How To Update A Dresser In 3 Steps!

We probably all have that piece of furniture in a room that we are just over already. For me, that piece is the double dresser in our bedroom. We’ve had it for about eight years now and it’s a solid piece of furniture that works well, but I was just so tired of looking at it every day, if you know what I mean. It also is as black as black can possibly be and for a small room with small high windows (thanks, mid-century design!) the dark color just wasn’t helping the room feel bright. I decided that it needed a bit of a makeover and I thought I’d share my three tips for updating any dresser to feel fresh and a bit special as well!

Change the paint color or stain: This will be your biggest change, so think carefully about your color choice here! While it’s totally doable to repaint a dresser whenever you want, it is a bit of a pain with taking out all the drawers, etc., so try to choose a color that you won’t be sick of in six months. I have other big pops of color in my bedroom, so I opted to keep the dresser a neutral white and that helped with my overall goal of brightening up the room as much as possible. I would suggest using a lacquer if possible for a dresser as a lacquer is a harder drying and glossier paint, so you have the best chance of withstanding putting things of top of the dresser if you like to use the top surface as a shelf (this is an eco-friendly non-toxic lacquer that I like).

I took out all the drawers, did a light sanding of the dresser and drawer fronts to rough up the surface (using fine sandpaper), wiped off the sanding dust and did a coat of primer before 3-4 coats of the lacquer. You may not have to do that many coats if your original dresser is a lighter color (although you do want to layer thin coats of lacquer rather than thick ones), but I went from alllll the way black to alllll the way white, so I needed a few extra coats.

Update the hardware (or add some!): Elsie’s tips for painting metal. I decided to give my handles a coat of gold spray paint to change the look of them, but you can also switch out your hardware for a totally different set for a bigger impact. If you want to add hardware that has a different mount setup (like a pull that attaches through two holes instead of a knob with one hole) you can use wood filler to fill the existing hole before painting the dresser (sanding the area smooth when the filler has dried) and then drill new holes in whatever location you want for the new hardware. Some dressers may not have originally had any hardware, so maybe add some to the drawers for a different look! If you want to spray paint your handles also, check out in a manner that lasts.

Add a unique detail: Once you’ve changed the color and hardware on your dresser, you could call it quits and you’d have a brand new dresser to show for it, but … why not go one step further and add a fun detail?! The options are basically endless on this front, but you could use wallpaper (or even removable wallpaper) to cover the fronts of the drawers, Mod Podge a photo onto the drawers, add gold hardware details, use a paint pen to draw a design, or add a wood shape to the drawers like I did! I ordered three of this shape in the 12″ size, cut them in half, painted them with primer and then gold spray paint, and glued them onto the tops of each drawer. Simple but it makes a huge difference!

I love the look and I’m so glad I added the extra detail of the star cutout. I think it helps compliment our mid-century vibe and give the dresser a bit of an edge that it didn’t have before we added it. Don’t forget to think of what DIY options you have once you are over a piece of furniture in your house—especially with larger items. It can really save you some money vs. getting something new and you get to reuse an item and give it a longer life as well. Hope this helped inspire you to make a change! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Project Assistant: Collin DuPree. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

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