A Princess Dresser Gets a Grown-Up Makeover

Even though I had no idea what I would use it for, I could not resist taking this little dresser that a neighbor was giving away.

dresser before makeover

With its petite size and whimsical design, it was probably once used in a little girl’s room.

What at first glance looked like paint or stenciling was really only a cheap veneer that was starting to peel and chip.

before closeup

Time to Grow Up

Busy as this piece was, it had potential.  I loved its French-inspired lines.  And when my husband, Chris, asked me to help him stage a house that he would be listing for sale, I knew it was time for this little dresser to grow up.

But it needed to grow up fast.  The house would be listed soon so any revamp to this dresser would have to happen quickly.

The Virtues of Chalk Paint

I decided to use chalk paint because very little, if any, prep work – such as sanding or priming – is needed.  It also covers well.

I just wiped the dresser down with soap and water and applied folkArt Home Décor chalk paint in Oatmeal.  The paint was very thick but easy to apply.  I used a paintbrush for some areas, but mostly I used a Shur-Line edger to apply the paint, as I do for many projects, because it gives a nice even application.  To be safe, I used a fresh edger pad for each coat.

The good and the bad of chalk paint is that it dries quickly.  So it only needs to dry a couple of hours between coats.  But since it dries so quickly, any flaws and runs in the paint need to be corrected immediately.

Only two coats of paint were needed.

Dresser during makeover

I probably could have stopped here, but I was itching to try the folkArt Home Décor Antiquing Wax.

Wax On, Wax Off

The instructions said that for easier application, I should first apply a coat of the clear wax, and then a coat of the antiquing wax.

I ignored the instructions and went straight to applying the antiquing wax.

The wax, like the paint, dries very quickly. Excess wax needs to be wiped away immediately.

Whimsical Yet Mature

A test patch of the paint and wax together on a piece of wood did not prepare me for what I would end up with.  The baby dresser was all grown up – elegant yet still fun.

dresser makeover - after

In the house we staged, we used it in the dining room as a sideboard.

dresser makeover

Chris was able to repair the broken drawer pull by adding some bracing and hardware to the back of it.  The original drawer pulls really add to the flavor of this piece, so it’s nice that we could reuse them.

dresser makeover

And so it took only about a day to go from this . . .

dresser before makeover

to this . . .

dreser makeover

The Staging Project

The wax was barely dry on this dresser when we used it to stage the house that would soon be for sale.  That staging project led to me write a three-part DIY series on staging houses.  Check out Part I to see how the project turned out.

The Dresser Now

After the staging project ended, I moved the dresser to a corner of my living room.


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15 Replies to “A Princess Dresser Gets a Grown-Up Makeover”

  1. What a great piece of furniture to receive from your neighbor! Love it! And I was just in the craft store today and had that brand of paint in my hand and the wax, too. I put it back because I wasn’t sure how much furniture it covered … how many containers I would need, etc. I liked your tips and hints!
    This would be perfect for my “Let’s Talk Vintage!” link party. Pop on over if you get a chance!

    1. Yes the piece was out on the curb. What a find! Thanks for letting me know about “Let’s Talk Vintage.” I will definitely check it out.

  2. Beautiful work! The shape of this dresser is so pretty and the paint technique you used really made it a gorgeous new piece of furniture. Thanks for sharing at Inspiration Thursday. See you next week!

    1. Thanks! It was a bit of a surprise, just one of those lucky projects that turned out better than expected. Love it when that happens!

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