white dresser
image: So Sylvie

Giving an out-of-style dresser a makeover can save you money and add a focal point to any room of the home.

You can customize any ol’ dresser to suit your décor. Just put a little lipstick on that pig. With a touch of paint here and a little elbow grease there, you can tailor a dresser to become formal, elegant, romantic or playful.

Follow these tips to revive even the most seemingly far-gone dresser.

Do you have one of these?

Old Dresser
image: amy_kearns

Don’t despair! Getting rid of the dark veneer and grandma-esque qualities that often come with an old fashioned dresser, such as this one, is beyond easy. 

Whether you’re on a flea market or garage sale adventure or just rethinking the dressers already in your home, you have to look beyond the scary outer characteristics and envision a dresser’s possibilities.

Look at the dresser’s roots. Do its legs have an interesting shape? This one’s legs have cute rounded features. Does it have a distinctive silhouette? Instead of a straight line, maybe the bottom edge of the dresser is carved into a gently curved shape. These special qualities will make your dresser shine with personality once you gussy it up a bit.

Using that doily elsewhere wouldn’t hurt either.

A coat of paint…

red dresser
image: ooh_food

…does wonders to transform that outdated dresser into an über-modern version. Slick on a fresh coat of paint in a bright color, such as red or turquoise, to make your dresser pop against a neutral-colored wall. Be sure to use a low- or zero-VOC paint. Volatile organic compounds in regular paints can cause a range of health issues including respiratory problems, headache, itchy eyes and nausea. Some have even been linked to cancer and kidney and liver problems. Breath easy with an environmentally-friendly paint.

To save you from future frustrations, don’t just slop on some paint. Take the time to sand down the dresser first. Then clean the dresser and wipe away the dust. Once you do get to painting, remember to not paint the inside lip of the dresser where the drawers go. If you do paint it I guarantee the drawers will constantly stick, causing you endless irritation and probably a few choice words.

Pull it

drawer purple
image: skarpetka86

Changing out the hardware on a dresser can take it from dull to chic. Perk up the Old World ornate pulls that often come attached to older dressers with new modern versions. New handles come in every shape under the sun from skinny utilitarian brushed nickel handles to glass knobs.

Since I’m a repurposing junkie, many of the pulls in my home come salvaged from garage sales and flea markets. This isn’t always the easiest task, as it can be difficult to find the exact number of pulls you need. For easier shopping, try Etsy.

For the super reusers among us, you could always paint the handles already with the dresser for a simple change up.

Rethink it

Multifunctional dressers can energize any room of the home.

Those drawers aren’t only meant for holding clothes. Use a dresser in the dining room to store silverware and tablecloths. The dresser top could function as a sideboard or mini bar. In the living room, transform a horizontal-shaped dresser into an entertainment center. Place the T.V. on top of the dresser and use its drawers to store DVDs and extra electronics.

Is your dresser unsalvagable? Then use its drawers to plant a container garden or repurpose them in the home.