Vintage Dresser Upcycle

After finding a large 3-bedroom gem of an apartment, commonly referred to by my friends as “our country home in town,” it became clear that the furniture that previously filled my tiny 1-bedroom was not going to be nearly enough to even begin to fill my new place. So I started combing Craigslist, local thrift stores and the trash for “new” furniture.

My friend spotted a tragic dresser in her ‘hood. It was painted only partially white in what we could only assume was a half-assed attempt to be shabby chic. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that someone had colored on it in green crayon at some point… and, oddly, it was full of cheap Christmas ornaments. Hmm, at least there were no body parts. It apparently had been there, untouched in a back alley for weeks, as clearing no one was able to look past the glaring flaws and see the bones of a good piece of furniture.

I started by flirting with the guy at the local hardware store until he reluctantly agreed to tint a small can of Kilz primer into a deep chocolate brown. I had to promise that not only was I familiar with what Kilz primer was typically used for, I knew why I wanted it tinted this way, and I would not return the $7 can. I used the tinted primer as my base coat. I then followed up with a couple coats of MinWax Polyshade (a stain and polyurethane finish in one) in mahogany which also created a grain effect or the “appearance” of wood. I finished it up with some updated hardware and gave new life to some serious trash.

Total cost: $20 for paint, supplies, and hardware. Project time, a weekend to let everything cure.


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