Shabby Chic Dresser Makeover

My latest and greatest DIY feature – a brown dresser shabby chic makeover.

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Jeff had been lugging around this inherited brown dresser since college.

In our apartment we used it for office storage, but for a year in our house, it sadly sat in our garage. Forever I wasn't allowed to sell or get rid of it due to sentimental value, but eventually I was given the green light to post it on Craigslist... but then I opened an Etsy shop and needed more supply storage. So back into the office it belonged. How to blend a brown dresser into an almost brown wall room with a big brown table? Makeover.

First came sanding to prep the surface for paint. Since the dresser was partially veneer, I had to be delicate on my sanding. The end result was a very light scratchy, dusty look.

Sanding too hard cut through the veneer. Yes, that happened to me, but it was an easy cover-up, in moderation.

After wiping it clean, the dresser was ready for paint. My original idea was a wipe-on paint technique. Well, that technique might have worked on a wood canvas, but was a fail for the dresser. Dang it, scratch that, new, quick idea needed. I then decided to use a rough brush stroke technique. My painting wasn’t perfect by any means, but I refused to make it a drawn out multi-day, heavy-hour project.

I used the same white paint that I used for my bookshelf makeover, imagining perfectly cohesive pieces in the office, but instead I got a dresser that looked primed, at best.

I needed a finish, or a second coat, anything to take the dresser out of its primed-looking state. I was stuck and didn't want to spend any more unnecessary time on the project. (Do you know how long projects take me when I try to make them perfect? Forever.) So I thought... and thought... and ah ha, it hit me. Stain. The same stain used on my DIY mantel... and on my floating Ana White shelves. A little stain goes a LONG way.

I took an old cloth and re-attempted my wipe-on technique. This time it worked!

You don't need much. Barely dab your cloth in the stain, wipe it on, wipe it off, make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies, and you'll have an entirely new finish.

I was proud, very proud, and quite shocked. A two-hour furniture makeover with this unexpected, unplanned result was bordering a miracle, especially after my problem-prone bookshelf makeover. (I almost swore off DIY furniture after that one.)

So next I lightly sanded the edges of the dresser, and when I say lightly, I mean lightly. A – I was in anti-perfectionist mode. B – The paint finish looked good enough to be left as-is. So, light touch on the edges it was.

And all I needed next was to man up and help Jeff move it into the office.

I had an entirely new storage unit for free. Seriously, I already had the dresser, paint, stain, brushes and sandpaper on hand. Yes for this mega shabby chic makeover success!



Linking to... Get Your Craft On: Today’s Creative Blog, Trash to Treasure Tuesday: Kammy’s Korner, Take-A-Look Tuesday: Sugar Bee Crafts, Tutorials & Tips Link Party: Home Stories A to Z, Whatever Goes Wednesday: Someday Crafts, Transformation Thursday: Shabby Creek Cottage, Show off Your Stuff Party: Fireflies and Jellybeans, Shine on Fridays: One Artsy Mama, Pin Me Link Party: Diana Rambles, Furniture Feature Friday: Miss Mustard Seed , Tatertots and Jello: Weekend Wrap Up, Show & Tell Saturday: Be Different, Act Normal, Party Junk: Funky Junk Interiors, That DIY Party: DIY Show Off, Remodelaholic Link Party


  1. Isn't is wonderful when all the stuff needed for a makeover is on-hand?! It looks great!

    I found you through Sugar Bee crafts: Showing off party

  2. I love it ~ very cool and unique.
    I'm visiting you today from Someday Crafts. I hope you get a chance to stop by my blog and leave a comment and Link Up, too!
    ~ Megin of VMG206
    Medicine Cabinet Makeover

  3. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday over at Sugar Bee Crafts - you were featured yesterday!

  4. That's a really cool effect you created! Nice job! Pinned!
    Selene @ Restoration Beauty

  5. I love the change, but appreciate your "tutorial" even more. Visiting from Road Kill Rescue.

  6. tears, tears, tears.....another beautiful midcentury dresser killed. Was worth a few hundred dollars.

    But I do respect it is your furniture and you love what you did so I am happy for you.

  7. Definitely looks much girlier now! Perfect for a craft room!

  8. Turning an old wooden dresser into a chic office drawer was a good idea. You've done a good job.

  9. It is an amazing design I found today.


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