How to Paint a Dresser: Subtle but Significant

So, this dresser isn’t really all that bad.  It’s girly.  Cream.  Appropriate.  Leave it alone?  Uh, no.  There are some knicks and scratches that needed some tlc.  And, it was overly distressed to the point it looked dingy with a yellowish tint.  With that in mind, a subtle change can make a significant difference.  Paint a dresser with a slightly different hue, and be amazed at the difference.

Cost of Project: Between $0-$37

$0 if you paint frequently and already have the materials on hand, $37 if you have to purchase everything (except the dresser).  Realistically even if you have some items on hand, there are some that will need to be replaced.  With that in mind one can of primer, about $8 worth of paint, and a foam roller would be used up in this project costing $16.



Time to Complete:

If you really wanted, this could be done in a day depending on the humidity and temperature (more info on weather’s impact on painting here).  If you are painting either over a dark or with a dark color, you will definately want more coats.  In which case, you will want two days to complete the project allowing for ample dry time between each coat.

Materials Needed:

*All products purchased from Home Depot.  No, this post is not affiliated with them in any way.  I just really trust a couple of employees in their paint department… and, it’s literally just down the street.  😉

How To:

  1. Lightly sand entire piece.  When sanding, make sure you are sanding with the grain of the wood to aid in creating a smooth finish.
  2.  Wipe furniture down with slightly damp rag to rid piece of any remaining dust.
  3. Lightly spray dresser with primer.  Holding can about 10 inches away from surface, and use continuous movements to create an even coat.  Allow to dry according to primer product specifications.
  4. While primer is drying, thin paint with water.  I am so used to thinning my paint that when I opened this can, I was shocked by how thick paint traditionally is!  Like a thick gravy paste.  Yuck.  Thin your paint down to a consistency near that of whole milk.  Mix thoroughly.
    • Why?  I do this to prevent brush marks from appearing.
  5. Visually create small sections on the dresser.  Work on one section at a time, apply paint with brush.  Stipple into crevices, hard to reach corners, and decorative embellishments.  After paint has been applied, gently roll over area with foam roller.
    • Why? When you gently roll over area with foam roller, it further aids in the prevention of brush marks.  It also greatly reduces the occurence of drips and runs as it absorbs any excess paint.
      • Before using foam roller over painted area, you want it to be lightly damp with the paint.  Apply a small amount of paint to the roller, then roll a few times to rid it of excess paint.  Wetting the roller will keep it from removing the paint you just applied.
  6. Once the small section has been painted and rolled, move to the next area.
    • It is important to work quickly enough that when you have moved to the next section, the edge of the previous section is still wet. This will yield a consistent appearance in the finished product.
  7. Repeat steps 5. and 6. until all exposed surface areas have been coated.
  8. Allow paint to dry according to manufacturer directions.
  9. Continue to apply thin layers of paint until achieving desired look.  This dresser only needed one quick coat, and what a difference it made!  It appeared so much brighter and cleaner – little paint, big difference.
  10. Seal furniture with top coat to protect.
  11. Update with new knobs if desired.

Here you can see the coordinating crib and rocking chair updates.




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