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Monday, August 5, 2013

DIY Dresser Makeover

Oh my goodness I can hardly contain my excitement to share this post with you today! I am going to show you how to turn a bland dresser into an entertainment center.

So my husband and I had been debating whether or not we should spend some of our wedding money and buy a new TV stand. Here is the beauty...
Yes that is New Girl, and no I could not turn it off to take the picture.
Addiction is a scary thing my friends.

We both agreed we needed to switch out of college dorm mode and buy a new stand. (Just look at that dinky thing!?) Our movies were out in the open and half of them wouldn't fit. It also just looked awkward with our TV hanging over the edge of this small stand. We were both ready for a change. We looked all over the internet and stores in Vegas searching for a reasonable stand but we came to the conclusion that most stands still look like college dorm room, or cost $1000+. On our tight newly wed budget, I convinced Clifford to do our first couple DIY project! After bringing him over to the dark side, we were on our search for the perfect dresser. 

We shopped on craigslist since there is always an abundance of furniture posted daily. We searched until we found the perfect piece we both loved. 
So this dresser is hardwood (very solid, and very HEAVY). It also have dovetail drawers which I strongly suggest you look for when you are doing your own DIY project. (Dovetail drawers are very sturdy and will last forever. Seriously. You won't regret it. This isn't cheap walmart furniture). 

Another thing we were looking for in a piece of furniture other than sturdiness and good quality was a dresser that could be converted into an entertainment center. This particular dresser we bought had a cabinet in the middle. We were looking for a dresser we could easily take the drawers out and put in custom shelves for our xbox and dvd or blu ray player. We contacted the girl selling the dresser and had her send us some pictures of the inside of the cabinets which contained more drawers that could be pulled out. Tip: Be PICKY when you are choosing the right piece for your house. It's a lot easier to choose the right furniture for your projects rather than having to revamp the entire piece. 

After bringing this monstrosity home up a flight of stairs in the Vegas summer heat we were pooped. (Ok maybe Cliff and his friend carried it up the stairs). The next decision was we had to make was what color we wanted to paint it. We wanted something that was neutral but very fun and versatile. If you aren't sure what color to go with, check out this post from Craftionary on What color to paint your furniture. We opted for a gray color with white trim. 

Getting started on this project was so fun, but it seemed a little overwhelming when we had a giant dresser taking over our tiny apartment. The pressure was on to get this project done quickly and perfectly.

We started out researching blogs and websites for the best way to complete this project. Here is a list of necessities you will need to redo your beast to a beauty:

  • Krud Kutter- It's only the best degreaser to get rid of everything living on the dresser so you are ready to prime. Oh and did I mention it's eco-friendly?
  • Zinsser Cover Stain Primer- I will expand on this awesome product in a minute... basically it's the greatest thing you will ever buy.
  • Roller foam brush- Easiest way to cover a large surface with paint without those brush lines.
  • Mini foam brushes- Covers those tight corners and spaces you can't get with a roller.
  • Paint- Talk to your local hardware store workers to help you choose the perfect paint for your project. 
  • Wood Putty- This fills any holes or nicks you may need to cover up.
  • Wood Glue- To make the shelves stay put.
There are some other items we bought for the project we will cover later in this post.

The first step was for me to step out in the oven of a place (Las Vegas) and begin working. I started by removing both of the cupboard doors, drawers, and drawer tracks. 

Once the dresser was stripped down to the base, we used Krud Kutter to eliminate any chance of the primer not sticking to the surface. It's a simple spray on, wipe off product that prepped the dresser perfectly. We found it at the Home Depot down the cleaner isle (who knew they had cleaner?). You don't want to skip this step, especially on older furniture since there is usually a large amount of build up of grease and dirt. 

The next step was filling in any holes or scuffs with some wood putty to ensure a smooth surface. We had quite a few holes since we removed the cabinet hinges and hooks. We used Plastic Wood which was really simple. You fill the holes and sand off the excess. In some places where there were deeper holes, we had to put more than one layer of the product. 

So naturally the next step would be to power sand down the whole dresser. In the Vegas heat this sounded like the worst possible thing I could be doing. Hallelujah we live in times where we don't need to sand anymore. We researched quite a bit about different types of primers and we finally found the perfect product. The miracle worker we used was called: Zinsser Cover Stain Primer. $8.88 for a quart at the Home Depot. This was a serious time saver We literally did no sanding (ok there were a few spots that were rough and needed a touch up). Other than that, it was a dream. We used a foam roller brush to apply the primer to all of the large areas and small foam brushes to do the smaller places. The key to finding a primer is one that is a stain blocker!
We gave the whole dresser, including the drawers, two coats of the primer to ensure that it was ready for painting. This seemed a little mundane, but I can assure you that it's worth it in the end to make sure you do it right. 

So remember how we wanted to make this dresser into a an entertainment center? The perfect place to add some shelves was right inside this cupboard. This picture is of the inside before I took out the drawer tracks, but it shows you where we wanted to place the shelves. There are two boards in the front in back that were level where we planned to place the wood shelves. 

To complete this step, we measured the inside of the dresser a little longer than the front opening so we could put the shelf in. Then we went to Lowes where they cut wood for FREE and purchased a precut 1/2 2X4 Birch Plywood with smooth sides. This cost us a whopping $13.67. Buying a smaller wood piece allowed it to be thin enough to not add bulk and not cost a lot of money. We opted for 1/2 since it wouldn't bow. Plus we still had some left over for future projects. 

We primed the shelves and then we were ready for painting. Woot Woot! (Okay don't forget to let each layer of the primer dry completely. You will be in a world of mess if you don't dry each layer before putting more paint on). 

While waiting for the paint to dry (haha) we can talk about the drawer pulls. Cliff opted to buy new handles, but I loved the original ones. I won the battle and with my awesome persuasion skills. We agreed they needed a fresh coat of paint to match the style we were going for. We wanted they white and we opted for a combination primer and paint. The Rust-Oleum painters touch was perfect for the drawer pulls. We painted 3 coats (don't forget to wait inbetween coats), and bam: awesome new drawer pulls without a crazy expense. It was less than $5 to redo all 7 of the pulls. 

Okay, so your primer should be dry and now you are ready to paint. For this project, Cliff and I went into Home Depot with a darker gray color in mind. We searched the swatch bar and found a few that we really liked, but we weren't set on any quite yet. We continued shopping for our other supplies and then Cliff spotted the clearance section of paint. (I'm so proud. Clearance is my middle name!) He found the perfect color in a flat paint that was the perfect type for our project for $2!! Can you say score!? (TIP: You can see the actual color the paint will be on the lid of the clearance cans. Hold them in the lights by the swatches to ensure it's the color you want). We then bought the same quart for our trim in white and we were ready to paint. Home Depot gives away free dropcloth to lay under your projects so you don't spill paint everywhere (Thanks Home Depot!). 

We ended up bringing the dresser in our house to do the painting so we weren't sweating in the sun and to ensure a perfect coat of paint. (Don't worry we cracked the windows and doors). We did the same process using a new foam roller, foam brushes, a paint tray (TIP: line the tray with tin foil and you don't have to wash it out, and it's reusable). We painted two coats and the dresser looked awesome! We also painted the drawers. Sorry about the lack of a picture. The apartment was a little crazy at this point.

The next part was the was the hardest part for me. We had the brilliant idea from the beginning to paint the dresser gray but trim the drawers with white edges. We thought it would look clean and chic. I spent a few hours putting down blue painters tape to ensure a straight edge on each drawer. I then painted with the white paint on the edges using a foam brush. After a few coats, I noticed that the gray we had painted the drawers had got on the sides of the trim and it was impossible to cover up. If I were to do this project again I would suggest priming the edges again and then covering it with the white paint. We ended up priming over the paint and then repainting. (UGGG). 
Finally we managed to get the drawers looking perfect with a few touch up strokes. We then glued the 2 shelves in the dresser after painting them and ensuring they were dry. Cliff also used his manly drill to put a few large holes in the back of the dresser for the cables and wires to plug into the wall. 

Look how custom those shelves look!

Now we have drawers for all my Rom Com's and all Cliff's Action movies!


We are sooo proud of our first project we did together.

We saved so much money to get a custom piece we both love! We couldn't be happier with the way the "entertainment center" looks! Now my hubby is ready for our next DIY project (he keeps talking about refinishing the dresser in our bedroom).

Until my next DIY, BYE BYE!



  1. Hi Jessica! Just wanted to stop by and tell you I LOVE your dresser makeover and wanted to let you know that I'm featuring this post tomorrow for Round-Up Monday (with a linkback, of course). If you would rather not be featured, that's fine, just let me know! You did an amazing job:)


  2. If you didn't share the steps by steps procedure on creating your TV stand, I'll definitely assume that you bought it from a furniture shop.

  3. Very nicely done! Love the tip about the primer. I hate sanding!


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