Dresser Repurposed Into a Storage Bench

John Biermacher
by John Biermacher
7 Materials
1 Week

There are a number of examples on Hometalk, where a dresser has been repurposed into a bench https://www.hometalk.com/search/posts?filter=dresser%20into%20bench

Julie, my wife’s cousin and a fellow hometalker, asked me if I would do one for her living room. I was more than willing to do one for her.

About four year’s ago Julie’s daughter, Jessica lost her battle with mental illness and died by suicide. Immediately after this tragedy, Julie candidly shared the circumstance leading to Jessica’s death. Subsequently she has become a committed activist for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. She believes the more we talk and read the more stigma we change. A link to her blog is at the end of this posting.

She recently received The Annual Butterfly Award from “I Understand Love Heals” for her work.

I admire her strength and courage and view this project as an opportunity for me “to do something” for Julie and her family when in reality no words or action can help with their loss.

The dresser we decided to use was once Jessica’s. It was a little dated and primarily constructed of MDF with printed wood-grain finish.

Dresser with top drawer removed

The top and the two upper drawers were removed. Part of the top was used to create the back of the seating area. The backs of the upper drawers were used to replace the fronts of the two lower drawers. The lower drawers were reinforced by gluing short lengths of 3/4” cove molding into the inside of each corner with polyurethane glue. I apologize for not having a photo of the inside of the drawers.

Top and two drawers removed.

I fabricated: a top for the cabinet area; the seat; and the end cap (arm rest) from a single 2 ft. by 6 ft. edge glue panel . A single length of pine was planed to the thickness of the panel and attached to the panel to form the strip along the back of the bench.

Dry fit of top and seat
Dry fit of doors and drawer front.

The drawer fronts and and the doors were cut from smaller edge glued panels. Fronts were scored with a table saw to give the appearance of six drawers, even though there are only two. The drawer fronts were tacked to the drawers but securely held in place with the white porcelain knobs.

Back ledge affixed to top and arm rest.

The top was glued down with liquid nails and nailed in place with finishing nails. Nail heads were recessed and filled with wood filler.

Project prior to finishing/painting.

The top, drawer fronts, seat, and doors received a natural finish using oil based stain and polyurethane varnish. The rest of the bench was primed with oil based white primer using a foam roller, sanded lightly, and then spray painted white.

The doors did require a roller catch to keep them closed.

Finished bench/

The seat isn’t exactly a lounging spot, but does offer Julie and her family a spot to put on/remove their shoes near the front door, along with some storage. They are very happy with the transformation.

Thank you for viewing this project.

Update August 2020: HomeTalk decided to re-share this. Several people Have suggested a cushion. No problem but if you look through the original comments, you will see that Julie prefers the hard surface.

Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Janet Taggart Baldwin Janet Taggart Baldwin on Aug 20, 2019

    Why didn't you just cut the top into two pieces and use it for the top instead of using a totally different piece of wood? And why replace the drawers and cabinetI fronts? Why not just paint them and put new hardware on them? It just seems like it could have been easier than it was. I absolutely love this idea tho! Hugs for you and your family for your loss,💖

  • Ardale Ardale on Aug 20, 2021

    What a beautiful tribute to a cherished daughters life and I'm sure it brings great comfort to her family as well as a place to feel connected and still close to their daughter. What a caring and wonderful brother in law you are! May God Bless and comfort you and your entire family!

  • Jean Jean on Sep 18, 2021

    I loved the unusual hardware on the original piece. Did you save it for another project?

Join the conversation
4 of 49 comments