dresser makeover

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Thanks for your encouraging and understanding words yesterday~it’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do for the soul! And thank goodness not every day is like that, right?? It’s hard to know the right balance of whining and complaining on the blog, but trying to keep it real, so thank you.
Let’s move more into my comfort zone: dressers!
I found this one at the thrift store and loved it, but it was $150.  Oh c’mon, you know I can’t stomach paying that for a thrift store dresser! I asked the cashier if they had any 50% off furniture days coming up and she thought maybe the next Friday. Oh please, please, please let it be here when I come back…
It was! Believe me, there are plenty of pieces I would have loved that didn’t make it to the 50% day, but this one was mean to be. march 2012 007

Probably because it was super scratched on top? It was made by Dixie furniture and has beautiful, solid dove-tailed drawers, it was just too….orange sunset for me.march 2012 009

I sanded the top down, cleaned it up, primed it, and then sprayed a couple of coats of heirloom white. (from rustoleum at home depot)  You can see all of the junk that I’m using to put the room together on the side.! And I would *love* to find a pretty new alarm clock. I’ve had that one since I was in middle school. Is there such thing as a pretty digital alarm clock? Have you seen any?
picture of dresser makeover redo

Oh, and I have to tell you! The drawers had kind of a musty, old smell and I saw this tip on Pinterest where she suggested filling the bottom of the drawers with kitty litter, closing them, then leaving them for a week. It totally worked and absorbed most of the odor.

I didn’t do anything to the hardware~it was exactly what I wanted. march 2012 027 1

Master bedroom is coming along, but there have been plenty of snags. *sigh* there always are. At least in this house.
Much more coming!signature


  1. Wow that's gorgeous! Just curious how many cans of spray paint this took?

  2. I've also heard that washing out the drawers with straight vinegar will work. :)

    Dani M.

  3. Beautiful melissa! Recently bought a similar set (tall dresser and short one ) for $35 at salvation army! My hubby and i couldnt imagine what was going through the pricing persons mind on that one! Anyway we painted it the long way (grrrr) and yours looks great with just the spraypaint!

  4. It was about 3 cans, but we used white primer. If you use gray primer, you may need more to cover it up. Good luck!

  5. I happened upon your blog just by accident through a google search, and imagine my surprise to find the exact same dresser that I have (as well as the matching mirror which I use as a headboard, the highboy, and the nightstands- all inherited from my husband's grandmother. There are pictures on my blog, but I don't think you can see very well:

    My set was kept in good condition by hubby's grandmother, and it just needed a cleaning up. I liek the way yours looks white, though! 

  6.  Love that dresser!  It is so rare to find good furniture at thrift stores here...at least when I'm there.  Maybe I just go at the wrong times...I did find a couple chairs for free on the side of the road that I'm re-doing as soon as it warms up enough for me to spray paint them.  I hope they turn out!

  7. did you spray the interior of the drawers as well?  if not, how did you avoid having spray paint squirt everywhere inside without it making a big mess?

  8. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 1:24 PM

    Hi Ashlee! I don't spray inside the drawers, and there is a little overspray, but I don't mind because clothes are covering it up. You could definitely spray inside, or line the drawers with pretty paper. :) Have a great weekend~

  9. Kelltothayes1/8/14, 1:28 PM

    That is beautiful.  Can't wait to see the room!

  10. Ok so you spray painted this dresser? I am totally excited if that is the case because I am still an amateur at painting furniture and spray paint is my weapon of choice!! I love this btw and I also want to state that my thrift stores NEVER have cute furniture like this. I need to move away from Chicago.....to the south preferably. :) Great job as always Melissa!

  11. Victoria Smith1/8/14, 2:54 PM

    Please share if you find a pretty alarm clock!  I think the one in my bedroom is from high school and I cannot change the radio station it wakes me up to.  We have talked about getting a new alarm clock but I don't want ugly. ;)

    Love the dresser!  So glad it was still there on half price day.

    Also, thank you for the kitty litter tip!  I could have used that in my cabinet that "smelled like the 70's" according to my husband. 

  12. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 2:57 PM

    You are right. Not a good choice of words, and you all know the smell I'm speaking of without calling it that. I would never want to give the impression that I don't absolutely love and honor the generation that sacrificed so much for us. I changed it~thank you!

  13. OH! i have a bathroom vanity that we can't replace for a little while... and it smells like old people! THANKS! i'm going to get me some kitty litter.

  14. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 2:58 PM

    Hi Shayleen~
    I think it would be beautiful with a dark brown stain! If I had more patience and time I would have gone with the staining route. I love the lines of it too :)

  15. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 2:58 PM

    So good to hear from you, Christina! Let me know if it works. Others have said coffee beans work too~

  16. Beautiful makeover!!  My son has an old style alarm clock with the little bells and an arm that goes back and forth on top.  It has a really annoying ring, but it looks really good.  I think it was around $10 at Walmart.  

  17. That looks so amazing! And thanks for the tip on kitty litter. I was still watching craigslist for a nightstand and now own 2. Hopefully I can sell the original. Kind of ironic to have been lusting after a nightstand for 4 years and now I have not one but two!

  18.  SCORE!  That is such a beautiful piece.  I have to confess that I actually like that stain color.  Shhh, don't tell anyone.  That is a beautiful transformation for a scratched piece though. You may have just saved her life!

  19. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 6:04 PM

    I always have spray painted thumbs too! Thanks for sharing~it looks like a new piece!

  20. Christina Hull1/8/14, 6:11 PM

    Beautiful, Melissa. What would we do without paint. I'm also going to try the kitty litter idea.  I have a piece that has a smell and needs some help.

    As Time Goes By

  21. modern_jane1/8/14, 6:13 PM

    Great find! I am painting a dresser today to and steered away from my go to white this time. Yours reminds me of why I love white so much:)

  22. I loved that dresser from the first time you posted about it!  I'm so glad it was still there and what a steal at $75!  I just redid a dresser too that had the same musty smell.  I just used a little Clorox and water and that seemed to work.  Plus, it was outside for several days during the painting.  Here's a link to my finished product.

  23. Um, I have that EXACT same alarm clock! 

  24. melissa*320 sycamore1/16/14, 10:43 PM

    Ooooh, great tip. Thank you!

  25. melissa*320 sycamore1/16/14, 10:45 PM

    That is very cool. I love the color! I do like having digital though so I can see it blurry eyed across the room at 2 a.m....

  26. If you don't need a digital clock or radio, I think this 
    http://www.amazon.com/Westclox-1950-Moonbeam-Alarm-Clock/dp/B0030DJ2VM/ref=sr_1_52?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1333487799&sr=1-52 would be the last word in style. And, I'd love to be woken gently with a soft light!

  27. LL Bean's catalog has some really cute alarm clocks in different colors.

  28. Soooooo jealous! It's just what I have been searching for high and low for our family room. Arg!
    I LOVE the hardware! You are so lucky it was all there. : )
    Nice job...looks beautiful.

  29. Shayleen Lunt1/16/14, 11:00 PM

    Hey Melissa.  I totally have that same dresser, but in the taller, four drawer version!  I love it too.  I used to nanny years ago and when I got married, my old nanny boss let me know she was getting rid of some furniture and told me to come take a look.  She said she got it at a flea market.  I love it too!  Luckily mine is in great shape and isn't orange, but a dark brown and so it matches my nursery furniture great!  I love the curved drawers and hardware too!  I guess I'm just happy to think that you picked out a piece of furniture that I have liked for several years now.  I feel so cool ;)

  30. Beautiful, Melissa! It was obviously meant to go home with you! Love the paint color with the hardware.

    Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions

  31. Love, love, love this dresser!  Is that a keyhole in the middle?  I will definitely have to try the kitty litter tip! Thanks :) 

  32. If you find a cute digital alarm clock, PLEASE share! They are SO ugly and I've been looking at them for the master. Great dresser!
    P.S. Loved yesterday's post. Love knowing that 'those' days happen to others as well. We don't always have it all together as blogland sometimes shows. So thanks.

  33. melissa*320 sycamore1/16/14, 11:05 PM

    Oh Dixie, you need it just for name! I saw the taller version of it at an antique store and it was $600, so I was feeling pretty good about the $75. How much was it going for at the auction?

  34. Beautiful dresser!  Each of my girls have an older piece that we painted for them, and they love them!  I saw a post recently about using coffee beans as well.

  35. Oh, that dresser is gorgeous! I love it with the white paint! I have a desk that is extremely similar to your dresser, same hardware and everything. I stained it black 1.5 years ago because I, too, did not appreciate the orange-y color, but I also replaced the hardware because it was just too antique-y for me. But I love the look of the classic hardware on white :) You can check out my desk here, if you want: 

  36. This is beautiful! You did a great job and I love the lines of this dresser. I have a very similar style that I use as a sofa table that I re-did last year with the same hardware! Looks great and I can't wait to see the final room! 

  37. Decormaven491/16/14, 11:05 PM

    I was reading the posting on the Isabella & Max Rooms blog recently that dealt w/ a smoky smelling dresser.  She places coffee grounds in the drawers in cups as I recall and said that it took away the smoke odor.  Maybe that will help w/ your unwanted scents!

  38. Just found this site with all sorts of crazy and fun digital clocks and thought of you. :) http://www.ahalife.com/store/?sort=relevance&q=clock

    1. I actually have the dresser and chest of drawers exactly like the one you found. I hesitate about painting it because it is old and made of mahogany. However, my newly renovated bedroom needs white furniture to go with the serene feel I created in there. Everyone told me I had to go through so many steps to get them painted white, saying that unless I primed them with this special stuff, that the mahogany would come through as pink spots and I don't won't that. I think I may just take on spraying them after prepping as you did. Thanks for the info.

  39. Hi, i am from the netherlands and love to read your blog. I use grounded??coffee, (not the beans) to get rid of nasty


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