How To Paint A Dresser To Make It Look New Again

Dresser rearranged

The art of furniture refinishing has been around for centuries, with people always looking for ways to breathe new life into old pieces. One furniture item that often gets overlooked when it comes to refinishing is the dresser. Dressers are a staple in most households, and despite their importance, they can easily become outdated or look worn out over time. In this article, we will discuss how to paint a dresser to make it look new again and provide you with the tools and steps needed to achieve a stunning finished product.

When it comes to refinishing a piece of furniture, the process can seem daunting at first. However, with the right tools and techniques, anyone can transform an old piece into something beautiful and functional once again. Painting a dresser is one of the simplest ways to give it a fresh new look without having to spend hours sanding and staining. Whether you are looking to update an antique dresser or simply refresh an old one, our step-by-step guide will help you achieve your desired result. So grab your paintbrushes and let’s get started!

Choosing The Right Dresser For Refinishing

When it comes to refinishing a dresser, choosing the right one is crucial. While antique dressers may have a certain charm and character, modern dressers tend to have a more durable build and may be easier to work with. When deciding which style of dresser is best for refinishing, consider your personal preferences as well as the practicality of the project. Antique dressers may require more time and effort to refinish, but they can also add unique character and value to a space.

Before beginning any refinishing project, it’s important to assess the condition of your chosen dresser. Look for any major damages such as cracks or missing pieces that could affect its stability or overall appearance. If you’re buying a used dresser, inspect each drawer carefully for signs of wear or damage. Make sure all drawers slide smoothly in their tracks and that there are no issues with the hardware.

Assessing the condition of your dresser before refinishing will help you determine how much work needs to be done and what materials you’ll need. It’s important to remember that not all dressers are created equal and each project will vary depending on the piece itself. With careful consideration and planning, however, anyone can successfully refinish a dresser to make it look new again. So let’s move on to planning your project and gathering materials for this exciting DIY endeavor!

Planning Your Project And Gathering Materials

  1. When planning a project to make a dresser look new again, it is important to consider the time, materials, and skill level required to complete the project.
  2. Preparing the dresser for painting requires cleaning the surface and removing any wax or old finish that may be present.
  3. Once the dresser is prepared, the next step is to create a plan for the project, including the type of paint and finish to be used.
  4. When gathering materials, it is important to purchase quality materials to ensure the best results, such as a high-quality paint and primer.
  5. Additionally, it is beneficial to consider the environment when purchasing materials; selecting low-VOC products will reduce environmental impact.
  6. Finally, it is important to have the necessary tools on hand, such as paint brushes, sandpaper, and painter’s tape.

Creating A Plan

Before starting any project, it is essential to have a plan in place. Setting goals and establishing a timeline for completion can help ensure that the project stays on track and is completed within a reasonable timeframe. When it comes to refinishing furniture, there are several steps that should be included in your plan.

Firstly, decide what type of finish you would like to achieve. Do you want a glossy or matte finish? What color do you want the dresser to be? Once you have answered these questions, you can start gathering materials based on your plan. This will make the process smoother and save time in the long run.

Secondly, consider time management when creating your plan. The amount of time needed to complete the project will depend largely on the size of the dresser and the complexity of its design. It is important to set aside enough time for each step of the process and allow for unexpected setbacks. By doing so, you can ensure that your finished product looks new again and meets all of your expectations.

In conclusion, having a well thought out plan is crucial when refinishing furniture. Setting clear goals and managing your time effectively can help ensure success and create a beautiful finished product. Remember to take your time with each step of the process and enjoy transforming an old piece into something new again!

Preparing The Dresser

When planning your furniture refinishing project, the first step is to establish a clear plan of action. Once you have decided on the desired finish and color, it’s time to prepare the dresser for refinishing. This involves thoroughly cleaning the surface to remove any dirt, grime or debris that may impact adhesion. Use appropriate cleaning solutions to ensure that there is no residue left behind.

After cleaning, it’s time to sand the surface with appropriate sandpaper to remove any existing finish or imperfections. It is essential to use the right type of sandpaper for your project as using an inadequate one may leave scratches on your furniture. Start with coarse grit sandpaper and gradually move towards finer grit as you progress. This process will create a smooth surface for applying your new finish.

Lastly, before moving on to applying primer and paint, make sure that you’ve cleaned up all dust from sanding and wiped the surface clean with a cloth dampened in mineral spirits. Preparing your dresser properly ensures that it will look its best after refinishing. Taking these steps will guarantee an excellent outcome and prevent any issues down the line.

Gather Materials

Transitioning from preparing the dresser for refinishing, it’s now time to gather the necessary materials for your project. Before starting any furniture refinishing project, it is essential to have all the supplies and tools needed on hand. Choosing colors is an important step, but finding suppliers that carry quality products should also be a priority.

When gathering materials for your project, there are several items that you will need. You will need sandpaper of varying grits, wood filler, primer, paint or stain, brushes or rollers, drop cloths or tarps, and safety equipment such as gloves and a mask. It’s crucial to choose high-quality materials that will ensure a successful outcome.

Finding suppliers that offer quality products is crucial in ensuring that you get the best results possible. Look for suppliers who specialize in furniture refinishing and carry a wide range of colors and finishes. It’s also important to read reviews and check their reputation before making any purchases. By taking the time to choose your materials carefully and researching potential suppliers, you can ensure a successful furniture refinishing project.

Preparing Your Workspace

To prepare your workspace for painting a dresser, the first step is to clear out any clutter around the area where you will be working. This will not only give you more space to maneuver but also help avoid any accidents or spills that could damage your furniture or flooring. Once the space is cleared, you can focus on creating an environment that is conducive to painting. Choosing the right lighting, for example, is crucial in ensuring that you can see every detail of the dresser and ensure an even application of paint.

When it comes to lighting, natural light is always best as it provides an accurate representation of color tones. However, if this is not possible, try using a combination of direct and ambient lighting to create a well-lit workspace. Direct lighting can come from overhead lights or task lamps while ambient lighting can be achieved through floor lamps or wall sconces. By choosing lighting that illuminates your workspace effectively, you’ll be able to spot any imperfections and ensure a beautiful finish on your newly painted dresser.

In order to achieve professional-looking results when refinishing furniture, proper preparation is key. Clearing clutter and selecting appropriate lighting are just two aspects of preparing your workspace when painting a dresser. In the subsequent section, we will discuss another important step in this process: cleaning and sanding your dresser before applying primer and paint.

Cleaning And Sanding Your Dresser

Are you ready to give your old dresser a brand new look? Whether it is for your own personal satisfaction or to impress your guests, painting your dresser can be a great way to breathe new life into it. Before you start painting, however, there are some important steps that you need to take in order to achieve the best results.

First things first – cleaning and sanding are essential steps that should not be skipped. Use the best products available in the market to clean your dresser thoroughly. This will help remove any accumulated dirt or grime that may interfere with the paint’s adhesion. Once clean, use a fine-grit sandpaper to sand down the surface of the dresser. This will create a rough surface that will allow the paint to stick better.

Time-saving tips can come in handy during this stage of refinishing furniture. For instance, use an electric sander instead of manually sanding by hand. This will save you time and energy while ensuring that every inch of the surface is evenly sanded. Additionally, if there are any intricate details on your dresser, consider using a sanding sponge or block instead of traditional sandpaper as it can reach into crevices more easily.

Now that your dresser is cleaned and sanded, it’s time to move on to filling in any imperfections before painting. Whether it’s scratches or dents, make sure they are repaired so that they don’t show through after painting. With these important steps out of the way, you are now ready to move on to the fun part – painting!

Filling In Any Imperfections

Before you begin painting your dresser, it’s important to fill in any imperfections with wood filler. This will ensure that the surface is smooth and even, allowing for a flawless paint finish. Wood filler can be found at most hardware stores and comes in a variety of colors to match your wood tone.

To use wood filler, start by cleaning the surface of your dresser and allowing it to dry completely. Next, apply a small amount of wood filler to each imperfection using a putty knife. Be sure to spread the wood filler evenly over the surface and smooth out any bumps or ridges. Allow the wood filler to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Once the wood filler has dried, use sandpaper to sand down any rough edges or excess wood filler until you achieve a smooth finish. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper and work your way up to a finer grit for best results. Sanding is an important step in achieving a professional-looking paint job, so take your time and ensure that every inch of your dresser is sanded down evenly.

Now that all imperfections have been filled in and sanded down smoothly, you’re ready to move on to priming your dresser for painting.

Priming Your Dresser

After filling in any imperfections on your dresser, the next step is to prime it. This is an essential step that prepares the surface for paint and creates a smooth base for your final color. There are different types of primers available, so it’s important to choose the right one for your dresser.

One type of primer is oil-based, which works well on wood surfaces and provides excellent adhesion. However, it takes longer to dry and has a strong odor, so make sure you have good ventilation when using it. Another option is water-based primer, which dries faster and has less odor than oil-based primers. It’s also easier to clean up with soap and water. Whichever primer you choose, make sure it’s compatible with the type of paint you plan to use.

When priming your dresser, there are a few tips for achieving a smooth and even finish. First, make sure the surface is clean and free of dust or debris. Sand down any rough spots or edges before applying the primer. Use a high-quality brush or roller to apply the primer in thin, even coats. Allow each coat to dry completely before adding another layer. Depending on the type of primer you’re using, you may need two or three coats for full coverage.

Choosing your paint colors is the next step in giving your old dresser new life. But before we dive into that topic, remember that proper priming sets the foundation for a successful refinishing process. Be patient during this step and take care to follow these tips for a smooth priming process. With this solid base established, you’ll be ready to move onto selecting colors that will transform your dresser into a stunning piece of furniture once again!

Choosing Your Paint Colors

Ah, the joys of painting! It’s like a fresh start for your furniture – a new lease on life. But before we can jump into the fun part, we need to choose our color scheme. Now, some may think that choosing paint colors is easy, but it’s more complicated than you might expect. The right color combinations can make or break the overall look of your dresser.

Color psychology plays an important role in selecting the right colors for your dresser. Different colors elicit different emotions and can affect our moods. For example, blue is known to be calming and peaceful, while yellow is energetic and cheerful. Depending on what mood you want to create in your room, you’ll want to consider these factors when picking out your paint colors.

Here are three things to keep in mind when choosing your paint colors:

  • Consider the existing decor in your room and choose colors that complement those pieces.
  • Decide on a color scheme before purchasing paint – this will help streamline the process and avoid any indecisiveness.
  • Don’t be afraid to get creative with color combinations – mixing shades can add depth and interest to your piece.

Now that you’ve chosen your paint colors based on psychological factors and design considerations, it’s time to move onto painting the base coat.

Painting The Base Coat

After selecting your paint colors, it’s time to start painting the base coat of your dresser. Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary materials such as a quality brush or roller and a drop cloth to protect your floors. It’s also important to thoroughly clean and sand your dresser before painting to ensure that the paint adheres properly.

When it comes to brush techniques, always start by painting in the direction of the wood grain. Apply thin coats of paint and allow each coat to dry completely before applying another layer. This will prevent drips and ensure a smooth finish. If you’re using a roller, use even pressure and roll in a “W” pattern for complete coverage.

Color selection is key when painting a dresser. You want to choose colors that complement the overall aesthetic of your space while also reflecting your personal style. Neutral tones like white, gray, or beige are timeless options, while bolder hues like navy blue or emerald green can add a pop of color to any room. Whatever color you choose, be sure to add a second coat of paint for full coverage and durability.

Adding A Second Coat Of Paint

Once the first coat of paint has dried completely, it is time to apply a second coat to achieve an even finish. Before starting with the second coat, ensure that the first one has fully cured for at least 24 hours. This will prevent any streaks or bubbles from forming on the surface.

To begin with, lightly sand the entire surface of the dresser using fine-grit sandpaper. This will help in removing any bumps or roughness left from the previous coat and will also provide better adhesion for the second coat. After sanding, wipe down the dresser with a damp cloth to remove all dust particles before beginning with the second coat.

When applying the second coat of paint, use long and even strokes in the same direction as before. Avoid overworking any particular area as it may lead to drips or bubbles. Tips for avoiding streaks, bubbles, and drips include avoiding high humidity areas and thinning out thick paint if necessary. Techniques for achieving a smooth and even finish include using a foam roller brush or spray painting for larger surfaces.

  • Use a high-quality paintbrush or roller
  • Apply thin coats rather than thick ones
  • Work in small sections
  • Keep your workspace clean and free of debris
  • Allow ample drying time between coats

After applying the second coat, allow it to dry completely as per manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding with any additional steps. With these techniques and tips, you can achieve a smooth and even finish on your dresser without any unsightly streaks, bubbles or drips.

Transition into subsequent section: If you are looking for something more unique than just a fresh new look, consider creating a distressed or vintage look on your dresser.

Creating A Distressed Or Vintage Look

After adding a second coat of paint to your dresser, you may be wondering what style to choose for the final finish. Distressed or vintage are two popular options that can give your dresser a unique and trendy look. But which one should you choose?

A distressed look involves intentionally making the furniture appear aged and worn. This can be achieved by sanding down certain areas of the dresser or using a technique called dry brushing, which involves lightly painting over the surface with a dry brush. To really enhance the distressed look, you can even add small nicks and dings to the wood with sandpaper or a hammer.

On the other hand, a vintage look involves creating an antique feel for your piece of furniture. This can be done by layering different shades of paint and then sanding through them to reveal glimpses of each layer. To really capture the vintage vibe, consider adding decorative touches like stenciling or intricate designs.

Choosing between these two styles ultimately comes down to personal preference and the overall aesthetic you want for your space. Whichever style you choose, make sure to use quality materials and take your time with each step to achieve the best results possible. Next, we’ll explore some techniques for adding those finishing decorative touches to really make your newly painted dresser stand out in any room.

Adding Decorative Touches

With the base coat firmly applied, it is time to add some decorative touches that will make your dresser stand out. One way to achieve this is by using stenciling techniques. Stencils come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used to create intricate designs or simple geometric patterns. To use a stencil, simply place it on the surface of your dresser and apply paint with a foam roller or brush. Once you have finished painting, carefully remove the stencil to reveal your design.

Another technique that can add some personality to your dresser is decoupage. This involves gluing paper or fabric onto the surface of your furniture to create unique designs. You can use a variety of materials such as wrapping paper, tissue paper, or even old book pages to create an interesting collage effect. To start, cut your chosen material into small pieces and arrange them on the dresser in a pattern that you like. Then, using decoupage glue, affix the pieces onto the surface of the dresser and allow it to dry completely.

By using these decorative techniques, you can give new life to an old piece of furniture and make it truly one-of-a-kind. Whether you choose stenciling or decoupage (or both!), remember to have fun with it and let your creativity shine through. In the next section, we will discuss how to seal your newly decorated dresser for protection against wear and tear over time.

Sealing Your Dresser For Protection

When it comes to sealing your newly painted dresser, you have two options: wax or polyurethane. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs. Wax is a popular choice due to its ease of application and natural-looking finish. It also adds an extra layer of protection to your dresser. However, it requires frequent reapplication and can be less durable than polyurethane.

Polyurethane, on the other hand, provides a harder and more durable finish that will last longer than wax. It’s also easier to clean and maintain since it’s resistant to water and scratches. However, applying polyurethane can be trickier than wax since it dries quickly and can leave brush marks if not applied correctly. Ultimately, the choice between wax or polyurethane depends on your personal preference and how you plan on using your dresser.

If you want to add some character to your newly sealed dresser, consider distressing it using various techniques such as sandpaper or a wet cloth. This will give your piece a vintage or shabby chic look that is popular in today’s furniture trends. You can also use different colors of paint for a layered effect or use stencils for added design elements. Just remember that distressing should be done after sealing so that the protective layer won’t be removed during the process.

Now that your dresser has been painted and sealed with either wax or polyurethane, it’s time to start reassembling all of its components back together again. This may involve attaching hardware such as knobs or handles, reinstalling drawers, or adjusting shelves if necessary. Take care during this step not to scratch or damage any of the freshly painted surfaces by using soft cloths or gloves when handling pieces. Once everything is properly reassembled, you’ll have a beautifully restored piece of furniture that looks new again!

Reassembling Your Dresser

  1. Before re-attaching the hardware on the dresser, it is important to ensure that the hardware is properly cleaned and all rust is removed.
  2. To re-attach the drawers of the dresser, it is essential to check the tracks for any debris or foreign objects.
  3. The hardware should be firmly secured to the dresser using a screwdriver or drill to ensure that it is properly affixed.
  4. The drawers should be placed back on the tracks of the dresser, and the guide brackets should be securely screwed and tightened to the frame of the dresser.

Re-Attaching Hardware

Replacing hardware is a crucial step in reassembling your dresser. It can be tempting to simply reuse the old hardware, but this can lead to further damage and a less polished look. Instead, take the time to carefully remove the existing hardware and replace it with new pieces that match the style of your dresser. This not only ensures that your dresser looks its best, but it also helps to maintain the integrity of the piece.

When replacing hardware, it’s important to pay attention to the size and shape of each piece. You want to ensure that the new hardware fits properly and doesn’t leave any gaps or loose screws. Additionally, consider using a protective coating on each piece to prevent wear and tear over time. By maintaining your hardware, you’ll be able to keep your dresser looking like new for years to come.

Finally, don’t forget about maintaining your hardware over time. This means periodically checking for loose screws or other signs of wear and taking steps to repair or replace them as needed. With proper care and attention, your dresser will continue to look beautiful and function well for many years ahead!

Re-Attaching Drawers

Once you have replaced the hardware on your dresser, it’s time to move on to re-attaching the drawers. This can be a tricky process, as proper drawer alignment is essential for smooth operation. Before beginning, make sure that all of the hardware on each drawer is in good condition and properly installed. If any pieces are loose or damaged, replace them before proceeding.

To re-attach the drawers, start by lining up the slides on each side of the dresser with those on each side of the drawer. Then, carefully slide the drawer into place, making sure that it sits evenly and flush with the front of the dresser. If necessary, adjust the slides or use shims to ensure that everything lines up perfectly.

In addition to proper drawer alignment, it’s important to consider whether any additional hardware replacement is needed during this process. For example, if you notice that one or more drawers are not sliding smoothly or are sticking in place, it may be time to replace their hardware as well. By taking these small steps along the way, you’ll be able to ensure that your dresser functions beautifully for years to come!

Styling Your Newly Refinished Dresser

Now that your dresser has been refinished, it’s time to style it to fit your personal taste and home decor. Accessorizing the top of the dresser is a great way to add a decorative touch and show off your personal style. Consider adding a vase of fresh flowers or greenery, a decorative tray or bowl, or a few framed photos. Keep in mind that less is often more when it comes to accessorizing furniture.

When selecting accessories for your newly refinished dresser, be sure to consider your color palette. If you chose a bold color for the dresser itself, consider adding neutral accessories to balance out the look. On the other hand, if you went with a more neutral finish on the dresser, you can add pops of color with your accessories. Don’t be afraid to mix and match textures and materials for added interest.

Color palette ideas for accessorizing your dresser could include shades of blue and green for a calming effect, warm oranges and yellows for an energizing feel, or muted pastels for a soft and romantic vibe. Ultimately, choose colors that make you feel happy and at home in your space. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create a beautifully styled dresser that brings joy every time you enter the room.

Moving forward into troubleshooting common issues with refinishing furniture…

Troubleshooting Common Issues

As you begin to paint your dresser, you may encounter some common issues that can occur during the process. These issues can range from minor to major, and can sometimes require additional work to correct. However, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can avoid these mistakes and create a flawless finish.

  1. Common Mistakes: One of the most common mistakes people make when painting furniture is not properly preparing the surface before applying paint. This can lead to uneven coverage and peeling or chipping of the paint over time. Another mistake is applying too much paint at once, which can result in drips and an uneven finish. Finally, not allowing enough drying time between coats can cause the paint to crack or peel.

  2. Tips for Avoiding Paint Drips: To avoid paint drips, it’s important to use thin coats of paint instead of one thick coat. Start by lightly sanding the surface of the dresser to remove any rough spots or old paint residue. Then apply a thin layer of primer before painting to ensure even coverage and adhesion. When applying paint, use slow, steady strokes in one direction without going back over areas that have already been painted.

  3. Additional Troubleshooting Tips: If you do encounter issues such as bubbling or cracking in the paint, it may be necessary to sand down the affected area and start over with a fresh coat of primer and paint. It’s also important to choose high-quality paints and primers specifically designed for furniture refinishing for best results.

By following these tips and taking your time during each step of the painting process, you can achieve a beautiful new look for your old dresser without encountering common issues along the way. Remember that patience is key when it comes to furniture refinishing – take your time and enjoy the process!


Refinishing a dresser can breathe new life into an old piece of furniture. Before beginning the project, it is important to carefully choose the right dresser for refinishing. Once you have found the perfect piece, planning your project and gathering materials are essential steps in ensuring a successful outcome.

Preparing your workspace is crucial to achieving a professional-looking finish. Cleaning and sanding your dresser thoroughly, filling in any imperfections, and sealing it for protection will ensure that your finished product looks brand new. Finally, reassembling the dresser and styling it to match your decor will complete the transformation.

As a furniture refinishing expert, I recommend taking your time with each step of this process and paying close attention to detail. Troubleshooting common issues such as streaks or uneven coverage will ensure that your finished product looks polished and professional. Refinishing a dresser is not only an eco-friendly way to update your home decor, but it can also be a fun and rewarding DIY project that anyone can tackle with the right tools and techniques.

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Author: Itamar ben dor

My name is Itamar Ben Dor, and I am passionate about environmental sustainability and the power of plants to improve our lives. As the founder of Green Life, I have assembled a team of experts in the fields of horticulture, design, and sustainability to help us bring you the most up-to-date and accurate information.

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