the inside of each corner with polyurethane glue. I apologize for not having a photo of the inside of the drawers.

Top and two drawers removed.
Top and two drawers removed.

I fabricated: a top for the cabinet area; the seat; and the end cap (arm rest) from a single 2 ft. by 6 ft. edge glue panel . A single length of pine was planed to the thickness of the panel and attached to the panel to form the strip along the back of the bench.

Dry fit of top and seat
Dry fit of top and seat
Dry fit of doors and drawer front.
Dry fit of doors and drawer front.

The drawer fronts and and the doors were cut from smaller edge glued panels. Fronts were scored with a table saw to give the appearance of six drawers, even though there are only two. The drawer fronts were tacked to the drawers but securely held in place with the white porcelain knobs.

Back ledge affixed to top and arm rest.
Back ledge affixed to top and arm rest.

The top was glued down with liquid nails and nailed in place with finishing nails. Nail heads were recessed and filled with wood filler.

Project prior to finishing/painting.
Project prior to finishing/painting.

The top, drawer fronts, seat, and doors received a natural finish using oil based stain and polyurethane varnish. The rest of the bench was primed with oil based white primer using a foam roller, sanded lightly, and then spray painted white.

The doors did require a roller catch to keep them closed.

Finished bench/
Finished bench/

The seat isn’t exactly a lounging spot, but does offer Julie and her family a spot to put on/remove their shoes near the front door, along with some storage. They are very happy with the transformation.

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To see more: https://pickingupthepieces63.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/my-daughter-jessica/

Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Janet Taggart Baldwin
    on Aug 20, 2019

    Why didn't you just cut the top into two pieces and use it for the top instead of using a totally different piece of wood? And why replace the drawers and cabinetI fronts? Why not just paint them and put new hardware on them? It just seems like it could have been easier than it was. I absolutely love this idea tho! Hugs for you and your family for your loss,💖

    • John Biermacher
      on Aug 20, 2019

      The dresser was constructed of MDF with a faux grain finish. We decided we wanted mix of real wood and painted finish. We certainly wanted wood for the top and extending the look to the drawer fronts and doors seemed like the way to go.

      Entire project wasn’t that difficult and ended up with a completely different look.

Join the conversation

2 of 39 comments
  • Nikki
    8 days ago

    Job well done

    only thing missing is some cushions and a cuppa !

  • Danielle
    7 days ago

    WOW.! Love this project👍🏽👍🏽

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