Before and After: A $10 Goodwill Dresser Gets a Revamp with Million-Dollar Style

published Jul 12, 2021
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Before: Vintage wood three-drawer chest, with scratched and stained surfaces
Credit: Rich Christenson

If you’re looking to furnish a new apartment, it pays to shop old stuff. With thrift stores, antique malls, garage sales, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and more at your disposal, you can often find furniture for a steal.

DIYer Rich Christenson, for instance, snagged a dresser for his new place for just $10. “I was looking for a dresser for a long time after moving into my new place and didn’t want to buy anything new so I thought I would revamp one,” he says. When he found this potential-filled waterfall dresser at a local Goodwill for less than the cost of a movie ticket, he scooped it up.

Credit: Rich Christenson

“It was a solid piece but needed some love,” Rich says. “The top had rings in it and the wood was really scuffed up but I knew if I tweaked it I could make something really nice.”

And over the course of an afternoon, he did just that.

Credit: Rich Christenson

Rich started by sanding and prepping the piece, carefully taping off part of the dresser so that he could leave a stripe of stained wood exposed in the finished piece. “The taping for the stripe was the most painstaking part,” Rich says. “I had to get it straight or it would ruin it.”

Once the stripe was taped off and the hardware removed, Rich used spray paint in a deep navy shade — left over from a wall art DIY project he’d completed — to paint the dresser. Rich kept the same drawer pulls in place, but it’s a swap he’d make in the future: “If I had to change anything it would be the drawer pulls. I’d swap them out for something a little cleaner and simpler,” he says.

The angled stripe of exposed wood gives the revamped dresser a bit of flair — and exposes some of the vintage character that gives it its charm. And all told, the project cost a measly $25 — including the dresser — which makes it a real wallet-friendly win.

But the best part was giving a new life to an old piece. “I’m most proud that I found something that had been used and abused and was able to make something unique that I made functional again,” he says.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.