Before and After: A Childhood Dresser Gets a Grown-Up New Look for $60

published May 10, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: Blue dresser with silver knobs

Keeping furniture from your childhood to use in your grown-up home can be really special. But sometimes, childhood tastes don’t quite translate to adult spaces (even if the piece is sentimental and well-made).

Don’t worry — Apartment Therapy’s got you covered for preventing this problem in several ways, from ideas for shopping for stylish kid furniture from the get-go, to inspiring kid furniture flips, to advice for embracing something a little more youthful.

In the case of this blue dresser, Katie Kalogriopoulos and her boyfriend, Steve Molder, wanted to give the childhood piece a grown-up revamp. Steve has used this dresser since he was a kid, but it didn’t quite match their shared home. “It didn’t go with the general vibe I was going for in our bedroom,” Katie explains, but “besides the paint job and drawer pulls, it was in great shape!”

Katie and Steve have been working on several DIY projects to revamp their Chicago apartment (@thecrookedcasa) and decided to tackle this dresser first because it seemed a fairly straightforward project. One early surprise: Removing the thick blue paint took longer than they’d initially thought.

“We tried stripping the paint off but didn’t have any luck,” Katie says. “The only thing I would change is going straight to sanding and not dealing with trying to strip the paint!”

Katie did the sanding, hole-filling, and painting, and Steve drilled the new holes for the new pulls. “Overall, it was a good weekend project,” Katie says.

For the new color, they chose Behr’s Limosene Leather, and the sleek beechwood drawer pulls came from Etsy. “I love how modern this looks now!” Katie says.

Katie’s advice for transforming wood furniture is to invest in quality paint and to not rush with the sanding and paint job. “I’m most proud that I took the time to do this right,” she says. “I didn’t just throw new paint on top of the old stuff, and I know that doing it right will help it last for years to come.”

She also advises giving DIY a try before buying something new. “Why spend a ton of money on a new dresser when a little paint is all it needs?” she says. “Be patient and know you can turn any old piece of furniture into something beautiful.”