Craigslist Hack: How-to Update a Vintage Dresser

You know at Room for Tuesday we love a good furniture flip. I spotted this tallboy dresser two years ago on Craigslist and quickly scooped it up. I had nowhere to put it, and sadly it lived in the basement of our home in Ohio for a couple years. After persistent convincing from Emmett to sell the “damn thing” prior to moving, I ended up getting my way. You can probably guess the rest of the story. It made the journey in our Uhaul from Ohio to Utah and I finally decided to breathe new life into the thing! After all- I had to make my case that moving a heavy dresser across the country was well worth it. Click through to see the process, get the DIY on restoring vintage furniture, and to see what color I picked for this beauty!

Sage green!! You should’ve guessed. I’m definitely on a soft green kick lately.

What you’ll need for this project:
– 1 quart of quality paint (I used Benjamin Moore, Aura, High Gloss, in Army Green)
– 1 sanding block
– 4″ foam roller
– Stir stick
– Paint opener
– 1″ finishing brush
– Paper towels
– 1 can of Nevr Dull
– Phillips or flathead screwdriver (depending on your hardware)

This was the piece before I got started. Things I liked about it? The clean lines, geometric shape, heavy well-built construction, and the unique hardware. I honestly didn’t even hate the natural wood color, but it was scuffed in a few places.

Step 1 // Sanding. Use a medium grit sanding block to roughen the surface and create an abrasive surface for the paint to cling to. Oddly enough, this dresser had a piece of veneer on the top. In addition to solid wood, you can also lightly sand veneer and it will work just as well. You don’t have to be super precise with this step… just a quick once over will do!

Step 2 // Cleaning. Once your piece has been sanded, begin wiping the dust from the surface, prepping for paint. I used a damp paper towel.

Step 3 // Paint. This type of Benjamin Moore paint doesn’t even require primer! I’m all about saving time and money, so I’m calling that a win. I’ve used this product time and time again, and it holds up really well. The higher the shine, the harder or more “rubberized” it solidifies. That’s a good thing when it comes to cleaning and durability. Luckily, for this dresser I wanted a lacquer look, so high gloss was the perfect option for functionality and aesthetic purposes.

I started rolling the large flat surfaces first (the top and sides). The trick to this paint is using a little and applying it quickly. You can always layer up, but it dries quickly and gets gummy during the process if you take too long.

Step 4 // Remove the hardware. This can also be done in the beginning (it’s probably best, actually), but I’m always eager to jump right into painting. My hardware required a flathead screw driver. I like the ones with a short handle because it’s easier to maneuver in the drawer interior.

Once the hardware was removed, I began rolling the flat drawer faces. Again, you don’t have to be too precise- just quick and even. Once the rolling has been completed, use the finishing brush to get into difficult or angled spots.

Once the piece is fully painted, apply 2-3 more coats until the coverage is smooth and even. This piece took 3 coats.

Step 5 // Polish the hardware. This is one step to remember! Unless you’re going for the tarnished or aged brass look, definitely remember to revive the hardware. I like a product called Nevr Dull. I know, I know… very stupid name, but it’s a really great product. It’s sort of gross to touch, as it feels like greasy cotton. It’s technically a “wadding polish” but it shines up metals wonderfully. Here’s a look at the before image…

Step 6 // Reassembly. Once the furniture is completely dry, reattach the polished hardware. That’s all there is to it! A little sweat equity goes a long way. Just to be safe, I’d wait at least 7 days before placing objects on top of the piece, or coming in contact with the painted surface.

I decided to leave the wood base natural because I liked the contrast and floating look. What do you guys think? It’s definitely a big difference from where this dresser started. Are you into the color as much as I am?

For more furniture makeovers… check out these:

Have you ever restored a piece of furniture? I’m on the hunt for a new dining table and chairs. I definitely wouldn’t be sad if I scored a vintage set that needed a little elbow grease!

For more updates: 5 Steps To An Organized Kitchen | 5 (Affordable) Ways To Make Your Home Look Expensive

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
22 + 28 =


About The Author

Profile Photo
Sarah Gibson
Sarah Gibson is a full-time designer located in the Midwest. With an emphasis on both graphic and interior design, her projects are varied. Sarah's areas of expertise range from rebranding, website & blog design, print and social media marketing, to creative direction, such as styling and photoshoots. As an interior designer, Sarah also specializes in full-service interior design, custom projects, styling, and renovations. Aside from her day job, she spends evenings and weekends creating content for her lifestyle blog, Room for Tuesday, which features content in design, interiors, travel, fashion, and creative inspiration. She enjoys balancing both trendy and eclectic pieces with classic elements, for a curated aesthetic.