Painted Dresser Diaries

August 19, 2012

The story goes like this: I pull into GC’s driveway before a usual game of tennis and spot a ton of old furniture stacked on his curb, ready for the garbage man.  I take a closer look and see an old, rickety, wooden dresser, a hand-me-down, from GC’s undergrad days, among the “trash.” I had been scouring craigslist for a while in search of an old piece to re-finish, so I immediately wanted to take it home.  I can’t say GC was too too surprised by my request, so I loaded it in my car and I immediately began brainstorming possibilities.

The Beginning:

This is what I started with.  I was so anxious to get started on the sanding that I did not even bother taking a picture of it as a whole (an action I am now regretting), but the stain and knobs are distinguishable from this photo.


I am fortunate enough to have a father who is a mechanical contractor, and after a quick lesson, he let me borrow his electric sander to speed the process.  I seriously do not know what I would have done without that thing.


After I prepped the piece for painting, I spent an incredibly long time sketching.  I went back and fourth on colors, stains, patterns, etc.  Here is an original sketch that didn’t make the cut, I thought it would be too busy, and I really couldn’t decide on colors.  I did stick with a few things from this original drawing, though, a dark stained top and bottom and an antique white background.


I knew I wanted a dark stain and that was probably the easiest decision of them all.  Paint color, not so much.  My design morphed into a solid antique white piece with a dark top and intricate knobs.  I went on the hunt for the perfect shade of white.  I settled on “Delicate Lace” and started the process.

Just Call Me the Knob Snob:

While I was searching for a color and painting, I was also scouring the Internet for the perfect knobs.  I originally wanted something colorful and different to really stand out on the piece.  Not long into my search I discovered that “different” would cost me, so I turned to instead of anthropologie to find them.  After looking at thousands of knobs (and that is no exaggeration), GC started calling me the “knob snob” (a well-deserved nickname).  Even after I finished painting I still had not decided on the knobs.


When the painting was finished, I was honestly disappointed.  I wanted it to look distressed, antique even, but it just seemed boring to me.  I decided that even knobs wouldn’t make it interesting enough so I went back to the drawing board.

I sat there and stared at the piece for a good two hours, seriously considered splattering it with ten different colors, and then regained my sanity and decided on herringbone.  Yes, I am a chevron-lover, but let’s be honest, so is every other young female on the planet right now.  I chose herringbone because I see it as a chic twist on chevron.

Paint Part Two:

After deciding on a pattern I had to pick a color.  I decided that a neutral would look great and provide versatility in the future.  I am not the only indecisive one in my family (surprise, surprise). My mom tested around six different colors on our kitchen walls before finally settling on a shade.  Luckily for me, she still had all of the reject colors, perfectly preserved in our basement.  I chose one (after much debate), and started the measuring and taping process. “Frog Tape” became my hero and gave me great clean lines

Finishing Touches:

As I finished the pattern, I decided that clear knobs were the way to go and found a decent price through  I knew the exact shape that I wanted (melon) so it was a relatively quick process.

All in all I couldn’t be happier with the end result, and I plan on taking on even more furniture projects soon! Maybe I will even try to sell the next one….. More to come.


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