Antique Dresser Makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint

This little beauty is one of my favorite pieces. I’m in love with this antique dresser all over again after giving her a makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint.

I’ve had this dresser for about 25 years now. She was my great-grandmother’s, then my mom’s, and then Mom gave it to me to use in my daughter’s bedroom when she was a toddler.

The dresser has undergone a lot of transformations over the years, but I think her newest look is my favorite.

Antique Dresser Makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint

A Checkered Past…

When I inherited this piece from my mom, she was a mustard yellow color. I painted her white and stenciled some pretty pastel flowers on the drawers to use in my daughter’s room. Years later, when my daughter outgrew this dresser, I got her something different, then stripped this dresser down to the bare wood, and stained her an oak-ish color.

She stayed that way for a few years, and I used her as a side table in the master bedroom, but I never really loved the new look, because the stain just had too much of a yellowy tint to it.

Next, I painted her this chocolate brown color to match some of the other furniture in the room.

Fast forward a few years more, I moved to a new home, and this piece ended up in the guest room. She’s lived quite a life already in the 25 years I’ve owned her, hasn’t she? Three different homes and 4 different looks. I wish I knew more about the 80 or so years before I acquired her.

When I began her most recent makeover, she was painted the chocolate brown color that I put on about 8 or so ago.

I hauled her outside, fueled up on coffee, and got to work.

Time for a New Look

I decided that I’d give her a stained top and painted bottom, similar to the antique hope chest makeover I did last year because I love that one so much.

Fortunately, prior to the chocolate brown paint, I had already stipped her down to bare wood years ago, so it was easy to just sand off the single coat of paint on the top.

Then, I used a custom mixed color of General Finishes Milk Paint in Persian Blue and Seagull Gray.

Antique Dresser Makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint

I just stirred small amounts of them together until I had the color I wanted. Then I set to work with a small, high-quality roller meant for smooth surfaces.

I do still have the original wooden knobs, but I had replaced them with silver years ago, and this time I decided some vintage-looking glass knobs would complement her new muted blue color. Aren’t they pretty?

The Mirror

When I removed all the paint from the dresser years ago, I never got around to doing the mirror. I was using it as a bedside table at that time and didn’t want the mirror attached anyway. So when I painted her brown in her subsequent makeover, I just painted over the white.

As a result of so many layers of paint around the mirror, this part took a bit more effort. I took the mirror to the garage, removed the hardware, and sanded down some of the rough spots and excess paint. I made sure to protect the mirror well, because it is still the original, circa 1914.

You can see the previous yellow and white paint from years gone by peeking through.

When I inherited this piece, the hardware had been painted over with the yellow color, which is how I know yellow was not the original color. My guess is that my great-grandmother painted it that color.

When I got ready to paint it white, I was a pregnant mom with a toddler. Stripping the hardware down was not on my agenda, so I painted over them again.

This time, I decided they deserved better.

I dropped them in an old jar with a bit of Citristrip, and in an hour or so, I was able to rub the multiple layers of paint off with an old cloth, exposing the original aged brass. So much better!


I wanted to avoid the golden yellow color that the wood had taken on the last time I stained it years ago, so this time I used Minwax Weathered Oak.

I wanted an oak tone, to coordinate with the other vintage oak family keepsakes I used in my guest room makeover, but not a golden oak. The Weathered Oak did the trick. I applied 3 coats and it looked better with each one.

Antique Dresser Makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint with stained oak top.

Clear Coat

Finally, I applied 2 coats of Minwax Polycrylic in Clear Satin. It adds protection to this pretty top, and just a little bit of sheen.

Stained top on Antique Dresser Makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint
Antique Dresser Makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint

Isn’t she beautiful?

Look at that 100+ year-old original glass mirror. And the pretty brass mirror hardware. I love how the soft grayish blue color accents her pretty curves.

Finished Antique Dresser Makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint

What do you think about the glass knobs?

I’m torn about putting the originals back on. I mean, I like the idea of the original pieces, because you know… they are original. But they are just plain wood knobs, and I do like the way the glass ones add a little something special.

I’d love to hear your opinion if you want to leave me a message in the comments.

Here’s a picture of both sides of the bed. I love how this piece can now function as both a dresser and a nightstand for this side of the bed.

The weathered oak top ties it in with my mom’s antique dry sink on the other side of the bed, and my grandmother’s hope chest at the foot of the bed.

Antique Dresser Makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint in guest bedroom.

The Whole Guest Room Reveal

To see the whole guest room reveal and all of the other antiques and family keepsakes I used in this room, be sure to visit THIS POST.

If you want to hear the story and see the makeover of this pretty beadboard cabinet my dad made by hand, which is also in this room, you can go HERE.

Beadboard Cabinet makeover with General Finishes Paint.

I’m so lucky to have inherited a lot of lovely antiques from my parents, but if you are in the market for finding some old furniture you can bring back to life yourself, my post about Tips for Flea Market and Antique Shopping might be helpful.

Here are the paints and supplies I used on my Antique Dresser Makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint:

Now, you’re in for a treat, because linked up below are SIX more DIY projects from some of my very talented Do-It-Yourself blogging friends. Enjoy!

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23 thoughts on “Antique Dresser Makeover with General Finishes Milk Paint

  1. Absolutely perfect! Ilove the style colors and the whole picture of the room. Thank you!
    Another Iowan

  2. I absolutely love how this came out! And it is so amazing that this piece of furniture has such history to you and your family. What a perfect item to keep updating to your current style 🤗

  3. Love the glass knobs
    I’m also sentimental so would hold onto the originals. Who knows what her next look will be? If not by you by whomever inherits it next it will be nice for originals to be available

  4. Oh, I LOVE the glass knobs. I would definitely keep those! The whole dresser turned out great! I love the blue against the wood. It’s really gorgeous. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. This turned out so pretty. What a great tip to mix the colors. That’s the only thing about this paint that I don’t like is that you can’t choose the color. But you showed me you can. I love that you have made this piece work in so many different rooms with a completely different look. I love this one.

  6. This turned out beautifully. Love the blue paint and the glass knobs are a great touch. Works perfectly in your bedroom. Great tutorial.
    Lynne, Thrifting Wonderland

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