Before and After: A Cheap Secondhand Dresser Gets a Sleek, Stylish Makeover for $30

published Oct 20, 2023
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About this before & after
Home Type
Historic Home
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly

If you’re an experienced furniture flipper, you might know that sometimes, when it comes to completely transforming a dresser or credenza or table, it’s all in the legs. 

This £5 (or $6.09) Facebook Marketplace find from Kelly Rowland (@houseatnumber30) had vintage Queen Anne-style legs before, which didn’t totally fit the more contemporary vision Kelly had for the dresser. Neither did the layers of high-gloss and emulsion paint on the piece.

“But underneath the wood was great condition,” Kelly says. “I knew the piece had potential underneath all the layers of paint. It just needed some love and attention.”

A heavy-duty paint scraper was key. 

At first, Kelly tried to remove the top coat of gloss on the piece with an electric heat gun. “Some places it just peeled off easier, but some just clogged up,” she says. She had better luck using a heavy-duty paint scraper, like this one.

“It had seen a lot of different paints over the years,” Kelly says of the dresser. Once she removed all those layers, she smoothed the piece with a sander and cleaned it off for the furniture paint process. Kelly’s other go-to furniture-flipping tools are her mouse sander and her electric screwdriver. “These are tools that can help you with other jobs in the house, not just upcycling,” she says.

Khaki-colored paint and gold handles make it modern.

Kelly used three coats of Autentico’s Vintage Chalk Paint in Linen for the chest of drawers, and she actually used a kitchen sponge for the paint job rather than a brush because she didn’t want any brushstrokes on the piece. 

“Painting a piece always is a bit daunting at the time,” Kelly says. “You don’t know if it will take, or if it will bleed through from a previous stain finish. But luckily enough, this one didn’t need any primer and just three coats of the vintage furniture paint.” 

After the three coats, she added a wax sealer, and then drilled holes for new hardware. “A little tip: Place a piece of wood behind [the drawer front] so the wood doesn’t split,” Kelly writes on Instagram. It “helps for a clean drill hole.” Her drawer pulls are from Shein, and the legs were an eBay find. Her project total was £25, or about $30. Kelly says the straight legs make the piece look totally new. “I love the pop of the gold from the handles and the feet that I fitted,” she says.

“I absolutely love the outcome of the piece,” she adds. “It matches my newly decorated bedroom perfectly.” (How great does it look against the Lick Canopy 01 wallpaper backdrop?) For more furniture redo ideas, check out these 17 painted dresser transformations.