DIY Home Money Saving Tips

10 Clever Ways to Restore an Old Dresser

10 Ways to Revive an Old Dresser
Written by Oana Schneider

OK, so you decided to buy an old dresser and get creative at home, but so far no idea pops into your head? Say no more, we’re here to help! First of all, there are a few things you need to test before starting your little decorating project:

  • Make sure the dresser is stable and well set in place. Otherwise, it will be extremely difficult to repair it after you finished putting on all the embellishments.
  • Before you start, move it where you want to place it from now on: your kitchen, bedroom, living room. It’s best to move it now when it doesn’t have anything glued to it or else you’ll probably going to have to retouch it here and there.
  • Place a few old newspapers underneath it in order to protect your floors.

1. Polish

Polish

You need to know that, if you’ve decided to redo your dresser, you have to do some polishing, no matter what you decide to do with it after that. This way, you’ll scrape off the residual paint, ground, and dirt and so on, leveling the surface and preparing it for the real transformation. However, if you like what it looks like after polishing it, feel free to stop there.

It will give your home a feeling of rustic and homemade. There are two ways in which you can polish your dresser: by using the sand paper machine or just the sand paper. The first one will cost you if you rent it, but it will be much faster. Plus, when polishing a dresser manually or any other piece of wood, irregularities are inevitable.

2. Lace

Lace

Who doesn’t like lace? If the dresser is for a girl, even better! Buy a few yards of lace from a Home Depot or online, from fabric.com and glue it on the side of your dresser, like you’d frame a painting. The fastest way is to use a hot glue gun, but make sure to cover your tracks. Aster drying, the hot glue turns white and that might stand out more than you’d wish.

The worst idea, however, if to use nails. For anything, not just lace: they will pierce your beautiful piece of furniture and the damage will be for good.

3. Paint

Paint

After polishing the dresser, you can add a vibrant color or a neutral tone, whatever suits your room best. Our advice is to avoid spray paint and go for water colors. You can actually use your dresser as a canvas: paint flowers, cars, abstract objects and anything you want on it. It will be unique and it will also have your touch.

You can actually ask your kids to draw something or leave their palm prints on your beloved piece of art.

4. Tiles

Tiles

Have some tiles sitting around the house? It’s time you put them to use! Since they are quite heavy, place most of them on the sides and not on the doors. For them, you can only put a few rows of tiles or create nice patterns. If you cover them with tiles, they will become too heavy and eventually damage the doors.

5. Stencils

10 Ways to Revive an Old Dresser

If you really want to try spray paint, we suggest you do it this way: after polishing the dresser, cut out some stencils using a large sheet of thick plastic, a pair of scissors and a lot of imagination.

If you can’t put together a pattern for your stencils, look online and you’ll find plenty. When you’re done, use the spray paint to decorate your dresser. You can also paint your dresser before doing the stencil patterns with a different color, for a bigger contrast.

6. Fabric

Fabric

There are many people who choose to use fabric for many reasons: it’s very easy to use, it makes everything look cozy and it doesn’t need big alterations. You can go online and order a few yards of your favorite fabric and glue it to your dresser. We recommend that you only use cotton fiber, jersey and anything that’s not too see-through. Otherwise, your glue will show through and you don’t want that.

7. Wallpaper

Wallpaper

Who said wallpaper has to be boring and smell like mold? There are so many cute patterns online, you’ll definitely want to buy at least ten rolls! But before you dive into this wallpaper sea, here’s what you should know: you have to ask the manufacturer if your favorite wallpaper will glue to wood.

Otherwise, you bought it for nothing. Plus, look online for tips on how to apply the wallpaper without forming air bubbles, because that’s what happens when you’re not a professional. Other than that, you can choose from a variety of shiny, chevron, plaid patterns that will brighten your home and your day!

8. Plastic lids

Plastic lids

Yes, you’d need to have a lot of them or create cute patterns using it. In Romania, somebody decorated their entire home with plastic lids and it didn’t turn out bad.

Start collecting the lids from your soda bottles and glue them onto your dresser walls to form flowers, fruits, trees or Disney characters if it’s for a little girl. You don’t need that many if you’re only drawing the contour. Plus, you’ll have an unique piece of furniture in your home!

9. Broken mirrors

Broken mirrors

If you’re quite a clumsy person, it’s best to not try this at home. After all, mirror edges are sharp and we don’t want any incidents. But if you wear a pair of gloves and only handle the mirror pieces on sheet of plastic, why not give it a try? You don’t even have to buy the mirror: you can gather some of it from your house, relatives, friends or even a hardwood store.

They always have broken pieces. Once you have enough, break them into small pieces and glue them onto your dresser doors like you’d create a large puzzle. If you’re afraid the edges might be sharp, glue some fabric to avoid cuts and wounds.

10. Glitter? Why not?

Glitter

If you’re making this for your little daughter or for yourself, as a guilty pleasure, you’ll have a lot of fun, but you’ll probably get glitter all over the place. Step 1: cover every side of your dresser in glue and apply glitter. Press it with your hand (wear gloves, OK?) until is set in place and then move on to another side.

Of course, you’ll need a huge amount of glitter, but if you already have it, why not? Whoever has huge supplies of glitter is going to be so happy right now! When you are all done, apply some wood polish with a brush. This way, you’ll keep the glitter from spreading all over the place.Now that you read our ideas, see which one fits you best and start working!

A new dresser can cost you thousands of dollars, but an old one will only cost a few bucks for the accessories and your entire attention for a couple of hours.

Showing it off to your friends and family, however, will be priceless! If you know other ways to revive and old dresser, share them with us and let’s learn from each other!

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10 Ways to Revive an Old Dresser

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

10 Comments

  • Wow, I just love some of the designs that have been painted onto these dressers. I need to update one of my bedrooms at the moment, and I have been look at new furniture, however now I have made the decision after looking at this that I will simply try to update what I have instead, which seems to be a much better idea to be honest. I don’t think that I have the talent to be able to do this myself though, so I will most likely hire somebody for the job. I have a couple of friends who have been to art school, so perhaps they will appreciate me putting a little bit of work their way.

  • Its funny how these ideas are simple but I never think of them. We had to remove paint from an old dresser we had because it was an antique and someone decided to paint it white. My dad did that, and used varnish, it looks wonderful it its wood coloring instead of white.

    • Precisely! Most of these ideas would never have crossed my mind. I felt the same with the other article on this site about reusing bottles. There is rarely anything like these items in an actual store. These are much more creative and decorative looking.

  • A little varnish will make a disgusting dresser look new once again. It works almost 100% of the time, and it’s the most simple thing you can do to revitalize a dresser or other wooden furniture item. So you could spend less than five bucks to get the job done, which saves you from spending a couple hundred dollars on a brand new dresser.

  • I absolutely love the tiles dressers. It a great way to reuse old tiles you have lying around and get furniture with a unique look. The other dressers look great as well and show excellent use of recycling materials common in your house. You can also dyed egg shells different colors and put them on the sides of a dressers with glue. It look great and a excellent way of not wasting food.

  • I do a lot of work with furniture because I’m into restoring old houses myself. It’s kind of a hobby for me. Every time I do a restoration there are always leftover furniture lying around that are prime candidates for restoring. These old dressers are a favorite of mine to work on. I usually sand these babies thoroughly to get rid of all the chips, scratches, and overall wear and tear. After that I decide on how many coatings of varnish I apply and what shade would be the most appropriate. I do mostly go for a darker finish.

    • I’ve always been jealous of people who enjoy restoring furniture. I’ll probably sand some of the chips and scratches as well, and fix mine up a bit. I’m a bit inexperienced but I’m excited to get to work.

  • Wow – Where to start?! I’ll start with that fabulous silver glitter dresser. I feel like I absolutely need a glitter dresser in my life now! Although, I will probably end up with lime green or hot pink 🙂 All of these ideas, though, are so original. I wish I would have come across this blog post before attempting to paint my baby’s dresser – which, of course, I did with spray paint 🙁 I followed a tutorial but unfortunately after all my hard work, the spray paint just wiped off like dust when I was done. I even sanded and used high quality spray paint made for the type of material I was painting. I think when I redo his dresser, I’m going to go the hand painting route.

  • Even though I am definitely not into home improvement, my old dressers need some mandatory reviving to be done to them. This article really made me realize that I needed to improve my dressers that were standing out in my room.

  • These are really cool and impressive. I think I would try such ways if I could, it seems really intelligent and it is such an improvement to your house. I can use some improvement but the problem is time, you don’t always have the time to arrange such things 🙁 .

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