Before and After: A 1970s Dresser Gets a Statement-Making Two-Toned Redo for $150

published May 5, 2022
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Before: Brown wooden dresser

Furniture flippers have a gift for seeing potential in old, beat-up furniture. When they hunt for new pieces to transform, they’re looking for quality wood, quality joinery, on-trend silhouettes, and the right price point, of course.

When pro furniture flipper Courtney Weisel (@steelbirchstudios) saw this 1970s dresser by furniture manufacturer Fleischman & Sons, she knew it’d be great for sanding and painting. “The finish was worn in many areas, but I could see that it had incredible wood that just needed to be revealed,” she says.

Courtney was drawn to the piece because it had “solid construction, great storage, [a] simple/modern design, and beautiful wood grain.”

One of her goals in transforming the piece was to “simplify the design” by detaching the mirror, ditching some of the dated pulls, and sanding down some of the detailing on the legs. “Adding color and highlighting the wood” were her other two objectives.

“One of my favorite finishes to create is giving a piece a ‘dipped’ look,” Courtney says. To do this, she spent the first day of the project deep cleaning the dresser, then she sanded off the thick ’70s varnish.

“I spent the next several days sanding down to the raw wood on the top half of the piece, stripping the top drawers [and] details, and scuff sanding the bottom portion in preparation for primer and paint,” she says.

Courtney says sanding the legs was a risk that paid off and modernized the piece. “Take your time with sanding and prep!” Courtney advises. “The extra hours of work will ensure your piece is lasting and will stand the test of time.”

Once the dresser was ready to paint, Courtney carefully marked and taped a straight line across the piece and painted the bottom portion a forest-meets-olive green (Eventide by Melange Paints). “I love the depth of the color next to the beautiful natural wood,” she says. She gave the exposed wood a light paint wash before sealing.

To finish off the piece, Courtney painted the original horizontal pulls a brassy gold shade using a gold leafing pen and swapped the dated ring-shaped ones for small brass knobs. In total, the new look cost about $150 to create. And now, the solidly built piece can make it another 50 years with its fresh new look.

Says Courtney: “It’s a true statement piece that’s modern and refined.”