Healthy Balance, Healthy Life

Dresser Rehab!

Posted on: July 28, 2010

I bought a $50 used dresser at ReSource here in Burlington and I completely revamped it. Ever tried this before? It’s my first time and I think the hard work payed off!

From This (Bought for $50 at a recycled goods store)

To This!

If you want to try this yourself, here’s a step by step outline of what you should do (Pictures of the process follow):

  • Using a putty knife, fill cracks and hardware holes (if you want to re-do the placement of your hardware) with wood filler and let it dry.
  • Sand all surfaces (this includes the back, bottom, insides of the drawers, etc.) starting with 220 grit sandpaper, then 320, then 400. I suck up all of the sanding residue with a vacuum cleaner but it’s still very messy! If you’re trying this, definitely cover surrounding areas with old sheets or other protective coverings.
  • Apply a coat of primer to all surfaces using a 2 inch roller brush and a 2 inch painting brush, including the edges and interiors of all drawers. I applied two coats to the sides and interiors because I wanted a nice opaque white finish. One coat is sufficient for the job, whether or not you choose to apply more is up to your personal aesthetic preferences.
  • Now tape around the interior of the drawers so they stay white and paint the fronts black! I did three coats of semi gloss black paint but you don’t need that much. I’m just a perfectionist!
  • Slowly pull the painters tape off to reveal perfectly clean lines.

If you have not filled the hardware holes, either use the hardware it came with or purchase new pulls or knobs.

  • If your dresser came with knobs, you can purchase any kind.
  • If your dresser came with pulls, measure the length from hole to hole and get a pull with the same length.

If you have filled the hardware holes to re-do the placement or get new hardware (this allows you to switch from knobs to pulls and vice versa as well as switch from a different length of pull)…

  • Mark where you want the hardware to go. I used knobs and I put mine in the center (both lengthwise and widthwise) of the smaller top drawers and then lined the knobs for the bigger drawers up with the top drawers. I did this by measuring how far in the knobs on the smaller drawers were from the side of the dresser and then marking accordingly on the bigger dressers.
  • Drill holes where you’ve marked (I used a drill bit that fits into my screwdriver. You can get these at any hardware store, just look for the drill bits with the hexagonal bottom or ask for help).
  • Drive the screws through the holes from the inside of the drawers out.
  • Twist the knob onto the screw.
  • All done!

Mentioned in this post:

Visual Directions

Hardware holes filled with wood filler

Cracks and uneven surfaces filled with wood filler

Smooth sanded drawers

In the process of sanding a large portion of dried wood filler

Drawer after one coat of primer.

Drawers after two coats of primer.

  • After three coats of paint

    All painted and put together

Mark of where the knob will go.

Both the drill bit and screw driver bit here fit into the screwdriver chuck.

Drilling the hole for the screw.

Screw in place viewed from inside the drawer.

The screw viewed from the outside of the drawer. This is what the knob itself is screwed onto.

Knob twisted onto the screw. All done!


1 Response to "Dresser Rehab!"

[…] in, sprucing up and decorating the apartment has taken up a big chunk of my time. This summer I completely revamped an old dresser I bought for $50 at a thrift store and I painted every room in the apartment except for the kitchen […]

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I am a 22 year old social work graduate student living in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. I love do-it-yourself projects, being active, and cooking delicious, healthy food! Feel free to leave comments or email me at You can also anonymously ask me questions at I would love to hear from you!

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