Dresser Makeover project, before and after
Christy James portrait

Dresser Makeover

Dated Dresser Makeover

Christy James

Confessions of a Serial DIYER

I am updating an old dresser I acquired from my Hubby's grandmother by using paint. It was very dated, but it was a nice petite size and I knew the magic of paint would bring it back to life.

Behr Color Palette

This color is Sunken Pool

Sunken Pool


This color is Bit of Sugar

Bit of Sugar


Do you brake for yard sales? Do you immediately turn the car around when you pass a pile of junky furniture on the side of the road? Guilty! I have the hardest time passing on a piece of furniture in need of some love. Luckily there was no slamming of the brakes needed for this dresser; we acquired it from my Hubby's grandmother. It was very dated, but it was a nice petite size and I knew the magic of paint would bring it back to life.

I love a coastal cottage vibe in my own home, so I lean towards that style when painting the furniture I sell.

Behr is my go-to for all my painting needs, but it is perfect for making DIY chalk paint! With little to no prep, chalk paint is my favorite for projects like this.

I love a coastal cottage vibe in my own home.

Step 1: Mix DIY Chalk Paint

I mix my chalk paint by the quart since I paint a lot of projects, but if you want to make a smaller batch, you'll need 4 tbsp of calcium carbonate per one cup of paint.

  • Dissolve calcium carbonate in enough water to dissolve the powder. It should be about the consistency of ranch dressing when mixed properly.
  • Add mixture to paint and stir well.
  • To make a quart, you'll need 12 tbsp of calcium carbonate and 3 cups of paint. The Home Depot sells empty quart cans that are perfect to mix and store your chalk paint.
Blue drawers with painter’s tape masking for side stripes
Dresser side with painter’s tape masking for stripes

Step 2: Prep Dresser

With chalk paint there is little to no prep, so a good wipe-down was all this dresser needed. I did have to fix some veneer on the bottom and I also filled in the holes on the top drawer with wood filler since I planned to change the hardware. Once the wood filler was dry, I sanded the surface smooth using 220-grit sandpaper.


Close your eyes and run your hand over the surface of the holes you filled. If you can still feel where the holes were, you will likely see them through your paint job. Add a little more wood filler and try again.

Step 3: Paint

Now for the fun part! Paint in long, even smooth strokes, going with the wood grain when possible. Sunken Pool covered in two coats beautifully. I also chose to paint the drawers, inside and out, since they were in rough shape. For a fun touch, I added stripes to the sides! I also added stripes to the sides of the dresser. I used painter's tape to tape them off once the original paint was completely dry.

The white I used is Behr's Bit of Sugar. I love this white. It has a bit of a vintage feel. Since the stripes are going over an already painted surface, it did not need to be mixed into chalk paint, but I used the same flat finish.

I removed the tape immediately after painting the second coat of white. I sanded all the surfaces lightly to get them silky smooth, as well as the edges and raised areas with 220-grit sandpaper, then sealed with furniture wax.

Visualize It


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Now go find something to paint! Maybe start at Grandma's house.

The Big Reveal

Detail of the newly upholstered chairs
Using a roller to paint a chair
Stapling new fabric onto a chair seat

To add the fabric, I cut it to fit each drawer using a rotary cutter and cutting mat first. Then I attached it using Mod Podge in a matte finish. I applied it to the bottom of each drawer with a chip brush like a glue, then added the fabric.

A pretty update for Grandma's old dresser, don't you think?

Now go find something to paint! Maybe start at Grandma's house.

Christy James portrait

Christy James

I am a proud Mom, happy wife, and lover of all things DIY. When I'm not taking care of my boys, I love to sew, paint, build, and makeover all sorts of treasures I drag home from who knows where, and my favorite is sharing it all with my readers at Confessions of a Serial DIYer! I hope to inspire others to tackle projects they never thought they could.