A Little Bit of Paint Goes a Long Way

A touch of paint can change a whole room or a really outdated dresser!  We don’t always need NEW and in my world I love old vintage and antique items.  They have history, character, and a story. Especially ones that have been in the family for many years.  Antique furniture can be left unfinished to add a rustic look to any home, but this isn’t everyone’s style and sometimes furniture needs a face lift to be relevant.  Thank goodness it’s purely cosmetic and nothing some paint can’t fix!

Pinterest Ombre DresserIn 2013, when designing and decorating Anya’s nursery, we weren’t out to break the bank, especially on furniture.  For one, we couldn’t afford it, and two, we knew the furniture wasn’t going to have a long shelf life since kids grow up so fast!  I had found this picture of an ombré dresser on Pinterest (pictured to the left).  The colors were a perfect match and the style was spot on.  Cue our DIY ombré dresser!


The funny thing is I also saw a similar dresser in the Land of Nod catalog for $799!  Yikes!

Land Of Nod Catalog

Luckily we scored a dresser for FREE from my Grammy’s house.  It was still in great condition and ready for a makeover.  Finding furniture like this is not as hard as it may seem.  You can obtain used furniture cheap at consignment shops, online or in-person yard sales, Craigslist, or from your grandmother’s basement.  Sometimes you need to search a little, but you’ll find it!

download (1)To get our DIY on, we needed to decide which method we’d use to paint the dresser (we painted a black  antique rocking chair at the same time). After weighing out the options (brush, roller, or sprayer), we decided to rent a cordless paint sprayer for a day from a local hardware store. The time it saved us was well worth the rental fee. The other bonus, no visible brush strokes! Since this project took place prior to my control freak days, we didn’t document each step in photos, even more terrible no before picture (I know!).  Here’s the gist of the process:

  1. Remove all the hardware from the dresser and clean it as needed.
  2. Sand the entire dresser with medium grit sand paper.  Make sure to remove all glossy surfaces so the paint adheres easily and neatly.  Make sure to wipe off all the dust when finished sanding.
  3. download (2)Prime the furniture.  This will give you the blank canvas you need for your paint to properly adhere.
  4. Sand again with fine grit sand paper so you achieve an even finish.
  5. Time to paint!  Depending on the piece of furniture and color of paint, you’ll probably need two to three coats.  Be sure to sand between coats with your fine grit sand paper, again to achieve a nice, professional, even-looking finish.  Be sure to purchase interior latex paint, and NOT in a flat finish.  The glossier the paint the better for wear, tear, and cleaning.
  6. Seal it.  For white and light-colored furniture you may not want to use polyurethane as it can yellow over time.  Darker colors won’t be affected by this. If the furniture is not in a high traffic area, or it won’t be used much, you can get away with not sealing it and letting it cure, untouched for 30+ days.  30 days, that’s a long time!  Yes it is, but there is a difference in paint drying vs. paint curing.  Another alternative is to use wax instead.
  7. Be sure the furniture is dried and cured before placing the drawers back in to the chest.  We don’t want them to stick and crack the pretty paint job!
  8. And finally, an added touch thanks to the advice of our friend Alex.  You may find yourself wrestling with stuck drawers in older furniture, to help them slide out like butter, install strips of nylon tape.  Smooth and quiet!

We searched for cool hardware to replace the existing hardware, but unfortunately we couldn’t find anything to match the size and shape, at an affordable price, for all the drawers.  For the long hardware, we just painted it, but for the top drawer we purchased some fun nautical knobs to match the nursery theme.  The dresser looks great and didn’t cost $799!  Just proves a little bit of paint goes a long way.

Finished Ombre Dresser

Estimated Total:

  • Dresser: FREE!
  • Nylon Tape: FREE, thanks Alex!
  • Paint & Primer: $125
  • Sprayer Rental: $83
  • New Hardware: $5

Take a tour of our completed nursery.

3 thoughts on “A Little Bit of Paint Goes a Long Way

  1. Pingback: Nursery Tour | Control Freak Chronicles

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