Girl’s Room Dresser Redo

February 17, 2013

I’m sentimental about an old wood dresser that sits in my younger daughter’s room. I bought it 13 years ago when we first moved to our town (I know because I wrote the date on the back!) and originally painted it for my oldest daughter. When the younger one was born she inherited it and it’s been in her closet for years. I couldn’t bring myself to replace it knowing that both girls have shared it, so I decided to save some money, treasure the sentiment, and instead give it a new look.

We’re doing the gray + white+ lavender thing in my nine year old’s room and even though I was dying to bust out some bright color she’s already got an aqua desk on the other side and lest it get too hodge podge I kept the palette classic with a gray + white medley.

painted white dresser with gray overlays

I found this dresser at one of those inexpensive “everything raw wood” places 13 years ago that’s filled with dining tables, bookcases, shelves, etc. and they’re ready to paint or stain in any color you choose. It was painted white long ago on a cool day in March on the porch of our rental home. I gave it little glass knobs, a mini pink stencil in the corners, and stained bun feet. Witness one of my first furniture makeovers!

You can see I’d already started removing the basic glass knobs when I snapped this picture last week but I’ve gotta give this dresser credit – the paint job has held up for over a decade.

old dresser

For the upgrade, I ordered these ring pulls and some custom Anne decorative overlays to give the dresser a more modern look, but I realized when they arrived I had to move the position of the hardware on the dresser for it to look balanced.

change position of pull


The best product for filling up old holes in furniture before you repaint and add new ones is wood filler but I was out so I turned to an alternative method. A little caulk and lightweight spackling did the trick but beware!  Caulking contracts when it dries, and it’s NOT sandable so if you use it to fill holes like I did then you MUST wipe away any surface residue.

caulk and spackling

Caulking will fill the holes (be sure to wipe away excess with a damp rag) and then one (sometimes two) layers of sandable spackling can be used over the top to fill the old hardware holes in lieu of wood filler. Once dry you can sand it smooth.

caulking and spackling


I used some leftover Chalk Paint to give the dresser a fresh coat of white. No sanding or primer just right over the top of the old latex paint …

old white chalk paint


… followed up by a coat of clear furniture wax – and the best thing to protect white paints instead of a polycrylic which I’ve learned is fine for color or dark paint but not necessarily white paint because polys can amber, even the water based ones.

as clear wax


The decorative overlays got a coat of gray primer and then a coat of Rust-Oleum’s metallic silver spray paint.

primer and paint


The spray paint is also a really close match to Rub N’ Buff in ‘Silver Leaf’.

silver leaf rub n buff


The decorative overlays are applied with Liquid Nails painted onto the back with a small brush – I allowed it to dry for an hour or so.

liquid nails


To center and drill the new holes for the hardware I used a yardstick, a measuring tape, and power screwdriver, although I’ve used painter’s tape too to line up hardware so it’s even on a dresser.

align pulls

drill holes


The old gal now has an updated look that took just a few hours of work over the weekend.

dresser from side

white dresser gray overlays nickel pulls


Down below I’ve added a new accent rug to the room that I bought on sale at Joss & Main but you can also buy it retail in several colors here.

lavender medallion rug


Also I purchased this blossom mirror at PB Kids last year thanks to a gift card and I do declare it’s the perfect accent, no?

pottery barn kids mirror


And that’s the story of how a wood dresser I’m so sentimental about got a brand new look.

painted white dresser with gray overlays


Hopefully it lasts for at least another ten years. :)



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