Painted Dresser Ideas


Revamp an old dresser that's outdated, ugly or just doesn't suit the room's style anymore by giving it a fresh new look with paint. Instead of just painting the entire thing one solid color, jazz it up a bit with funky effects such as chevrons or stripes, a chippy shabby chic finish or even an ombre fade.

Preparation Basics

  • While it's tempting to dive right into painting the top coat, taking a little time to prepare the dresser in advance helps ensure the paint sticks. Remove anything in the dresser; then remove the drawer pulls or cover them with painter's tape, unless you plan to paint those as well. Sand the entire exterior of the dresser with a fine-grit sandpaper -- just enough to scuff it up a bit -- and then wipe it down with a tack cloth or soft rag. You should complete the sanding prep whether the dresser is wood, a plastic laminate or any other material. Prime the entire dresser with a stain-blocking latex primer, including the drawer fronts, but leave the drawers pulled out of the dresser as the primer dries. If you plan to use the existing paint color as part of a shabby chic layered-paint finish, skip the primer.

Chic Designs

  • Paint the entire dresser with the lightest of the shades being used for your custom stripes or chevrons; for example, paint it yellow if you want to pair yellow with green or indigo. Once the paint dries, tape out a design using painter's tape and a straightedge to ensure straight lines and angles, or use a large stencil to create the designs. Paint the remaining color between the tape strips, and then peel the tape away once the paint is dry to the touch. For a more subtle look that's still big on style, paint just the dresser's top or drawer fronts with the design, leaving the remaining parts of the dresser in the base-coat color.

Layered Looks of Age

  • Make your dresser look as though it's been through many generations of use by giving it layers of distressed paint finishes in different colors. Paint the dresser a base shade with latex paint, and then rub candle wax over the dry paint. Brush on a second color of paint, and sand through the paint in areas that would normally wear out, such as the edges of the dresser top and around the handles or pulls on the drawers. Repeat the wax-and-paint layering as many times as you'd like for a shabby chic or faux antique look.

Color Fade

  • Create an ombre or fade effect over the entire dresser -- or just the drawer fronts -- using one shade of latex paint and some white latex paint to create the color variations. Paint the color -- without mixing in any white -- over whichever area you'd like to be the darkest, such as the top of the dresser down to the highest row of drawers. Pour some of the dark paint into several paint trays, and then mix successively more white into each tray to create the gradated shades. Brush the next lightest shade onto the dresser to create the next band of color, successively downward through each lighter shade. To make the colors appear as though they blend together, paint each lighter shade on while the previous paint color is still wet; otherwise, tape off a line to create a straight gradation between one shade and the next, allowing each paint color to dry before painting the next.

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