How to Paint a Dresser

If you’re like me, you just love free stuff.  Who doesn’t?  What’s great is that free stuff gives you the freedom to mess it up or turn it into something awesome.  That’s exactly what I did with a solid wood dresser that my wonderful father-in-law gifted to us.  Here’s how I painted a wooden dresser to match my bedroom.

So first thing’s first.  Get your materials together:

  1. Drop cloths
  2. Sander (orbital is most forgiving or by hand),  120 and 220 grit sandpaper
  3. Wood filler that can be painted
  4. Rags
  5. Foam roller (for paint) and foam brush (for protective coat)
  6. Primer and Latex Paint (color of your choice)
  7. Protective Coat (Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish is popular and easy to work with)


The sanding process usually produces tons of sawdust so doing this part outside worked best for me.   When you’re ready to start, clear out everything from  your dresser and remove the drawers.

How to Paint a Dresser - Chic Design Geek



Now we can take off all the hardware from the dressers and set them aside.  You made decide to give these a fresh coat of paint to match your dresser makeover or buy entirely new ones.

How to Paint a Dresser - Chic Design Geek


Now we get our sander and sand down the fronts of the drawers and all the outer surfaces of the dresser.  We want to remove the outer finish and smooth out any dents by using the 120 grit sandpaper, which is more coarse and best for this part.

At this point, if you have any holes or gouges you can use the wood filler.  Just follow the directions on the container for this.  After the wood filler has dried, switch out the sandpaper to the 220 grit sandpaper and do a final sanding of all the surfaces again.

Wipe down with a damp rag to get all the sawdust off our surface to prepare it for the painting step.

How to Paint a Dresser - Chic Design Geek


Now the fun part, let’s paint!  For this step, I had to move the newly sanded-and-wiped-down dresser indoors because it was getting dark.  I placed them on top of the drop cloth in my dining room.  I had some charcoal black paint that I had purchased from Walmart.  I used a foam roller for this part and put on two coats of paint with about an hour in between coats.

When the paint was completely dry, I sealed it with some protective coat that I had leftover from my Rust-Oleum® Cabinet Transformations kit that I used to transform my kitchen cabinets.  But the Minwax polycrylic protective finish works perfectly as well. I used the foam brush for this process because it didn’t leave bubbles like the foam roller did.

How to Paint a Dresser - Chic Design Geek


Almost done… Add in the drawer pulls, either painted over or brand spankin’ new ones and voila, you are done!

Step back and admire the beauty of your handiwork.



I didn’t have a chance to style my dresser because I was just too excited to have it done.  I’m sure you can imagine some awesome, cool stuff on it though.


Love, Lucy




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8 thoughts on “How to Paint a Dresser

  1. How much would you estimate all the materials cost for this entire project? Not including the dresser itself =)

    • I would estimate about $20 for a quart of paint and protective coat; about $10 for brushes, dropcloth, sandpaper; and $20 depending on what kind of new hardware you may want. So around $40 total. Hope this helps!

  2. Thank you for this! I’m considering doing a similar piece, and your info is very helpful.

  3. Pingback: 101 Smart Home Remodeling Ideas on a Budget | homedesignfind

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