Big Bulky Dresser Given a New Life

7 Materials
4 Days

I purchased this 12 drawer dresser with the purpose of refinishing it. It was very heavy solid wood thick drawer fronts (but still cool) and 2x4 for legs...

I got to work right away!


First step is to get rid of the old varnish. I used an orbital sander with 120, 220 and 320 sandpaper grit. I wanted to expose as much wood as possible, so that was necessary. I usually use wood filler where its needed and I cover it with paint. Unfortunately this dresser has more veneer problems than I originally thought based on the pictures. But oh well...

Orbital sander
After sanding
White wash

I wanted to make this dresd look light and airy because it was such a big and bulky piece. I whitewashed the wood parts I wanted to expose and used white paint to cover the wood fillers I used which were mostly around the edges. To make white was just use any kind of white paint

Sanded, and white washed
Painter's tape

Like I mentioned before the edges had most of the veneer damage, so I decided to paint those parts white. For that I used painters tape.

Add new legs
New legs

As you could see on the before pictures this dresser had 2x4 for legs. I took those off and added modern legs. Because the dresser was extremely heavy I added 6 legs total so it won't warp down the line.

Adding hardware

Because old dressers sometimes have drawers that stick it's easier to add hardware to the drawers if they don't have one already. This was the case with this dresser too so I added brass knobs to each drawer. Once it was done I used spray on polycrilyc and it was time for pictures!

If you like this transformation and would like to see tips and tricks in real time follow me on Instagram @andreapalmai

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2 of 20 comments
  • Claudia Stewart
    Claudia Stewart
    on Nov 29, 2020

    Stunning. Great transformation.

  • Melinda Record
    Melinda Record
    13 minutes ago

    WOW!! Unbelievable transformation! You brought life back into this old, tired dresser and now it is a stunning, beautiful, functional piece of furniture. Your choice of wood treatment, paint color and hardware are perfect. You are very talented and creative ~ keep it coming ... it's inspirational.

    Thank you very much for sharing!

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