The Boy’s Dresser

August 10, 2010

I began this transition from baby room to big boy space several months ago, but I hit a few road blocks along the way.  One of the challenges was finding a proper dresser for my little guy ~ one that provided plenty of storage, complemented the style of his room, and was the proper scale for the wall where it sits.

For months, I’ve had my eye on the IKEA Hemnes dresser in white.  I delayed purchasing it because it’s a two hour round trip to the closest IKEA, and it’s $300 buckaroos, plus California state tax, plus assembly.  Grrrr.  Delay. Delay. Delay.

So when I spied a listing for an Hemnes dresser on Craiglist last week for sale by a couple in my hometown for half the retail price, I scooped it up.  Only problem ~ it was black.  Not that I don’t like black furniture, but it was too dark for the little lad’s room.

So I painted it.  Then added some blue stripey trim around the drawers just for fun.


dresser before


cg dresser left side

Perfect !

Thanks to the kind folks at True Value, I picked up a few new supplies for this paint job.

 true value supplies

One of the reasons I looooooove Zinsser’s ‘Cover Stain’ is that it clings to so many surfaces without sanding and dries in an hour.   I pink puffy heart love love love this primer.   Remember when I repainted that laminate media center ?  Yep, I used this stuff for that makeover too.

The IKEA Hemnes dresser is mostly painted pine, and is a really sturdy dresser, but there is also some fiberboard and particle board in places.  This super clingy primer works for all of those.

cover stain label copy

I don’t have a professional grade paint sprayer, yet, and even if I did, I’d hesitate to use oil based primer in my precious sprayer because I hate to clean it up.  So for now I use a foam roller for even application and follow it up with a paint brush.  With oil based primer, I also use an additive called Penetrol that I’ve talked about here and here to condition the primer and minimize brush strokes.

oil based primer foam roller

When you go from extreme dark to extreme light, it’s necessary to use primer to cover the dark color or it will seep through your paint job and you’ll be forced to use more coats of paint then you bargained for.

I was thrilled to find the sides of the inside drawers were raw wood so I didn’t have to paint them, whew.  The bottoms of the drawers were lined with a bright yellow stripe, so I used masking tape to protect the super duper cah-yute drawer liners as I painted.

raw wood drawers

I gave the top of the dresser and drawer fronts two coats of primer for added durability, then instead of using my orbital, I sanded them smooth with this handy little 3M detail sander with rotating handle from True Value ~ very useful for smaller jobs!

sand primer

Painter’s tip:  Did you know that ordinary vegetable oil cleans oil based primer/paint right off your hands ?   A reader told me that.  Don’t remember who, but thank you reader, whoever you are, you changed my life.   Doesn’t work so well I found with the thick paint on brushes, but for thin coats on your tender skin, there’s no need for harsh chemicals like mineral spirits when ordinary vegetable oil will do for cleaning.

oil removes oil based paint

After the primer, I gave the dresser two coats of a paint I found at True Value, their Easy Care brand paint in ‘Calming Sensation’.  To create the stripes, I used painter’s tape and a small sample of True Value’s paint.

stripes made with tape


Here’s his old maple wood dresser.  The wood is in perfect condition, so I couldn’t bring myself to paint it, but between the blonde wood and feminine curvy legs, it wasn’t right for his room.   I’ll just have to find a new home for it on Craigslist !


  old dresser



boys room dresser from side


The knobs on the dresser were also spray painted brown.  Brown because this fantastic retro inspired fabric will arrive next week and will magically transform into grommet top window panels.

boys fabric for panels

cg dresser corner


I’m loving the crisp clean lines of the drawers and their blue box trim.  And I’m pleased as can be that by repainting it myself, I saved close to $200.

jumping boy

Of course, the final vote comes from this little guy, but I think I can safely interpret this jump for joy as his seal of approval.



boys hemnes dresser 600

This dresser project appeared in the Young House Love book!

“I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience.  I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project.   However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.”

Tags: ,

132 Responses to “The Boy’s Dresser”

Leave a Reply