A DIY Dresser Makeover That Doesn’t Need to Be Perfect

Today I’m sharing my most exciting DIY dresser makeover. It’s exciting not because it took me a long time to complete, but 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.

DIY dresser makeover - before and after

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.


DIY Dresser Makeover - Before and AfterWhen I first bought my house, I was in the market for an antique dresser. I always like repurposing or using what I already have, so one moment 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 was an actual dresser. Who would shove this antique beauty into a wall??

I grabbed a crowbar and a hammer and within fifteen minutes, I was hauling this guy 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. Sorry! You can see that overall, 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.

DIY Dresser Makeover - Before and After


Here is the dresser as it is now. It’s actually the most used piece of furniture in my office. I love the imperfections, the dovetail drawers, the old furniture label, and the fact that it’s solid wood throughout. I don’t think I’ll repaint it or refinish it anytime soon. 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
What do you think? Would you paint an antique dresser to look two-toned? Would you be able to find charm in all the imperfections?

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Heirlooms at Home is an online publication dedicated to affordable antiques and old houses.

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