Furniture makeovers are one of the best weekend projects! They’re cheap, they’re fast, they’re easy, and they’re fun! I refinished this $10 (Yes!! $10) dresser in 2 days. This was my first chalk paint project, which was fun and turned out well. Below, I’ll walk you through the steps and supplies that I used for this project. There are multiple ways to refinish furniture and no ‘right’ way. You have to do what works best for the piece, the room it’s going in, and most importantly, your style.
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I found this fantastic dresser at an overstock/re-used construction store for $10! If you are looking for a piece of furniture to make-over, don’t look at antique stores, where they think they have something special and will price it as such. Instead, look at second hand stores and yard sales for pieces that people don’t see the potential in.
The dresser had a couple of broken drawers that I glued back together and one drawer that was chipped in the corner that I chose to toss and replace with cute baskets instead.
First, I used a screw driver to remove all of the hardware from the drawers and cupboards. The option to try to tape or paint around these seemed so much harder than just removing them.
Depending on the paint that you choose, you will typically need to sand down the stain or paint that is on the furniture to allow the new finish to stick. If you are going to stain the furniture, you will need to completely remove the finish that is present to allow the stain to be absorbed into the wood. If you are going to use latex paint, you will need to sand the glossy surface which will allow the paint to stick.
I used chalk paint which advertises that sanding isn’t necessary, but I wanted to be sure that my paint was going to stick and last, so I gave my dresser a quick coat of this liquid sander deglosser which scuffs the surface enough to allow the paint to penetrate and stick. When you are considering this step, you also need to account for the finish that you are hoping to attain. For example, if you are looking for a smooth, glossy finish with no imperfections, you will want to spend a good amount of time prepping your surface and sanding the imperfections out. I really like the antique, rustic, imperfect finish, and luckily that means that I can leave some imperfections prior to painting. This saves me time and frustration.
I painted it in each little crack, which is a big reason I chose to go this route instead of traditional sandpaper. Can you imagine how long that would have taken me?
As I painted it on, it left a matte film on the surface of the dresser. This does not have to be removed before painting.
For this dresser, I chose to use Chalk Paint. I was looking for a matte finish that I could distress easily. There are several brands of chalk paint out there. Home Depot and Lowes sell this for around $30 for a quart. I got this Folk Art brand at JoAnne’s for much cheaper since I didn’t need a full quart. (Never go to JoAnne’s without your app that almost always has at least 40% off coupons!) Walmart also has smaller bottles of chalk paint that are very reasonable, if you have a small project.
I used a decent paint brush to put a thin layer of chalk paint on the dresser. Typically, the better the paint brush, the better the finish turns out. I used these Purdy Paint Brushes. The best thing about the distressed/vintage trend is that perfection isn’t important. My paint brush was average, but I was going to distress the furniture anyway, so a perfect finish wasn’t my goal.
I gave the dresser two thin coats of chalk paint.
After my paint had dried, I got to do my favorite part! Distressing! I like using these sanding blocks. They’re easy to hold and they have a few different options of grit. I used a rough grit to get the job done faster. I focused on the edges and areas that would wear naturally from daily use, but I also distressed the areas that had wood carved accents that I wanted to show.
Usually, chalk paint is finished with a wax coating. This wax coating is a protective layer on the paint and can be clear or colored to give a rustic finish. The wax coating needs to be updated and reapplied every year to maintain the protective coat. I don’t want to have to do this step yearly, I chose this matte clear polyurethane. A couple things to note; I chose matte because of the chalk paint finish. I wanted to maintain that as best as possible while also giving a protective and cleanable finish. Polyurethane tends to have an amber tone/finish to it, so get one that stays clear.
I really liked the little decorative metal scrolls on the front of the cupboard doors and wanted to reuse those. I wasn’t in love with the drawer handles and I think what I disliked most was the color. Rather than try to find new hardware that fit, I opted to spray paint my hardware. I used this Hammered Spray Paint. I LOVE this paint and am always so happy with how it turns out!
After all of the paint had dried, I replaced the hardware on the drawers. The drawers were replaced and the top cupboards put back on. My final step was to find a few baskets that would fit nicely where the third drawer used to be.