Small Dresser Makeover: Painted Mustard Yellow

5 Materials
4 Hours

I upcycled this mini dresser using homemade mustard yellow chalk paint and wood stain. This makeover is a perfect project for beginners.

Small dresser before the makeover

I found this small chest of drawers on the Facebook Marketplace. Here is how it looks when I purchased it. It was cute but really outdated. There were several scratches all over the dresser. It is made of a mix of solid wood, veneer and particle board. Honestly, it is not a super high quality piece of furniture… But it was a perfect candidate for a makeover.

Removing the drawers and the handles

Prepping the Dresser

First, I removed the drawers and the handles using a screwdriver. I stored the handles and screws in a small box as I planned to use them later.

The small dresser was sealed with acrylic lacquer. So I lightly sanded the entire piece with 220-grit sandpaper. Sanding allows the paint to adhere better to that piece of furniture.

Corner fixing

The drawer fronts were in good condition, except for one drawer that needed some fixing. I applied a small amount of wood filler on the damaged corner, let it dry for a couple of hours, and sanded it to a smooth touch.

At this stage, I knew I wanted a wood top. I used my electrical sander to remove the varnish and expose the veneer underneath. When sanding veneer, you need to be careful not to sand through the veneer.

After sanding smooth, I cleaned the piece.

Top picture: after one coat of paint – bottom picture: after two coats of paints

Painting the Small Dresser

The following day, it was time to paint. I chose a tangy yellow mustard color for this project. I used my homemade chalk paint recipe for this project. It’s actually a mix of regular latex paint and calcium carbonate. Read more about this homemade mixture on my blog.

Light sanding after the second coat of paint

Since the original piece of furniture was quite dark, I applied three coats of paint for a better result.

Applying walnut stain on the top

Staining the Top of the Dresser

The wood on the top of the piece was really light and I didn’t find the wood super beautiful. I decided to stain it. I was looking for a natural solution and found it is possible to stain wood with coffee. However it was not a successful experiment. Find out why on my blog.

So I decided to use another solution and go for a natural walnut stain. After applying 2 coats of stain, I was satisfied with the result.

Handles – before and after

Distressing & Adding Top Coat

I lightly distressed it around the edges and the drawers. I also sanded again the entire piece for a smooth finish. To seal the piece, I chose a Clear Paste Wax. Lastly, I gave the old handles a good clean and put them back in place.

Painted drawers

For this project, I also painted the inside of the drawers. It is much prettier when you open them.

Here is how it looks after I painted it. Much better? I like this mustard yellow so much. It is a bright and vibrant modern piece that would be perfect as bedside table or in a child bedroom. My daughter immediately wanted it for her bedroom.

Mustard yellow mini dresser after makeover

Here is another after picture. I’m pretty satisfied with how this little dresser makeover turned out!

Suggested materials:
  • 220-grit Sandpaper
  • Paint brush
  • Mustard Yellow paint
See all materials
Lucie - Oh my sander
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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 1 comment
  • William William on Mar 20, 2022

    Looks great. Love the color. Also love that you stained the top. I love the mixture of paint and stain. Great job and share