Friday, April 19, 2013

{Re*Made}: Master Bedroom Dressers Redo


How to Get Matching Furniture Without Buying Matching Furniture {be made designs}
When the hubs and I moved into our current home, we downsized on furniture pieces because, well, we didn't have the space.  But some pieces were also let go because it was time to grow up.  When we married, our household furniture collections combined.  We weren't in a position to buy a full house of new furniture, so we made do with what we had.
But, with this move, and with all the changes going on in our lives, we were ready to grow up, or at least have our furniture grow up.  {I'm not sure I can say that we have grown up!}  We also were ready for our pieces to be about our personality as a couple, not an eclectic collection of our past lives.

This is the story of our bedroom dressers.  Our particle board, build-it-yourself dressers.  I kinda wish I had some before before pictures so you can see what we were dealing with in the beginning.  My dresser-in-a-box was from my first dorm room, which is just nearly 10 years ago {eek, really?!}.  It had at least 5 moves under its belt before we came to our current home.  Those things aren't meant to survive that much abuse.  My hubby's dresser was in much better condition, even after all the traveling, so we still have it for storage purposes.  But with the decision to get rid of them, we had to find replacements quick.

We had one already:  a solid wood chest of drawers that I had in my apartment for extra storage.  But I had painted it.  And not very well, I might add.  It was a cherry wood finish and I just don't do red woods.  So I painted it black.  Which worked in our old home.  But not here. 

His Dresser Before

We decided that would be the "His" dresser.  But we still need the "Hers."  Luck was on our side.  On a visit to a local junk/antique store {our favorites!}, hubby came across another solid wood chest of drawers similar--in that it was solid wood--to the one we had at a great price.  So he snatched it up and brought home my dresser.  This dresser was finished in walnut, which I love, but clashed with his black dresser, and truthfully, neither look was good for our bedroom, or at least what I am trying to do in our bedroom.

Hers Dresser Before

Now, we've had these dressers for almost two years, and it took me almost that long to figure out how I wanted to refinish them.  I eventually decided to do something neutral in color, and something different on the drawers.  First, I had thought to stencil a pattern onto the drawers, but then I decided to make my life easier and cover the drawers in wrapping paper.  With that decision made, I then had to find the perfect paper.  Much easier said than done.  I didn't want it to be too girly since I was going to cover hubby's dresser in it too, but I didn't want to go modern or bright.  We actually stumbled upon a kraft wrapping paper {great neutral color} that had a white pattern printed on it.  With hubby's approval of pattern, I bought a couple of rolls. 

Now, for the paint color.  Because I wanted the drawers to pop, I decided to paint the body of the dressers in a creamy white.  I knew I wanted to poly the drawers after the paper was applied to protect it, so while in the paint department, I got my paper sample wet and matched a white based on how it would look coated in a poly.

Paper bought, paint bought, time to get started.

This was not going to be a done-in-a-day project, so I painted the bodies first.  First things first, I gave each a light sanding.  As you can see, the black dresser was in desperate need of a paint job anyways. 

{be made designs}

My hubby had built himself a little mini-drawer to sit on top of his dresser to hold his miscellaneous doo-dads and still have space on top for his everyday doo-dads.  I decided to treat it like the body of the dresser and paint it creamy white, then add a matching knob.

{be made designs}

I had to do multiple coats of each, which took most of the day.

Day 2 of the project, I tackled hubby's drawers.  I removed the knobs, then set the drawer on the paper to cut the right size.  I allowed for quite a bit of overage just in case.  I then used a spray adhesive to attach the paper to the drawer. 

{be made designs}

I remembered a trick our professors taught us when we had to put together our project boards in college.  The best way to get our drawings and materials to stick to our boards was to use rubber cement.  To create an almost permanent bond, you spread an even coat of the glue onto each surface:  the board and the paper/material, etc.  Allow each to dry.  Then attach one to the other.  It is extremely difficult to remove it.  This doesn't work too well if you are trying to get a perfect alignment because you can't pick the paper up and redo.  But it creates a heck of a bond.  Most of my project boards are still intact using that method, which as I mentioned are nearly 10 years old.

{be made designs}

Because spray glue is basically rubber cement, I used that same logic when applying the paper to the drawers.  I sprayed an even coat on the drawer face, then the back of the wrapping paper and allowed each to dry, no more than one minute.  I found if I let it dry too long, the paper would bubble.  Go figure.

Luckily with the pattern on the paper, the position of the paper didn't really matter.  I carefully laid the paper over the drawer, and starting from the center, worked my way out attaching the paper to the drawer face.

Use spray adhesive to attach wrapping paper to drawer fronts {be made designs}

Once I had all five drawers covered, I trimmed the overage so that the paper would just cover the inside edges of the drawer face.  I did not spray the glue {or at least did my best not to} on the inside of the drawer so I used actual rubber cement to attach the paper to the inside edges of the drawer face, using the technique I mentioned above.

{be made designs}

{be made designs}

{be made designs}

I cut out the holes for the drawer pulls before I applied the poly so I wouldn't be cutting into the poly.  I used a clear satin interior poly for the drawers, and followed the instructions on the can for application.  I was a bit worried at first:  when I applied the poly my paper wrinkled.  A lot.  I tried to smooth them out while wet to no avail.  But, once the poly had dried, the wrinkles smoothed back out on their own.  Yay!  So, don't fret should it happen to you.

{be made designs}

{be made designs}
Not a whole lotta difference, but there is a difference.
The knobs I found I just love.  I think I'm becoming a knob snob!  I had to find just the perfect set, and I think I did.  They are green, but a neutral green.  It works.  So once the poly was dry, I attached the knobs.

{be made designs}

It looks sooooooo good!  I loved my hubby's reaction when he came home and saw the finished product: "When the dresser was black, it stuck out in the room, like this big, bulky piece of furniture.  Now it blends with the wall and doesn't feel like it's in the middle of the room."  He loved it, even when I worried that the paper was still a bit girly.

His Dresser After

Day 3 I followed the exact same steps for my dresser drawers.  What I love about my dresser is the same as hubby's: it's not a hunk of furniture in the middle of the room, but also that detail at the bottom now pops!  You really wouldn't notice it before because it blended with our wood floors.  But now you see it, and I love it!

Hers Dresser After

These turned out just like I had hoped they would and now we have matching dressers, even though they aren't matching pieces of furniture.  I am now considering this idea for nightstands, since we had differing ideas on what we want for our bedside tables.

I am now one step closer to being able to finally show you our master bedroom of {Our Old House}.  Crazy to think it's taken 2 years, but when you are decorating on a budget, things take time.  Not to mention {as I have before} I am my own worst client and have a hard time knowing what I want before I change my mind, ha ha!

So, whadya think??

His Dresser Before & After {be made designs}

Hers Dresser Before & After {be made designs}

So much prettier! (:

Hope you found a lil bit of inspiration!

ta-ta for now!

Linking up here:


  1. Yes! These look so fabulous now.

  2. Believe it or not, I made a magnetic board using that same paper and made a white frame around it too. I sold it at a craft show. I even used the same spray adhesive.

    I have to say that it looks fabulous done with dressers!!

    1. Thank you! I can imagine how cute your board was. I love that paper! Thanks for visiting. (:

  3. Love the paper you choose for these dressers - so pretty. I've been using Modge Podge but I'm thinking the spray adhesive would create less air bubbles. Is it instant contact or is there some play room for moving the paper around to just the right position? Your dresser makeover caught my eye over at the Get Your DIY On Party.

    1. The spray adhesive is pretty much instant contact. You can carefully pull the paper up and try to reposition, but you won't be able to slide the paper around to get it just right. That's what I loved about the pattern with this paper -- I didn't have to worry about precision, ha ha! So glad you stopped by for a look! (:

  4. It is so fun and unique! Love how it turned out! Thanks so much for linking up, Jenni!

    ~Abby =)


So what did you think? I'd love to know!

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