The next time you come across an old dresser with a dingy finish and perhaps a few scrapes, don't walk past it. It may look a bit banged up on the outside, but older dressers are made to last. As long as it's sturdy and in sound shape structurally, you can re-finish it and get many more years of use out of it. One simple way to refinish an older dresser is by using diluted paint and sandpaper to give it a casual beachy look. Here's how.
Step 1: Collect your supplies.
For this project, you'll need:
- Sandpaper (coarse and fine grit)
- A large, 5-gallon bucket
- 1 gallon of latex paint in the color of your choice (light colors work best)
- A large paint brush
- A smaller paint brush
- Plenty of water
- Dry cloths
- A paint stirring stick
Step 2: Remove the old finish.
You'll need to completely remove the old finish in order for your new paint finish to go on smoothly and uniformly. The easiest way to do this is by sanding. Use coarse sandpaper, and sand with the grain in all of the areas where the finish is still in tact. Stop sanding as soon as the finish has worn off of an area. Once you've sanded the whole dresser, wipe it down with a moist cloth to remove the dust.
Step 3: Prepare your paint.
Diluting the paint ensures it goes on in a partially see-through, rustic manner instead of looking solid and opaque. Pour your gallon of paint into the 5-gallon bucket. Then, add 1/2 gallon of water, and stir until the mixture is uniform.
Step 4: Paint the dresser.
Use the large paint brush to coat the larger surfaces, and use your small paint brush to get in crevices. Painting with the wood grain will result in a more natural appearance. Keep in mind that your paint is not supposed to cover the wood completely. It should let the wood show through in some areas.
Depending on the style of your dresser, you may have to paint one side, let it dry for a few hours, turn it over, and then paint the other side.
Step 5: Sand down the corners and edges.
This step is option. If you're happy with your dresser as-is, feel free to skip this step. However, if you want to give your dresser a more vintage, beachy look, wait until it's completely dry and then take the fine-grit sandpaper and sand down some of the corners and edges.
Enjoy your good-as-new dresser! Contact a used furniture dealer to find the perfect piece for this project.