DIY: Painted Dresser

by | Apr 11, 2014 | Blog


DIY Painted DresserWhen we got married, my husband and I inherited a dresser and chest of drawers that had been in his childhood bedroom.  I really just kind of disliked them.  They were highly-polished, medium-colored wood that didn’t suit my taste.  Not to mention that the drawers were too shallow to be practical.  But since we are a military family and we move all of the time, we didn’t want to invest in a new set that would just get beaten up.

When we moved into our house at Fort Irwin, CA the carpet was just about the same color as the dresser and chest of drawers, creating a blah effect.  When my husband deployed I decided that I would make over the furniture.  I figured there was little risk since we got the pieces for free and I wasn’t a fan of them anyway.

I wasn’t sure how to go about the project, especially by myself, so a friend generously came over with her kids to help.  Having friends help with projects like this means that you have company for the duration of the project and that the job gets done twice as fast. Her teenagers helped carry the pieces down the stairs and out to the backyard.  Her younger daughter helped look after my preschooler while we were busy.

The process was really easy.  To my surprise, we didn’t even need to sand down the furniture.  We simply sprayed on white primer and then added two coats of white spray paint.  That’s it.  Not much of a tutorial needed.  But, here are some tips:

  • When painting a piece of furniture with hardware, make sure you remove it before spraying. I like keeping mine in a plastic bag so it all stays in one place.
  • If you are painting pieces with a mirror or glass be sure to properly cover that area. You can do this with masking tape and paper, but ask someone at your local hardware store for recommendations if you are unsure.
  • Unless you like to paint all of the time, choose a neutral color for big pieces. Add color to your room with smaller painted accent pieces so you have some flexibility as you move and as your décor evolves.
  • If you’re uncomfortable estimating the quantity of paint you need, take a photo and measurements of the piece you’re working on to the hardware store and ask someone to help you. They can help you decide how much paint you need and how many coats of paint you need to get the look you want. I often live far from civilization so it’s not easy to just run out and pick up an additional can or more supplies.  I like to have a warm fuzzy that I’ll have everything I need for my project before I start.
  • You can now buy spray paint cans that include primer and paint.  Choose an inconspicuous area to test to see if it will cover and stick to your surface, especially if you’re choosing not to sand.  If you don’t get solid coverage then you’ll need to buy a separate primer.

Primer and Paint with Primer

  • The hardest part for us, when we did this project, was that our fingers got tired from all of the spraying.  Do yourselves a favor and spend six bucks and get an easy pull trigger. If you are spray painting the furniture with the cans be sure to wear gloves so that you won’t have to scrub your hands raw afterwards.
  • To ensure your garage, patio, or grass doesn’t turn the same color as your furniture, make sure you lay down an old sheet, paint cloth, newspaper (for smaller jobs), or cardboard.
  • When painting drawers remove them from the piece of furniture and paint them separately. Believe me there is nothing sadder than painting a drawer shut then having to rip off paint just to open it. Simply remove the drawers and stand them on their back ends so that the drawer face is facing up. Then just paint the faces.

I did this project about six years ago, and there are some dings in the paint from moving.  The dresser and chest could probably use a fresh coat of paint but they’ve held up pretty well especially considering they’ve moved four times.

As military spouses, we often have to make the most of what we have in a house that we didn’t choose.   Using spray paint to transform your furniture is a great way to make do a little longer.

Have you ever painted furniture?  How did it turn out?

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