Patina Dresser

March 3, 2010

Every time I go to antique fairs, I am always drawn to those pieces that someone has glazed with a bold color.  My entire house is filled with mostly dark wood tones or white painted furniture, so this time, I thought I’d have some fun !

As you know from this week’s sordid tale about stripping paint off furniture, I had my little heart set on giving my previously white Craigslist dresser the look of a French antique.   With spring drawing very near, I thought it a good time to add a pop of color to our home.  To me, turquoise is a color that is simultaneously vibrant and calming, and a reminder of coastal waters by the sea.

You’ll recall the ‘Before’ with the multiple layers of white chipping paint, and here is the dresser after it was mostly stripped of it’s paint. 

b and a2

Here is the patina dresser, given a romantic new look, and refinished in this fresh new color.  

cg patina dresser

I just love this piece now.  It looks like something I’d want to buy from an antique shop!  To achieve this look, I invested in new knobs, some appliqués, and some paint.  (Sources below)

color and appliques

The first thing I did was stain my appliqués a little darker with an old half pint of honey stain I had leftover from years ago, so they would match the tone of the dresser. 

stained appliques

Then I attached them to the drawers with Titebond wood glue.  Setting paint cans on top helped them lay flat on the dresser so they would stick !

glue to dresser

As the appliqués dried, I watered down my small Pratt & Lambert sample of turquoise paint (called “Always Smooth”) with a few tablespoons of water and applied the base coat of glaze to the dresser.  No primer on purpose here – I wanted the wood tones to show through. 

glaze with base

When the deep turquoise base was dry, I dry brushed the second paint color on top after I turned it into a glaze with some water.  I bought a quart because I loved this color so much – it’s called ‘Rainy Day’ by Pratt & Lambert.  I’ll definitely be using this color in the future – it’s gorgeous.

You could easily get away with just buying another sample color because watering it down makes it go far enough to cover a piece like this. 

pandl rainy day

Dry brushing is simply dipping your paint brush in paint, then wiping most of it off before you apply it to your piece to get this deliberate two-tone look by revealing the base underneath.

dry brush strokes  

When it was all dry, I sanded the edges with a sanding pad to reveal some of the wood.

sand edges


Finally, I added a coat of Polycrylic in Satin to protect my hard work !

minwax polycrylic


I am loving the weathered look and colors of this dresser !

dresser detail more

rubbed sanded edge


detailed layers

So much can be done with appliqués and new knobs to give a piece a new look !  For today, this dresser is sitting in our foyer, but it will be returned to the mud room shortly.  I’m sure I can use this piece in a future guest room someday too.

Sources for materials: dresser from Craigslist; appliqués from Lowes;  Pratt & Lambert paint and Minwax Polycrylic from OSH; knobs from Anthropologie.

cg patina dresser 2

pitcher and books


I am loving this color so much lately.  And how wonderful that Pantone named turquoise ‘Color of the Year’ !  To me, turquoise is such a friendly color because it gets along so well with others.  It’s so feisty when paired with coral or orange, like a fiesta with reds, like sea glass with greens, a stunning focal point with white, and a cool compliment to warm browns.

What about you, how do you feel about turquoise ?  



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137 Responses to “Patina Dresser”

  1. Gorgeous, my friend!! I love, love it. Great job, I added this to my Tumblr too. You KNOW I love the color. :)

  2. Melanie says:

    It looks beautiful! I am not much of a ‘blue’ girl but it looks really nice.

  3. Gorgeous and a gazzillion other commentors before me agree. I love turquoise and am planning on painting a dresser that color. i am need to go check out the exact shades you used. :)

  4. clever-grrl says:

    Wow…. is all I can say. Totally gorgeous!!!! You really are talented. I didn’t even know that you could water down paint to make a glaze….. duh. I learn something new every time I read your blog.

  5. Abby says:

    Great job with the dresser! LOVE turquoise also. In fact, I am planning a wedding with turquoise, red, and burnt orange. Check out a few posts on the planning so far at:

  6. Pam says:

    Beautifully done! I absolutely love what you did to it. I bet there are quite a few places where this piece will look fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Lisa says:

    That is beautiful. I just purchased a similiar dresser from Craigslist and would love to do the same process. The color is great.

  8. Tara says:

    This is just BEAUTIFUL!!! I love it so much…. makes me think of spring. Great job and thanks for sharing the tutorial. Hugs

  9. Brenda Moore says:

    Undeniably LOVERLY !!!

  10. Alison says:

    Oh wow! It turned out beautifully! Turquoise is one of my absolute favorites! Goes great with lots of things and is just so peaceful and breezy!

  11. Charo says:

    It’s a fantastic new look!!! Great job.


  12. Grace says:

    I love turquoise, and I love your dresser. I totally agree it is a friendly colour, and I would add, very liveable. I never get tired of turquoise – and have loved it for years.

  13. All I have to say is WOW! This dresser looks amazing and gorgeous. I love it!

  14. You know what I love about how you refurb your furniture finds? You use what you already have (stains/paints you have lying around) but you incorporate such creative new details I never would have thought of!

    I adore this piece. It just looks like it’s full of history, like it holds stories of seaside dwellings. Turquoise is such a versatile color!

    (Thank you for your response to my thrifting post! It warmed my heart!)

  15. tillie says:

    LOVE that dresser! I have a plain dresser (not stained) and would LOVE to do that look to it! Now I’ve just gotta convince the hubs! I am seriously swooning.

  16. Erin says:

    Gorgeous! You have motivated me to give this a try. I got this pretty cool funky chair from relative that I wasn’t sure what to do with. I can recover the seat easily, but I wasn’t sure what to do with the color.
    I would love to refresh some things in our house, and need to do it very cheaply. Your post (with the pictures) is just the help I need.

  17. Linda Lee says:

    Thank-you so much for such a concise and detailed tutorial!!!! I love to see the creative refurbishing of furniture but I have never seen such a wonderfully generous teacher. No detail left undone, all brands noted and tested, EVERYTHING is so professional and yet easily understood. Thank-you, thank-you and thank-you again! Heading to the hardware store as soon as I sign off. I have a great idea for my old dining room chairs . Thanks Teach! Linda Lee

  18. Angela says:

    I want this piece please! LOVE it!

  19. I have to admit I’ve never been much for turquois…until now. You’ve done a beautiful job! This is just gorgeous!

  20. Andrea says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for posting this. I am enjoying going through all of your thrift store finds. Very inspirational!

  21. Tricia says:

    You are so right about new hardware and appliques. It really gives a piece new life. Love the color. Great job!

  22. Lori says:

    Really nice job… love the addition of the appliques and new knobs. I am also loving turquoise…

  23. Jess says:

    Wow! This is simply beautiful!


  24. I had no idea Pantone named Turquoise color of the year – it’s my fav color! And I love what you did to the dresser. I’ve learned a lot reading this post! :o)

  25. Q says:

    I love what you did to the dresser! I’ve been hunting for a dresser and think I found one at Salvation Army the other day. The only thing is there are a couple of chipped corners and I’m not sure how to deal with it. Is there anyway that I can mend it?

  26. […] with a base layer of brown topped with a second layer of paint or glaze in gray applied with a dry brush technique.  Gorgeous […]

  27. Laura says:

    Thank you so much. I love, love, love this. The turquoise is bueatiful. I just found a Pratt and Lambert seller in my area, but I can’t find any wood appliques. I’ve looked at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Michael’s. Where did you get yours?

  28. Kev says:

    I really love this project and the colours are amazing, thing that stopped me in my tracks was ‘I added a coat of Polycrylic in Satin’… Can you really get away with a single coat? I use a satin water based varnish and I apply two sometimes three coats.

  29. rasha says:

    the best of the best…i found your blog today and i have been reading since 6 oclock it is now 11 :D and i cant thank you enough for this dresser …i have been looking for this kind of painting since forever..i just loved it…and my living room and family room r blue too….love ur work uuuu

  30. rasha says:

    i love turquoise…i painted a whole wall a truquoise color and mom is an artist so she gave me 3 wall arts with the blue evil eye it…you can check out my new humble blog to see step by step how im decoratiing my home
    tell me your opinion kate cause u r my muse :))))

  31. Shawnna says:

    I think I have that SAME dresser! And those knobs you got, I’ve got them in white on my new dresser! :) I’ve been thinking about turning the old dresser into a kitchen island.

  32. Maya Eberhard says:

    I have decided I want to be you! I didn’t even know that those appliques were available – there is a world untouched out there for me to explore!

  33. I’m going to do this have the same style dresser. also
    i bought one for the living room.It was a sofa table..alredy done like this and it cost me 200.00 at tjmax..I Love it..same knobs but in cream love your’s and mind…got any ideals for a black bedroom’s it just like shabbychic.I know you can mix white with it..what would you do?glenn.

  34. I love this color and style! Wonderful job!

  35. cquinnbuck says:


    I just stumbled upon your blog on Pinterest and you do a great job. Really simple to follow and the close-up pictures are wonderful. I am a very visual person so you have helped me a lot. Not to mention you are witty too. An enjoyable read for sure.


  36. Melanie W says:

    Hi Kate! I have searching the internet for ideas on our various home remodel project and I have to say yours is the BEST!!! I am so excited about trying some of your ideas and adding my own twist. I love the color you used on this dresser, and I am thinking about incorporating it into my bathroom vanity, what kind of finish do you recommend? Satin? Velvet? Semi-gloss? Help!

    Thank you so much!!!!

  37. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Melanie, I think I used a satin finish here (most samples come in that finish) but in a bathroom I’d go with semigloss.

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