Happy Monday, ya’ll!
Our internet is down at home (#ruraltownpobs) so I’m posted up at a local lunch spot so that I can report in on my most recent furniture project. As ya’ll know, we purchased this dresser from a local antique market for baby Gray’s nursery.

I actually liked the way it looked in it’s full Retro Brady Glory, but
it clearly needed just a tiny bit of love and attention. Seeing as this would be my first time rehabbing a piece of wood furniture, I did what any sane person would do and scoured Pinterest for tutorials, supply lists and methodology. Despite all of my research, I made many, many newbie mistakes and will happily report them all so that you can avoid them should you ever take on a restoration project.

So, here’s what I used:

medium grit sand paper
a rag
a mask (if you’re pregnant or sensitive to dust from 1970)
drop cloth or something to protect your work space
paint (the finish of the paint does not matter and you definitely do not need an entire gallon)
Polyurethane Seal (this is where you pick your finish…choose accordingly!)
paint brushes
small roller
paint tray
spray paint for finishes or new hardware


Drag the furniture piece to your work space
(somewhere well ventilated and somewhat protected from the elements)

Remove all drawers, doors and hardware

Bag hardware with their accompanying screws in little plastic baggies for easy re-attachment later

Use the medium grit sandpaper block to give all surfaces a good rough sanding.

The goal is to give the paint something to attach to besides the smooth coat of seal already on the piece.

(I wore a mask for this part, just for baby’s sake)
Don’t forget to sand drawer faces and door fronts
You can also use this opportunity to sand off any “imperfections”. My dresser had sticky remnants of a very old price tag on the top corner…I spent a few extra seconds in that area and it was history.

Wipe off all dust with a slightly damp rag.

(Pro Tip: this step is messy…don’t use your Willams Sonoma dish towels)

After lots of researching, I/Justin decided not to spend the money on primer. The paint color we chose came in a paint and primer in one and we decided to use the first coat of paint as the primer.

I am happy with this method but you should know that if you don’t prime, the first coat of paint will look really, really rogue.

Don’t panic over the appearance, this layer truly does serve as the primer layer and won’t necessarily save you time, but it will save you a teeny bit of money.

Things will look better after coat #2

I used a roller and a paint brush to apply my coats of paint- make sure to paint a thin layer each time and let it dry between coats. The drying will be the longest part of the entire project…but it makes a difference. If you rush it, you will get globs of paint and obvious mistakes…trust me. I did little projects between each layer and let each dry for approximately an hour and half before I painted again.

I applied three coats of paint (including the primer layer) before I was satisfied that the entire piece was coated evenly and the color was what I hoped for.

At this point, I really thought the hard part was over…but I was wrong.

When applying the seal, you must be very careful to apply very, very thin coats with brush strokes that are even and in the same direction. While the seal will dry clear, it will also show where you applied brush strokes in different directions or smushed it on in thick blobs. I know this because we applied two thick, willy nilly coats of seal and then the next morning, I hated the outcome. I ended up re-painting over the seal layers and then re-sealing.
It was tedious.

Also, be careful to use a clean paintbrush free of lint or dust when applying the seal. If your paint brush has any sort of debris on it, it will get stuck in the seal and you will most definitely see it when the seal coat dries….

While everything is drying for the final time, spray paint your fixtures.

 I gave mine a few good coats and that was that.
Attach all fixtures, drawers and doors – make sure that when the drawers and doors are reattached that you can’t see any chunks of the original stain or color. I needed to go back and paint a bit of the interior to ensure that you couldn’t see the original wood when the doors were closed.

Also, be prepared that you may need to purchase new screws or hardware if you piece is old. Our screws were stripped and we ran to Lowe’s to grab a few extras to get the doors back on.

And viola!
A brand new dresser/changing table for baby Gray!


Justin requested the silver paint on the original hardware and I think it gives the dresser an industrial look…very boy!

Once you get one project under your belt, this really is an easy task to accomplish. I’m currently in the process of working on another piece for our entry way!

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