When I moved to California after college, I didn’t have much furniture. I scoped the local garage sale scene for a set of matching dressers and bought the first decent ones I found. 4 years later: they are still holding my clothes. When we moved into our new rental house, I wanted my bedroom to look nicer – more “grown-up” and maybe even have a cohesive design theme for the whole room. But a new bedroom furniture set would cost us a pretty penny, so I decided to try my hand at refreshing and “upcycling” what we already have.
I like the way stained wood furniture looks. We have a really nice looking maple guest bedroom set (a super lucky buy found by Shaun’s parents on Craigslist) plus a great oak kitchen table and hutch (also inherited from Shaun’s parents). Shaun and I actually sanded & stained the table back in 2010 but didn’t include the two leaf additions or chairs (which means this is still on our to-re-do list!). Even though we have all these great wood pieces in the house, I really really didn’t like the way these dressers looked. I wanted them to look very different from our wood furniture, mostly because these dressers aren’t fully wood (particle board backing). So I started researching paint for wood furniture.
I browsed blogs for a long time before I had decided on a method to use. Eventually after looking at tons of pictures, I basically followed the Frugal Girl’s tutorial because I liked the idea of keeping the wood grain look. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details, but I borrowed our friend Randy’s orbital sander and used 2 different sized sandpapers (100 and 150 grit because it was available). I used the equivalent products to “Painter’s Touch” Gray Spray Primer and “Rust-Oleum” Semi Gloss Black paint in cans. I did many, many, many coats of paint. I would say for one person to finish two full sized dressers it took me about 10 working hours – but factor in drying time between coats and this is a pretty serious weekend project.
Here are the pictures: Dressers Before (notice damage on top and dull drawer pulls)
After removing the pulls, I soaked them in water with lemon juice. I had initially wanted to buy all new pulls – but with nearly 20 of them it was going to be an expensive upgrade. I was hoping for a vintage gold or copper colored pull that would give the black dressers a nice contrast of color. Luckily my original pulls cleaned up rather nicely and are pictured below on our new-and-improved dressers in our room.
This project was a little stressful because I was a total newbie and went at it alone, but I was very happy with the results and proud of myself for getting it done (with the help of Shaun for some finishing touches). I would recommend a smaller project for the first time renovator. My only problem is that I may need to look into putting some sort of clear-coat finishing on the tops because I don’t want any damage in the future.
I’m on the look out for a bed frame and side tables to add to the full bedroom set – but until then, I may have a few other crafty home improvement projects up my sleeve!