Cheap Oak Dresser Getting a Makeover

5 Materials
2 Days

I purchased this oak dresser on the Facebook marketplace for $30. It also came with a mirror which I sold for $20 as I didn't need it. Making the dresser a $10 investment.


Nothing special. This piece is probably from the 70's or so but it was solid Oak all around, so it made it the perfect candidate for a white wash.

With my orbital sander I sanded down the whole dresser with 120, 220 grit. What emerged is a light oak color. I wanted to keep the color so I decided to use a light white wash.

White wash applied

A white wash is about one third of water based white paint and two thirds of water. This is kind of like creating your own water based stain. Apply it with a brush then wipe it down with a cloth. After you wipe it down you will need to let it dry for a couple of hours. In the summer heat this was dry in an hour or so. May take longer if it's cold or humid.

Since I had everything on hand and used the original hardware on this piece my investment was only 10 bucks. Not bad!

I polished the original hardware and since it was solid brass it cleaned up nicely. Once everything was dry I applied a water based polyurethane clear coat

I love how this looks like a very expensive white oak dresser. Solid, heavy, gorgeous and will last another lifetime and the best part is it went home to a nursery.

Original hardware

If you like this transformation check out my reel on Instagram of this piece.

Suggested materials:

  • Electric sander   (Amazon)
  • Sand paper   (Amazon)
  • White paint   (Amazon)
See all materials

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  • William William on Sep 25, 2021

    Nice dresser back in the day. Solid wood from the 50's before particle board of the 60's and 70's. The white wash you did gives it a more Mid Century Modern look. Great Job and great share.

  • Leslie Leslie on Sep 26, 2021

    Lovely turnaround on this dresser, thank you for not painting another color. The white wash kept the grain of the wood alive and enhanced the wood instead of covering it over. The polished brass of the handles makes this dresser stand out, PLUS they went with the look you wanted.