Boop! Slightly updated here!

A million years ago (aka three-ish months ago) I bought a cute little dresser from our local Habitat store. I decided this would be the perfect piece to experiment with painting furniture .

Having painted the kitchen cabinets, I had a good idea of how to approach painting furniture. First, I removed all the old hardware and drawers. See the bottom drawer glide on the left? All the wood gliders were in bad shape, so I replaced them ($5 each at Lowe’s). I also removed the boards between drawers because they were just flopping around, being useless.

I filled the drawer holes and dents on the top with a professional wood filler. Once that dried, I sanded the dresser with 80 grit paper to remove the finish, and smoothed it with 220 grit. After sanding, I cleaned it and deglossed, then applied primer.  I did two coats of primer, lightly sanding between coats.

painting furniture

With our kitchen cabinets, I used a water-based primer. I’m still satisfied with the results. But since I was painting furniture, I decided to try out an oil-based primer. Of course, as I did it, I remembered why I hate oil-based anything: it smells so bad. I primed by applying a layer with a brush, then thinning and evening it out with a high density foam roller.

I kept it outside for as long as possible to air out the stank, but had to bring it in due to bad weather. No worries though: I was using latex paint for color. I opted for a two-toned look: the dresser is done in a cream (Milk Paint by Olympic) and the drawers are a pale green (Featherstone, also by Olympic), both eggshell. I got a quart of the cream, but it the two coats could have easily been done with a sample size. Again, thin, even coats with a brush and foam roller, and light sanding between coats.

painting furniture

The paint cured for a day and the weather finally cleared up, so I dragged everything back outside for a layer of polyurethane. I’ve never used polyurethane before, so I did some research, and here’s something very important I learned: Use water-based polyurethane when you paint furniture, because oil-based polyurethane will yellow over time. Duly noted! I had no problem with this – the oil-based product I used to protect the stain on our coat rack gave me a horrible headache and I had to keep that wood outside for days.

I followed the instructions on the polyurethane and applied two coats to protect the paint job. After it dried, I attached the new hardware. I got six nickel drawer pulls from Lowe’s. I carefully measured the holes, marked them, then drilled. To minimize wood splitting, I like to drilled a small pilot hole and worked my way up to the larger bit.

painting furniture olympic milk paint featherstone

Side note, did I mention the dresser was made in USA? It was only $25. Drawer glides were $10, paint was $15 (with leftovers), new pulls (see below) were $18. I owned the other supplies. So $68 for a solid wood dresser? Not bad.

We scooted it into our guest room. The colors are a little weird together, but the guest room has some new stuff coming at it soon. I need to make a mood inspiration board to show what I’m thinking. Overall, this is a vast improvement over our old storage bins. The new dresser is home to stray electronics cords, paper supplies and other odds and ends.

I couldn’t get a good straight-on picture of it thanks to the bed being in the way, but it has another photo shoot coming when I decide how to decorate it.

painting furniture before after

After some stylin‘ and profilin’:

Have you ever painted furniture? If you have, how do you do it? I need to try chalk paint next!

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