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How to Paint an Old Dresser: Step by Step Guide

Updated on March 19, 2012

Old Dresser in Need of a Makeover

Most people would see this old dresser and get rid of it when trying to update their d├ęcor. I have a much cheaper solution...PAINT!


Transforming an Ugly Dresser into a Beautiful White Dresser

Look at what just a little paint, sandpaper, ribbons and buttons can do! You wouldn't even recognize this piece of furniture.

After! A Shabby Chic Dresser with Ribbon Pulls


Step by Step Guide to Painting Furniture

I started out by sanding and priming (I used Kilz primer). This part is the most important. The sanding just needs to be enough so that the paint has something to stick to, but I did 2 coats of primer to make sure I had ever inch covered.

Then I added a little bit of paint conditioner to my paint and started painting away. The paint conditioner really helps to eliminate the appearance of brush strokes. I used a small foam roller over the large parts and a regular brush to get in the corners. I ended up doing 3 coats of paint since I was going from such a dark color to an off white.

After the paint dried I used my sandpaper to distress the edges a bit.

I didn't want to spend the money on all new hardware, so I just used ribbons for the pulls. It is so simple...just tie each side of the ribbon on the inside of the drawer and they hold perfectly, no matter how hard you pull. The key to this step is using wide ribbon.

I had 2 little holes from the previous hardware on the top two drawers. Instead of filling and painting over them, I picked up a coulple brown buttons and just hot glued them on.

When everything was complete I just sprayed the top of the dresser with some polyurethane so that it would protect it.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Exclusively at Target 42 Bluray Combo Pack with exclusive ededbebaddea

    • Brooke profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oregon

      I'm sorry that I am just now responding :( I did tie a simple knot in the middle (leave it loose until you get the other sides tied) and then I tied a knot inside of each drawer where the ribbon came through. I didn't use exact measurements, just played with it a bit to get the right look. Without the knot in the middle they did look pretty silly though. These have been used a lot for over a year and they have still held up great!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Brooke, if you are still reading this, any chance you can tell me what you did with the ribbon? Did you tie a knot in the middle? I tied ribbon on the outside of my daughters built in dressers because she kept climbing the old pulls and they were ugly (there are 20 pulls on these built ins at 3" spacing). It basically looks like two huge shelves of ridiculous a big present. I think your idea is better. What was the length of the ribbon and the width? Thank you so much. I thought I revolutionized ribbon as pulls and realize there is always someone better.

    • Brooke profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Oregon

      Thanks RTalloni! I would definitely have no objection to you linking up my dresser :-) Completely flattered!

    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Such a neat job you've done with this dresser. It's beautiful. I've not seen the idea of using ribbon for pulls and the buttons are a very cute touch. This is a piece to be proud of, without a doubt.

      I would like to link it to my painted dresser hub, if you have no objection. Thanks!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love the ribbon drawer pulls! Endless styles with that idea. =) Thanks for the inspiration!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Looks great!--and what a savings.


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