Garage Sale Dresser Upcycle

Well, it's not 100% done, but I couldn't wait to share this one. This summer, Eric called me right after he left the house for work to let me know there was a garage sale a few houses down from us. He picked me up, and ten minutes later, we had bought two dressers for a combined $25. The first I had finished painting within the week, but the second sat for months untouched. I didn't have any inspiration for it whatsoever. I had thought at one point of just giving it a coat of white paint and calling it a day - now I'm glad I waited. While trying to gather inspiration for Lucy's big girl room, I came across this dresser and instantly fell in love with the pink and gold. And so, after weeks of slow work, this is where I've ended up:

Which is a far cry from where it started

I started off with a light sanding in any places that weren't entirely smooth. Then I put on my first coat of pink paint, stepped back, and was reminded of Pepto Bismol. I just couldn't do it. So I headed back to Lowe's, found a Valspar paint with peachier tones (Brushed Rose) and tried again. And it. was. good.

After a few coats of paint, I added a coat of polyurethane, since I knew I would be taping the drawers and didn't want any of the paint to come off with the tape. I taped around the drawer edge with a 1" tape, measured in 3/4" from the inner edge, and taped another edge. Here's a cell phone picture of what I ended up with:

To clean up the edges, I lined up a straight edge with the tape and used an X-Acto knife to very gently cut through the tape, without cutting into the wood. 

Within the border I created, I added three coats of Martha Stewart's Multi Surface paint in Rose Gold.

 A few tips:

  • In order to save a few bucks, when I do furniture project like these, I buy test pots of paint instead of a full quart. To put three coats of the Brushed Rose on this dresser only required two $3 test pots.
  • Don't skimp on painter's tape - this is a lesson I've learned from past experience; for furniture projects, I like to use 3M's delicate surface tape.
  • When creating stripes or borders, the best advice I've ever gotten is to first paint in your border with your original paint color. This helps to create a seal along the tapeline; any bleeding that occurs under the tape happens with the original color, so no biggie. The result is a clean, crisp line and no need for touch ups.
  • Poly, poly, poly. This is the final step that I haven't completed yet, but especially with furniture that gets used on a very regular basis, taking the time to add several coats of polyurethane will help to protect your paint job and make it easier to wipe off messes like all of the grubby toddler fingerprints I see in this dresser's future.

I'm loving the way light reflects off of the gold paint.

In addition to the paint job, I switched out the pulls on the middle drawer and added some to the top and bottom drawers for more detail.

And now, for the breakdown of the cost of this project:
  • Dresser - $12.50
  • Pink paint - two test pots for a total of $6
  • Knobs - 50% off at Hobby Lobby got me six of these for $12
  • Rose gold paint - already had on hand
  • Paint brushes/supplies - already had on hand
  • Painter's tape - $5
  • Polyurethane - already had on hand
Total cost - $35.50

All that stands in the way now of getting Lucy into her new room is a few coats of poly. I can't wait to share the final details!


  1. beautiful Lauren! It is amazing what paint and new hardware can do for a piece. I love it :)

    1. Thanks, Rachel :) I learned years ago the value of paint, but furniture recovery is still pretty new to me. I'm loving it and am not sure I'll ever buy new furniture again.

  2. This is stunning!! I totally understand being stuck on a piece, and then all of a sudden getting inspiration for it. And I have been married a year, and the only piece of furniture my husband and I have ever bought new is our mattress. We love to do furniture fixes, and we've just begun doing them for other people as well.
    Also, love the chalkboard wall in the background. I would have LOVED that as a kid!

    1. Thanks, Christine! There is so much more pride in doing something yourself, isn't there? Not to mention the quality of most furniture these days is pretty poor - so when I find a solid wood piece for a steal that just needs a little love, I squeal a little.

      That chalkboard wall was another "live with it and see" thing. It was there when we moved into the house, and I loved the idea of it but couldn't get it to work with the decor. When I started working on this room, I just made sure to work some other black details in so it all made sense. Lucy DOES love it, even if she doesn't quite get that they are the only walls she's allowed to mark on yet.


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