Before and After: A $20 Garage Sale Dresser Gets One Fun and Fresh Redo — and Then Another

published Nov 12, 2021
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Before: brown wood dresser with six drawers
Credit: Lucas Shaw

Solid furniture pieces can last a lifetime, especially when you consider that they’re ideal for making over again and again to suit changing tastes. This project from Lucas and Emily Shaw (@EmmyLuDesigns) is a great example of how a classic piece can be adapted for new styles.

Credit: Lucas Shaw

Emily and Lucas bought this six-drawer dresser 10 years ago for just $20 at a garage sale. Back then, they were giving their daughter a colorful navy blue and pink bedroom, so they gave the dresser a makeover that suited the style: a white frame, with ombré pink painted drawers.

Credit: Lucas Shaw

But a decade later, their now-tween daughter has more of a boho style, so Lucas and Emily wanted to give her a dresser that felt more in line with that vibe. Thankfully, since the dresser was well made, it was ready for another round of painting.

Credit: Lucas Shaw

This time, Lucas sanded off all the paint on the top of the dresser to expose the natural wood underneath; he also fully sanded down one layer of the decorative edge to serve as a natural wood accent.

Lucas wanted to sand down the drawers to reveal their natural wood, too, but found that below the painted surface they were mostly plywood — so instead, he primed and painted the drawers and frame of the dresser a satin white.

Lucas also filled in the old holes where the swing pulls were installed, and instead added rattan knobs to add a bit of a natural element to the face of the piece. Finally, he sealed the top with polyurethane to make it durable for daily use in his daughter’s new boho-inspired bedroom.

“Transforming a piece of furniture can take some time, but it’s super easy and such a great alternative to buying a new piece,” Lucas says. “We love that we put our creative spin on it and we’re able to really give our daughter a piece of furniture that she can use in years to come.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.