Duo Ventures

Friday, May 3, 2013

Office Storage: Thrift Store Dresser Makeover

A few weeks ago we posted our office reveal & this week we wanted to include a more detailed post about our thrift store makeover.  This project all started when we decided to turn our formal dining room into a home office.  We needed to find some sort of credenza/dresser piece that would provide more storage for us & work with the style of our existing desk.

This is the desk that we bought @ Pottery Barn several years ago:  
It's really great quality & has ample storage for hanging files & two drawers for small storage, but we still needed space for all that extra 'office stuff':  paper, notebooks, folders, binders, pens, highlighters, pencils, tape dispenser, page protectors, printing supplies, etc...

After scouring several thrift stores, we found the perfect size dresser with 6 drawers that was in need of a makeover.  Now, this was our first legit furniture painting project & we didn't really know where to start.  Google, blogs, & Pinterest came in handy during the research phase.  Like most other DIY projects, there are tons of different methods, tips, & tricks out there.  One blog that I utilized the most was Centsational Girl.  Kate has a lot of painting experience & I chose our primer & paint based off of her suggestions.  
Here's the rundown of our first furniture painting adventure....

|remove hardware|
First things first, I removed all the hinges & pulls:

|wood filler|
Next, I filled all the holes, dents, & cracks with a paintable wood filler:

After the wood filler was dry, I used an 80 grit sanding wedge to lightly rough up the entire dresser.  I followed that up with a 120 grit wedge, focusing on the areas that I had patched up with wood filler.  For the top of the dresser, I used our orbital sander to make sure the surface was super smooth:  

|clean & prime|
 I used a dry paint brush to wipe away most of the dust from sanding & then wiped everything down with a rag & warm soapy water.  Before I started to prime, I quickly ran a tack cloth across everything just to make sure all the dust particles were removed.   To prime, I used Zinsser Cover Stain Oil Based Primer.  For the drawers & base of the dresser, I used the spray version with a nozzle attachment.  On the top of the dresser I used a foam roller to apply the paint instead:

  We decided to go with 2 coats of primer since it's a piece we'll be using a lot & we want it to last.  We didn't paint the sides of the drawers because we were worried the paint would just scrape off in the end & we didn't mind the raw wood:

|sand primer|
I also lightly sanded the entire dresser after priming to make sure the paint went on an ultra smooth surface - I don't know if this step was 100% necessary, but in my head it sounded legit (don't forget to wear a mask if you sand primer - lots of nasty chemicals are being released):

For the paint, we decided to try Benjamin Moore Advance.  We could not find this formula @ our local Ace Hardware store, but they did refer us to a local family owned paint store instead.  The folks over there were so super nice & they even mailed us a handwritten 'thank you for your business' card.  Aw :)

The paint was a little pricey for a quart - it was about $20.  But, in the end we wanted to use the best quality paint for this project...so we just went with it.  I wasn't sure if a foam or angled brush was going to work best, so I tried both.  In the end, I preferred the Purdy brush because it offered better coverage & allowed me to work more quickly:

The paint color we decided on was Cement Gray in a satin finish - we didn't want this piece to be too shiny:

Now that we were finally ready to paint, the weather just wouldn't cooperate.  Since it was too cold to paint in the garage, we brought the dresser inside & propped it up on three 2x4's:

Finally!  The painting could begin!  I used the 2" angled brush for the entire dresser, with the exception of the top & two ends where I used a foam roller instead.  I gave the dresser 2 coats of the Cement Gray paint - waiting overnight between coats.  I was happy to see that most brush marks disappeared as it dried:

Not going to lie, the whole priming & painting process felt like it took foreeeever.  Between our work schedule, motivational/laziness levels, painting, sanding, & dry time - it probably took me over three weeks to finish...maybe longer.  I also think that all the drawers & doors made it seem more tedious for sure.  In the end though, it was worth it!  

|attach hardware|
After everything was completely dry, we began to attach our new drawer pulls.  In our original plan, we were going to add label holders above drawer pulls to give the basic dresser more of an office feel.  That plan changed when I found an option from House of Antique Hardware that fused a label holder with a pull.  Just what we needed!  They have all sorts of finishes, but we went with the oil-rubbed bronze:  

Originally, we didn't want to reuse the hinges, but it was difficult to find replacements that fit in the existing notches & lined up correctly to the holes.  Call it lazy & impatient - we just did not have any steam left to modify the doors to accommodate new hinges.  So, for now we are using the existing hinges that I spray painted oil-rubbed bronze:

No project is ever 100% hiccup-free though, right?
Something you can't tell from the photos is that some of the screws broke off into the drawer as we were attaching the new pulls...so, three of the pulls are technically only holding on by one screw & we have yet to remedy that situation.  Is it bad I want to just superglue them on?

It also took us a little longer to decide on pulls for the doors.  I actually liked the pulls  that came with the dresser & I was originally going to spray paint them.  But then we misplaced one of them.  We searched all over & could not find the second pull - so we finally gave in & decided to look for new ones.  Initially, we were going to go for simple knobs - until we found these cute pulls that were 50% off @ Hobby Lobby (normally only 3.99!):

As you can see, the metal color was more of a brass finish - so I simply spray painted them an oil-rubbed bronze finish:

We also lined the drawers with gray & white chevron wrapping paper from Home Goods.  I stuck some double-sided tape in all the corners to keep the paper in place:

We are still debating if it's necessary to apply a topcoat of wax or polyurethane...suggestions welcome!

Functionally speaking, we have so much more storage for all our office supplies now:

 Some Before & Afters:  

We really like how it turned out.  We are almost 100% finished with this makeover. 
We still need to:

For now, we're taking a break from the dresser & I'm working on 
organizing all the contents of our office instead - so excited to get our life back in order!  Piles of mail & paperwork devouring our kitchen counter stresses me out.

More office related posts coming soon...

Until then!



  1. Aw it's beautiful!! I'm in love with it.. I wish it was mine ha! It looks amazing and I love all that storage space.

    1. Thanks Karen! The storage space is just what we needed - I finished putting away all our office stuff & there is still room to spare.....yessss lol

  2. Thats so cool and makes paperwork a little bit more fun too =) One question - drawers will not be white inside? or paint won't let it open/close fine? its just that I have that type of problem that drawers get sticky and dont open and close fine....though perhaps i do something wrong....lol

    Love to chevron ♥ lol

    1. We decided not to paint the drawers because we thought it might rub off with all the opening & closing - & we also didn't mind the natural wood. I'm not sure if there is a trick to making painted drawers open without getting sticky like yours are doing...maybe you could try a furniture wax or something to make it easier? I love chevron too!


  3. Thank you for the step by step instructions on how you did this. Much appreciated. I'm in the process of redoing my office / craft room. Went shopping in my own house and am planning to use an old desk I already had (inherited from my aunt) as my sewing table. But it looks to be from the same era as your dresser find. I definitely want to paint it and pretty it up a bit.

    Also, thanks for your comments on the Pottery Barn desk. As I started on this redo project, I fell in love with the PB Bedford collection but have been a bit leery about plunking that much money down. Also, reviews on the furniture seem to be somewhat mixed. In the end though, I've decided that I will probably go ahead and get it as I've not seen anything similar to it that I love that much. Also, most other alternatives I've priced are the same amount or more.

    Love your office, it's beautiful!

    1. No problem! I was hoping that it would help someone else. There are so many furniture painting pros out there that have great tutorials, but I think it's nice to know someone like me (who's never redone a piece of furniture before) can do it too!

      You are so right about the PB collection - pricey for sure, but we felt it was a high quality investment piece. The desk is solid & heavy and the the drawers slides are super smooth.

      Thanks so much! I'd like to see your sewing table when you finish- I love a good before & after!


  4. I absolutely love this makeover!! Your office looks so amazing and fresh.

    -It's a Pretty Prins Life

    1. Thanks Heather! There are a few more projects that I have to finish - one of these days I'll get them all done...lol. I love your blog btw! Amazing style!


  5. I found your office makeover on Pinterest and I love it - then I followed the link to your blog, and I LOVE IT, TOOOO!! Nice work. Your patience paid off with this foreeeeever project. :) I'm literally buying most everything you show, and will look for a chest just like this one to makeover. Awesome!

    1. Thank you so much! I would love to see some before & after photos once you finish! Let me know if you have any questions & good luck! :)

      Thanks again!

  6. Question - do you have a printer? If so, where will you (or if you don't have one - would you) put it? My dining now office is setup very similar and I'm not sure where I'll put it. Looks amazing!!!

    1. Hi Amanda! We originally intended to turn the middle bottom drawer of the dresser into a pull-out printer drawer....however, my husband needed to upgrade our printer to a much larger wireless printer for work, so we ended up putting it up in his studio/office upstairs. But...if I eventually bring it downstairs into this office, I'll probably just keep it on the dresser or one of the IKEA shelves. Hope that helps! :)