Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Inspired Wednesday - Refurbished!

This project has taken approximately 7 days (on-and-off) and I'm excited to share the final product!  First of all, I took an old dresser that really wasn't anything special (we actually tried to sell it at our garage sale for $10 and nobody wanted it...) and with a little inspiration, some determination and a need to feel productive, I armed myself with an electric sander, some stain and white paint and dug right in! 

Here's what the dresser looked like BEFORE:
It was pretty dated, the handles were all loose and bent, we didn't like the color of the stain, and the top was a mess of gunked up/chipping off old varnish - BUT, it did have really nice, big drawers for storage and it was still very solid, so I knew it had potential :)

So I enlisted my army of materials and got to it. I tried using a chemical stripper (which probably wasn't the best idea, granted I was working INSIDE, but I had a mask on!) which worked really well for most parts of the dresser, but I learned the hard way that just because it LOOKS like all the varnish is gone, doesn't mean it is. 

After I put one coat of stain on, I noticed it was covering very splotchy-like and realized the stripper didn't get all the old varnish off. So, I backtracked a bit, pulled out my handy-dandy electric sander and removed all the remaining varnish that way. 

If you look closely, you can see the 'splotchy' texture... I thought it might've been just stained from the chemical stripper, but alas, the varnish just wasn't completely gone.

After it was all sanded (live and learn...) I played around in Photoshop with some ideas for staining/painting the piece before committing. I even posted the ideas on Facebook for my friends to help me decide because I have a real problem with decision making. (thanks, guys!) Number 5 was the clear favorite! (and Justin's choice as well!)
I found from this great blog while I was researching and fell in LOVE with a dresser that they were re-finishing for their nursery. I loved their idea of staining AND painting the piece, not just one or the other. I pretty much followed their process all the way through - they did a great step-by-step! What would I do without the internet?!  (I'm officially addicted to this blog - they have the greatest ideas for home decor, etc. and they're really good about sharing how they did it on a budget! It is DEFINITELY worth checking out!! I can shamelessly spend hours browsing through their home improvement ideas...)

After I had a plan, I applied a coat of Minwax Red Mahogany stain and let it dry for a good 3 days. (the humidity around here didn't allow for any 'quick' dry times...) 

While the stain was drying, I painted the white parts with a Valspar flat white paint and after that, it was a matter of just applying a coat of polyurethane to seal the wood! (Come to find out, the ONLY stain that you can't use a water-based poly with happens to be 'red mahogany' ... oh, live and learn...)  

After the entire piece was dry and cleaned up, attaching knobs/handles was the last challenge, and voila! DONE!

This being my first refinishing project, it certainly came with its fair share of mistakes and many of the parts took 3 times as long as they should, because I would have to go back and re-do them, BUT I think it turned out rather well! I even enjoy the inconsistencies in color (which I'm sure wasn't 'supposed to' happen) but who doesn't like a little character?! :)  

I hope this inspires you to see the potential in your 'eyesore' pieces and do something with them! I'm so glad I took on this project and look forward to more in the future! (make sure to check out Young House Love - if I didn't inspire you, this couple is sure to win you over!


  1. Your dresser seriously looks amazing! What room is this in your house? Maybe you could find a big mirror to stain/paint and hang above it! I'm glad you are having fun!!

  2. Ooohh! I mirror! What a fantastic idea! I'm REALLY struggling with what/where to hang things on the walls... thanks for the idea!