Chest of Drawers Update

16 Materials
$40
2 Days
Medium

Recently, my in-laws were doing some cleaning and had old furniture they no longer wanted. Luckily for me my hubby knew exactly where to take it. Our house of course! One of the pieces was this small chest of drawers. Believe or not this was made of mahogany!

As you can tell from the photo, this piece definitely needed a good cleaning. I used Dixie Belle Paint's White Lightning cleaner and sanded it with 120 and 220 sandpaper. For the top, I sanded with 80 grit paper first to get to raw wood for staining. I then used 120 and finished with 220 for a smooth surface.

Before, I started cleaning I removed the drawers and discovered most were in pretty bad shape. I chose the best one and decided to convert the lower section into shelves.

My husband removed wood that supported 2 of the drawers and added a support piece at the back for the shelves. He also added a strip of wood in the front support to hide the raw edge of the shelving boards. I then filled in the space between the front pieces with wood filler. After it dried, I sanded it smooth and also sanded the inside of the chest.

I decided to paint the exterior and interior with Miss Mustard Seed paint in the color Typewriter.

For the shelves, I used Gray Driftwood Vintage prepackaged shiplap which I purchased at Home Depot. I love the color of the finish.


My husband measured and cut the pieces to fit. The boards are tongue and groove and fit great into the space. He them cut strips to make a frame to support the boards. The strips were glued to the frame. He then attached them to the inside supports with screws.

The shelves fit perfectly!

For the top, I wanted to match the shelves as close as possible. First, I used a gray stain. Due to the natural wood's color, the stain did not end up as gray as I had hoped. I then color washed the top using Dixie Belle Paint in Driftwood. I watered down my paint (probably 50/50) and brushed in on with a chip brush. I then immediately wiped over the surface with a lint free cloth.

Color washing did the trick! After the paint dried, I sealed the top with Minwax Wipe On Poly in satin and used Miss Mustard Seed Hemp Oil to the body of the chest.

I replaced the drawer handles to finish off this piece. What a difference!

Resources for this project:

Dixie Belle Paint (for color wash)
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Phyllis Ferri Santilli
    on Feb 6, 2020

    We bought an old dresser and sanded and washed it really good but it still smells what can we do? After painting it still smells! Ty

    • William
      on Feb 22, 2020

      How to Eliminate Odors in Wood


      Your best hope for sealing in any odors is shellac. It makes an excellent barrier coat over all wood species, and it sticks to almost anything. Zinsser makes a great product for this purpose, called Bullseye SealCoat. It’s a clear dewaxed shellac that you can apply to those drawer interiors easily with a brush. It dries quickly and should help to diminish mice, mildew, musty, smoke, urine smell. And since it doesn’t contain wax, you can apply other finishes like lacquer or varnish over it — they’ll stick just fine. SealCoat is also handy to have around the shop as a general purpose wood finish and sanding sealer. So, I’m sure you’ll find other uses for what’s left of the quart you buy.

  • Shannon Murphy Jensen
    on Feb 6, 2020

    will you sell me one or two of your 'old' drawer handles? they match my parents old set! and 1 drawer is missing one! :)

  • Kathy Murphy-Anderson
    on Feb 15, 2020

    VERY nicely done!

Join the conversation

4 of 120 comments
  • Dana Mckee
    on Feb 26, 2020

    Of all the updates & DIYs that I have seen over the years, This is one of my favorite transformations! This is something I will definitely be doing! I love older furniture bc it’s solid, real wood & built much better! However, I don’t care for the plain wood look per say, my taste & style are more identical to the update u did! I like Grey & black, maybe some white & even wood with a dark stain! U have me wanting to get started right now & I have an older dresser already❤️ Again, I love it & Thank you so much for sharing

  • Susie
    on Feb 26, 2020

    I love this idea!! Thank you for sharing. It does look great!

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