Before and After: Dresser

Last weekend I found a dresser in our alley, well technically it wasn’t our alley, it was Spring cleaning in our building and people just put stuff in a pile and it gets removed a week later. I spotted this well made dresser hiding under a few items and decided I had to have it.

With a bit of a struggle getting it into our apartment (by myself because Andrew was away for the weekend), I started stripping off the ugly high gloss varnish. Ideally I wanted to have wood legs, painted drawers and a wood top, but it just wasn’t going to happen. The legs were made from a light wood and the top was a walnut veneer, so things weren’t going to match up unless I purchased stain, even then it would still look a little off because of the grain and how the wood soaks up the stain. So I focused on fixing up the top and painted the rest of it. Check out the transformation below.

dresser before and after
dresser before and after
dresser before and after

I used brass hardware because it seemed to be the right fit with the wood top and it added some character to an otherwise pretty plain makeover. The paint is Snowfall White from Benjamin Moore in high-gloss and I did a few coats of Tung Oil on the wood veneer top.


  1. Hi — I was hoping you could tell me where you got the pulls for the dresser. I’m doing a similar project and am having trouble finding brass edge pulls that aren’t entirely plain.


  2. i have an old dresser made from maple in the same colour as your before – what did you do/buy to prep it for painting? i’ve been wanting to paint it white for some time now… any advice would be great! thanks!

    1. hi Sarah,

      For prep, you just have to use a decent sandpaper, I used 220 grit followed by 120. Sand it all over, wipe it down with a damp cloth. Let it dry and apply a few coats of a quality primer with a mini paint roller. For the final coat of paint, make sure to talk to your paint store about what type of paint is good for furniture. I used Advanced by Benjamin Moore, it’s high-gloss and self levelling so it leaves the surface nice and smooth. I applied the final coat with a mini roller as well. Best of luck!

  3. I have an old stroller from a neighbor who was throwing it away. Do I redo it or make a flowers holder. It’s antique and wooden.

    1. Thanks! I carefully stripped the surface with wood stripper,,following the instructions on the can. Once the old chipped varnish was removed, I sanded lightly because I didn’t want to damage the super thin wood veneer. Then I applied several thin coats of tung oil. Hope that helps!

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