Updating old bedroom furniture doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. With a little bit of paint, stain, and wax, this old Pottery Barn dresser got an easy DIY makeover.
I am partnering with Dixie Belle Paint Company for this post. Paint and stain were generously provided to me by Dixie Belle, but all ideas and creations are my own.
Last year, we were lucky enough to pick up this outdated Pottery Barn dresser on Facebook Marketplace. It was listed as “free to the first person who can pick it up”. Oh, Hello.
We didn’t really need another furniture piece, but it was a Pottery Barn dresser in good shape, and it was right down the road from us. The best part, it was a free dresser.
Kind of a no-brainer, right?
My sweet husband agreed to help me haul it home. When we arrived and began to load it in the Jeep, I could tell it was a good solid wood piece because this baby was heavy.
But, we managed to get it home and unloaded into our garage where it’s been sitting for several months.
Because, you know, that’s how I roll. I have to wait for inspiration to strike me.
From Dresser to Sofa Table
For quite some time, I’ve been debating about adding a console table behind our sofa. The builder put a floor outlet there in kind of an awkward spot, and I thought a sofa table or an antique buffet would solve the problem.
I was standing there trying to visualize what might work when the old dresser in the garage popped into my mind. Hmmm…
Again, my good-natured hubby and son hauled it into the house so I could see how it would look.
Of course, it was an ugly orange knotty pine, but I knew that with a new paint color, and some new hardware it would be the perfect candidate for my living room.
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Don’t be afraid to get creative with pieces of furniture. Who says a dresser can only be used in a bedroom?
I have an antique buffet in my bedroom, and now a dresser in my living room/kitchen!
This is what I love about repurposing old furniture. A DIY furniture makeover lets you customize an old piece of furniture into the perfect piece for your space.
DIY Dresser Makeover
This piece was overall in great shape, but the top of the dresser did have several scratches.
Since I planned to stain the top, the easiest way to deal with the scratches was to get out my Ryobi Corner Cat orbital sander.
In not much time, we had the top sanded down to the bare wood.
Since the rest of the dresser would be getting fresh paint in a new color, we just scuff-sanded the sides and drawer fronts to remove the sheen and make sure the paint would adhere properly.
Next, I used a damp rag and Dixie Belle’s Pristine Clean to remove all traces of dust and dirt from the entire dresser. You don’t want to apply paint to a dusty dresser.
I decided to use the color Oyster from Dixie Belle’s Silk Mineral Paint line because it doesn’t require a base or top coat. I didn’t have a lot of time for this makeover, so using Silk Paint allowed me to skip a couple of steps.
The first coat went on in a matter of minutes. I let it dry for a couple of hours and then came back to add a second coat to the whole dresser.
One thing I really love about Silk Mineral Paint is that it is self-leveling, so it’s easy to get a beautiful smooth surface without a lot of brush strokes showing.
A couple of coats of paint was all it took for a more modern look.
Oyster is Dixie Belle’s lightest shade of gray. In some light, it looks white, but in other light, you can see faint gray tones.
It’s such a pretty and versatile color.
The drawers on this piece were super clean and had nice-quality drawer glides, all in perfect working order. I decided not to try to remove them, and instead used one of Dixie Belle’s new artist’s brushes to carefully paint the edges.
On the top of the dresser, I used Dixie Belle’s No Pain Gel Stain in the color Walnut. I’ve found that the best way to apply gel stain is to use an applicator pad.
Just get a little bit of gel stain on your applicator pad and apply a base coat to the entire top. Then, flip the applicator pad over and wipe the stain back to allow the wood grain to show through.
You can use one coat of stain, or layer on additional coats if you want a darker color.
I used two coats of stain, allowing a couple of hours of dry time between each one. I like the contrast of the light paint to the dark wood.
The Silk Mineral Paint has a built-in top coat, so I only applied Dixie Belle’s Satin Clear Coat to the top of the dresser for extra protection.
I used a slightly damp blue sponge and applied two coats, allowing the first one to dry a few hours before going back for the second.
The combination of the Walnut No Pain Gel Stain and the Satin Clear Coat gave the top such a nice, rich color, while still allowing the wood grain to be the star.
Once the paint was completely dry, I used a small amount of Best Dang Wax in Gray Grunge blended with white wax to highlight some of the details of the dresser. The dresser has very clean lines, so adding just a bit of gray wax to the legs and crevices gives them a bit of contrast.
New Drawer Pulls
The big chunky wooden knobs on this piece were very outdated. But, I had the perfect solution!
Last year, my husband and I went on an “antique road trip” where I purchased a bag of 8 antique glass knobs that were likely saved from a vintage dresser. They have been waiting for a new home, and this thrifted dresser was the perfect place for them to live!
I took off the old hardware on the bottom 8 drawers and easily attached the new handles.
The screws that came with the glass knobs were mismatched and not the right length so my husband picked up some correctly sized ones at the hardware store for just a couple of bucks total.
I used my Dixie Belle’s bronze Gilding Wax and a small artist’s brush to make them prettier.
I only had 8 old glass knobs, so I purchased 3 new glass knobs from Hobby Lobby (half price!) for the top drawers. I kind of like that they are a bit larger and add some extra character.
DIY Dresser Before & After
Take a peek at the difference!
Although this dresser was well-made and in good shape, the orange knotty pine was definitely circa 2002 (in fact, there was a label on the back that confirmed it!).
Now, it has a completely new look!
I would much rather buy (or even better, find for free) well-made second-hand furniture instead of buying new, overpriced, and possibly cheaply made stuff from a furniture store.
Easy DIY Makeover for an Old Pottery Barn Dresser
Furniture flips are fun and creative projects that you can customize to your exact preference. Plus, the cost savings can be huge!
For example, here is a nearly identical dresser that Pottery Barn is selling on their website right now for about $2,199!
The supplies for my dresser makeover can be purchased for around $100 and you’d still have paint, stain, and wax left over for another project.
That’s like saving more than $2000!
I mean, I do love me some Pottery Barn, but I also like saving money, sooo….
PS. Right now, Dixie Belle is offering paint “bundles” to get you set up with a few basic supplies from a project. The Basic Silk All-in-One Mineral Paint Bundle will give you Pristine Clean, a Mini Brush, and Silk Paint in your choice of color all in one kit. You can check it out HERE.
Are you ready to try some creative dresser makeovers yet? Let’s do it!
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This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
Dixie Belle Products Used for this Project:
- Mini Angled Paint Brush
- Pristine Clean
- Silk Mineral Paint in Oyster
- No Pain Gel Stain in Walnut
- Applicator Pad
- Satin Clear Coat
- Gilding Wax in Bronze
- Blue Sponge Applicator
- Best Dang Wax in Grunge Gray and White
- Artist’s Brushes
See More of My Dixie Belle Projects
(Click the photos to see the full tutorials)
14 thoughts on “Easy DIY Makeover for an Old Pottery Barn Dresser”
How long did it take for you to sand it, paint it and finish the dresser? Was it a weekend project or took you longer?
Hi Isabela, It really didn’t take long at all. Definitely a weekend project. The sanding and painting took only a few hours. Then I just had to wait several hours between layers of stain and clear coat on the top, which was really the only time-consuming part.
Well done!! I love what you did to this dresser. . . and yes, I agree that you can use dressers in lots of different rooms. Isn’t it fun to give an old piece new life?
Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!
Thank you so, so much Richella! 🙂
You’ve inspired me to think about can be done to a small armoire in that still ugly orange color and a table and mirror that still bears that yellow oak color. Both pieces are used in MBR currently. I’ve used Annie Sloan French Linen chalk paint on a pine secretary turned bar storage with success. Looking forward to checking out other Dixie Bell finishes on your projects page. Thanks for sharing your many talents!
Thanks so much, Paula! It’s kind of addictive to be able to “erase” some of those old, outdated wood colors and make the pieces so fresh again.
Glad you’re going to check out DBP! I’d love to see some of your updated bedroom furniture if you give it a try. 🙂
I always see these sorts of dressers, but I can never locate one for myself. I have been thinking kitchen island with a twist. 😉 Love the make over and it looks fabulous, especially with the drawer pulls as the icing on the cake! Thank you for sharing with Whimsy Home Wednesday!
What a fantastic find! I absolutely love how this turned out
Thanks so much, Angela! It was definitely a lucky score! 🙂
How easy was it to update an old dresser with a few simple paint and stain steps? Thank you for sharing your story!
Great makeover, Niky. I have a similar piece that a friend gave me that’s been sitting in our garage for probably 4 years. It’s a chest of drawers so it’s taller, but the same finish. We also don’t need another dresser, but I couldn’t turn it down. Thanks for the inspiration.
It’s hard to pass up free furniture that you know can look amazing with a little paint! Thanks for stopping by, Carol. 🙂
That Dixie Bell Oyster is the perfect colour for the dresser. I cannot imagine finding such a solid wood dresser for free lol. I’d be running to grab it as well, especially being Pottery Barn. Great makeover.
Thanks so much, Leanna! I was a great find, for sure!