Friday, March 8, 2013

Thrift Dresser Makeover in Mint Green

*Update: Due to an influx of spam comments on this particular post I decided to remove it and republish it so if you're receiving this post in your email again I apologize for the inconvenience. Also, because of said  spam comments, I've had to add word verification on the comment form again.

I've been reading home improvement blogs for about a year now and when we finally moved into our own space I couldn't wait to get started on some projects that had inspired me. Since we are still renting I couldn't do anything structurally permanent or time-consuming, like paint the walls or tear out the carpet, but I could refinish furniture. Ever since I started following the popular DIY blog, Young House Love , I'd been wanting to buy used furniture to give it a makeover. I figured that if it didn't work out then the loss wouldn't be too great since used furniture is usually cheap.

We  follow the 3 Rs model of living whenever possible so redoing furniture just seemed natural. Now I check Craigslist every day for new treasures to "upcycle". I'm currently on the hunt for an accent chair and have had my eye on a few modern mid-century pieces for sometime and hopefully we'll be acquiring one of them this weekend so, yay, new project!

*This chair could really use reupholstery on that blanket-draped cushion and an owner that doesn't store squash next to it.

Since we moved cross-country from Florida we had given away/sold practically everything we owned so we started fresh with an almost-empty house and needed furniture: couches, a bed, tables, chairs, etc. We received a few pieces from Nanna and the rest we bought via Craigslist and thrift stores...except the bed and the couches. I think buying soft furniture like fabric couches and mattresses new is safer than buying used, which could come with bed bugs or funky odors, or both, if you're really lucky.

One of the first pieces I redid was a heavy oak, seven-drawer dresser we bought for $60 from a local thrift shop. I wanted to get it done first so I could finally put away all the clothes I had laying around in boxes and piles on the floor. I bought the necessary material from the nearest home improvement store, including a minty green paint called Bok Choy, and got to work on the dresser. From the first step - sanding it down - to the last step - getting it inside the bedroom, took five days. When it was done my wrists were sore but I was proud at what I had created as a novice.

I love the brightness it adds to our bedroom.

And since it's a light color all the decor on top of it really pops out.

*This figurine is from Cartagena and her basket holds my small stud earrings.

*This is an antique vase from Korea that Nanna gifted us.

Even at night we get a refreshing, happy burst of color whenever we get ready for bed.

I know this color's not for everyone but you can paint an old dresser any color you want, that's the beauty of buying used furniture. When I'm tired of Bok Choy Green I can resand it and try something  new.

6 Simple steps to refinishing a dresser:

1) Remove all hardware. My dresser didn't have any hardware so I skipped this step.

2)  Use sandpaper (or a sander if you're lucky enough to have space for it and a garage of your own) and sand the entire dresser once with medium grade sandpaper, wipe dust away with a rag, and then sand it all over again with a fine grade sandpaper. This is definitely the most time-consuming and back-breaking task but when that's over it's all smooth sailing. 

3)  Use painter's tape to seal off any areas you don't want painted. I put painter's tape along the back edges.

4) Using a foam roller (they have the smoothest paint distribution) and a small, angled paint brush (for hard-to-reach corners) roll one thin coat of primer over the dresser. Wait an hour for it to dry and then do it again. 

5) Using another foam roller and brush, paint two-to-three thin layers of paint on the dresser, making sure to paint along the grain. Wait about two hours between painting each layer. 

6) Once the paint is completely dry (wait at least 48 hours), use a foam roller to apply 2-3 thin coats of polycrylic to the dresser to seal everything in and make it smudge proof. If you plan on putting things on top of the dresser add another coat. Wait an hour between coats and then another 24 hours before using the dresser.

As you can deduce, it takes about a week from start to finish, but most of that time is just waiting for paint to dry. I enjoyed the work, the repetitive motions put me in a zen-like trance and left me feeling peaceful and at ease each day. So, if I can do it, you can do it.

P.S - Happy International Women's Day! Let's keep fighting for equality for all women in the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Color is good. Amazing how infusing a little color into a room brightens things up. Good work. Now I'm looking forward to learning how to make bagels :)