Chalk Painted Dresser Makeover Before and After

Check out all three dresser looks. Which is your favorite?

light pink chalk painted dresser

Today I’m sharing an exciting DIY dresser makeover that went through two phases. The project is exciting to me because it came together in such a scrappy manner. It’s a project that reflects sheer determination, compromise, and the age-old philosophy of wabi-sabi, or the art of imperfection.

There are so many talented furniture restorers out there that share these inspirational and picture-perfect “before and afters,” which can be a little intimidating. I mean, I enjoy rehabbing but am by no means a perfectionist. I’m here to reassure you that sometimes an imperfect piece of old furniture will far outweigh anything you can buy in the store.

Finding the Dresser

old wood antique dresser

When I first bought my house, I was in the market for an antique dresser. I always like repurposing what I already have, so it dawned on me that there were some drawers encased in a wall underneath my basement stairs. At first, I wasn’t sure that the drawers in the wall were part of an actual dresser. Who would shove this old dresser into a wall in a basement?

antique furniture label makers mark

I grabbed a crowbar and a hammer, and within fifteen minutes, I was hauling the heavy dresser up the stairs. I found some white paint in the basement and gave it a quick once-over after a very light sanding. Unfortunately, I was so excited to get the dresser out of the wall that I didn’t get any true “Before” photos. You can see that the dresser was in decent shape. The top had been painted pretty terribly, which helped me decide to go with a two-tone finish vs. sanding and refinishing the wood.

 Two Toned Dresser

Here is the dresser when it was two-toned. I love the imperfections, the dovetail drawers, the old furniture label, and the fact that it’s solid wood throughout. The top actually shows more age since when I first painted it. There are scratches and smudges, but I like it like that.

DIY Dresser Makeover
DIY Dresser Makeover - Painting an old dresser

two toned antique dresser makeover

Chalk Painted Dresser

Eventually, I was commissioned to paint the dresser using a specific brand’s chalk paint. Since the front drawers were “faux painted” and none of the wood was original, I decided that it was okay to paint this antique furniture and to take on the project. Below, I’ll walk you through the basic steps I took to paint and then distress the antique dresser.

How To Chalk Paint a Dresser

To get started, pick a brand and color of chalk paint that you prefer. I really liked this Himalayan salt pink, and I think it coordinates well with my other decor.

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– Lint-free cloth
– Paintbrush or mini paint roller
– Sanding block
– Stir stick


– Chalk paint
– Old dresser (that is safe to paint)

Step-By-Step Directions

1. Remove any hardware.

Store and label all hardware in plastic bags so that it is easy to add back to the dresser at the end of the project

2. Clean the dresser thoroughly.

Thoroughly dust the dresser to remove any obvious dirt and grim. Give the entire surface a light sanding and then dust again.

3. Apply the first coat of paint.

Apply thin, even coats of chalk paint. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before moving on to the next. This chalk paint was specially formulated, so it didn’t need primer. Follow the instructions on your chalk paint can.

4. Wax and distress the finish.

Once you complete two or three coats to dry complete, test the surface with the tip of your nail. If the primer adheres to the glass properly, you shouldn’t be able to easily scratch the surface. You’re now ready to plan what you want to write on your chalkboard frame!

5. Optional: lubricate the dresser sliders.

If your old dresser drawers get stuck, use some of the furniture wax to lubricate the slides.

6. Style the finished dresser.

Once the wax cures, you’re now able to enjoy the finished dresser makeover!

light pink chalk painted dresser

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