A Castoff Dresser Gets a New Life :: Part One

Dresser Before

A few weeks ago my friend Suzanne and I were enjoying one of our before work at Zero-Dark-Thirty runs when I spotted a dresser on its side that had been left for the garbage man.  Suzanne and I examined it and thought it had potential to be repaired and given a new life.  When the run was over I called Mr. SP and begged him to go look at the dresser because I knew that it would be gone by the time I could get there after school.  Mr. SP is the nicest guy in the world and agreed to go look at the dresser even though I knew it was the last thing that he wanted to do before work.  He also thought it had potential, so into the Explorer it went.

Dresser Side Before

The dresser is solid wood with a faux wood grain finish that was chipped off in a few places.

Dresser Veneer

The back had loose nails sticking out in several places so we had to be very careful when we carried from the truck into the basement.  I pulled the offending nails out first thing to avoid an accidental scrape.

Dresser Back

We decided to sand off the finish with a belt sander.  This also allowed any deep gouges to be smoothed out.


The bottom drawer of the dresser was missing the back piece so after we sanded the dresser, the next step was to fix the drawer.

Drawer Repair1

A piece of wood from Mr. SP’s stash was cut to size.

Drawer Repair2

It was too thick, so we ran it through the planer until it was the same thickness as the other drawer pieces, 1/2”.

Drawer Repair3

Mr. SP then made dove tail joints on each end of the board.

Drawer Repair4
Drawer Repair5

A line then needed to be routed to hold the drawer bottom.

Drawer Repair6

Once we were sure that everything fit perfectly, the drawer back was glued into place.

Drawer Repair7

Now this drawer is as good as new!  After this picture was taken we sanded both sides to smooth the board and to remove the pencil writing.

Dresser - New Back for Bottom Drawer

Mr. SP did a great job making the dovetail joints.  They fit perfectly!

Dovetail Joints
Dresser - Bottom Drawer - New Back

I purchased three decorative wooden pieces for the drawer fronts.

Dresser  - 3 Drawers Before

I didn’t like the raised decorative piece on the bottom drawer, so it was sanded off with the belt sander.

Dresser - Drawers after sanding

Just when I thought the repair work was complete, Mr. SP decided that the warped top drawer must be repaired.  He determined that the drawer front was the warped piece and removed it.  The easiest fix seemed to be to make a new drawer front, so that’s what he did.

Warped Drawer

Looks like an exact match, doesn’t it?

New Top Drawer

We squared, glued, and clamped the drawer and after it dries, it should be as good as new.

New Top Drawer Clamped

The next problem to solve was the lack of drawer supports inside of the dresser.  After a few measurements were taken and some routing was accomplished, the drawer supports were in place.

Inside Dresser
Inside Dresser with drawer supports

We are getting closer!  New hardware needs to be selected and so does a paint color.

Dresser Almost Ready to Paint

Click here to see the end result of this makeover.

I could use some suggestions on a paint color.  I’m planning to use this piece in my living room in the location of the marble top table below.   (The wall and trim color may change this summer.)

Future Dresser Location

The rug will stay, so the color that I choose definitely needs to work with it.  I am planning to experiment with chalk paint in the near future, but I don’t want that look for this piece.

Rug Colors

Help me out!  I’d love to hear your opinion or suggestions for a color for this dresser.


  1. You go girl! Look at you with the power tools!!!! You are going to have a beautiful dresser!!!! Have you used Annie Sloan Paris Grey? It would look fabulous in your room! Looking forward to seeing it finished!

  2. Gosh…no color suggestions here, but wow, what a project! I am very envious of your awesome basement workroom. Was telling my husband today that we really need some tools. We only have things like hammers and screwdrivers. Not even a saw, much less those very fancy devices you have. Can’t wait to see the finished project!

  3. Well, I’m the wrong person to ask about wall color because I prefer stark white or creamy white walls and changing everything else out seasonally or when the mood strikes. I’d paint the cute little dresser a steel blue…the same blue in your rug. 😀

    LOVE your workroom……LOVE IT!!!

  4. WOW! Love that workshop and all the toys in it, you two are so cute working together. You’re doing such a great job, you should open up your own business! Can’t wait to see the end results.

  5. Love the work you all did on the dresser. I am very partial to a deep red color. I have a piece that I painted red to go on my screened in porch and love it. Red is always a classic color and can go into almost any room. I know it will look great no matter what color it is. You all certainly gave it new life!

  6. I feel like I just sat through an episode of Norm Abram’s New Yankee Workshop. As for a color, my first impulse is a blue-grey/almost battleship grey, but I also like a dark red perhaps with a walnut glaze.

  7. WOW…you and Mr. SP are amazing! Such talent…
    Hmmm, I love your piece and since you don’t care for using chalk paint this time around I would stain it. I LOVE wood!
    Can’t wait to see what you do…

  8. Love the dresser/chest….a shade of turquoise that would compliment your rug would go nicely. You could do a darker stain then a dry brush effect of the turquoise over it. There are so many ways to get a different look….softer or bolder…depending on your preference.

  9. I’m leaning toward the blue/green in the rug also. Maybe a MMS milk paint color? Kitchen Scale or French Enamel look like they’d be close (or maybe a custom mix of the two).

  10. I think blue also! Either matching the blue in the rug or tying in the turquoise color in the room beyond.

  11. IMHO, I think the deep red in your carpet is the one for the dresser, which is turning out heavenly, I might add!

    Thank you for sharing with the rest of the world! Always great to see creative

    minds at work. 🙂

    Visiting from WOW Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style linky party
    Suz @MaytagNMom
    NW Illinois
    Link To My Party Project This Week

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