Antique Dresser Makeover With General Finishes Milk Paint

3 Materials
6 Hours

This little beauty is one of my favorite pieces. I’m in love with this antique dresser all over again after giving her a makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint.

I’ve had this dresser for about 25 years now. She was my great-grandmother’s, then my mom’s, and then Mom gave it to me to use in my daughter’s bedroom when she was a toddler.

The dresser has undergone a lot of transformations over the years, but I think her newest look is my favorite.

Antique Dresser Makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint A Checkered Past…

When I inherited this piece from my mom, she was a mustard yellow color. I painted her white and stenciled some pretty pastel flowers on the drawers to use in my daughter’s room. Years later, when my daughter outgrew this dresser, I got her something different, then stripped this dresser down to the bare wood, and stained her an oak-ish color.

She stayed that way for a few years, and I used her as a side table in the master bedroom, but I never really loved the new look, because the stain just had too much of a yellow-y tint to it.

Next, I painted her this chocolate brown color to match some of the other furniture in the room.

Fast forward a few years more, I moved to a new home, and this piece ended up in the guest room. She’s lived quite a life already in the 25 years I’ve owned her, hasn’t she? Three different homes and 4 different looks. I wish I new more about the 80 or so years before I acquired her.

When I began her most recent makeover, she was painted the chocolate brown color that I put on about 8 or so ago.

I hauled her outside, fueled up on coffee, and got to work.

Time for a New Look

I decided that I’d give her a stained top and painted bottom, similar to the antique hope chest makeover I did last year, because I love that one so much.

Fortunately, because prior to the chocolate brown paint, I had already stipped her down to bare wood years ago, it was easy to just sand off the single coat of paint on the top.

Then, I used a custom mixed color of General Finishes Milk Paint in Persian Blue and Seagull Gray.

I just stirred small amounts of them together until I had the color I wanted. Then I set to work with a small, high quality roller meant for smooth surfaces.

I do still have the original wooden knobs, but I had replaced them with silver years ago, and this time I decided some vintage-looking glass knobs would complement her new muted blue color. Aren’t they pretty?

The Mirror

When I removed all the paint from the dresser years ago, I never got around to doing the mirror. I was using it as a bedside table at that time, and didn’t want the mirror attached anyway. So when I painted her brown in her subsequent makeover, I just painted over the white.

As a result of so many layers of paint around the mirror, this part took a bit more effort. I took the mirror to the garage, removed the hardware, and sanded down some of the rough spots and excess paint. I made sure to protect the mirror well, because it is still the original, circa 1914.

You can see he previous yellow and white paint from years gone by peeking through.

When I inherited this piece, the hardware had been painted over with the yellow color, which is how I know yellow was not the original color. My guess is that my great-grandmother painted it that color.

When I got ready to paint it white, I was a pregnant mom with a toddler. Stripping the hardward down was not on my agenda, so I painted over them again.

This time, I decided they deserved better.

I dropped them in an old jar with a little Citristrip, and in a hour or so, I was able to rub the multiple layers of paint off with an old cloth, exposing the original aged brass. So much better!


I wanted to avoid the golden yellow color that the wood had taken on the last time I stained it years ago, so this time I used Minwax Weathered Oak. I wanted an oak tone, to coordinate with the other vintage oak family keepsakes I used in my guest room makeover, but not a golden oak. The Weathered Oak did the trick. I applied 3 coats and it looked better with each one.

Clear Coat

Finally, I applied 2 coats of Minwax Polycrylic in Clear Satin. It adds protection for this pretty top, and just a little bit of sheen.

Isn’t she beautiful?

Look at that 100+ year-old original glass mirror. And the pretty brass mirror hardware. I love how the soft grayish blue color accents her pretty curves.

What do you think about the glass knobs? I’m torn about putting the originals back on. I mean, I like the idea of the original pieces, because you know… they are original. But they are just plain wood knobs, and I do like the way the glass ones add a little something special.

I’d love to hear your opinion if you want to leave me a message in the comments.

Here’s a picture of the bed both sides of the bed. I love how this piece can now function as both a dresser, and a nightstand for this side of the bed. The weathered oak top ties it in with my mom’s antique dry sink on the other sid eof the bed, and my grandmother’s hope chest at the foot of the bed.

The Whole Guest Room Reveal

To see the whole guest room reveal and all of the other antiques and family keepsakes I used in this room, be sure to visit The House on Silverado.

You can also see the story and makeover of this pretty beadboard cabinet my dad made by hand, on the blog.



The House on Silverado blog

Suggested materials:

  • General Finishes Paint   (Amazon)
  • Stain   (Ace Hardware)
  • Citristrip   (Menards)

Niky | The House on Silverado
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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  • Debbie Debbie on Sep 05, 2021

    Nix the glass knobs. Although they are very pretty, the disappear with the grey blue color. An antique brass to match the hardware on the mirror would work well and stand out. Maybe a door knocker style?


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