Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  February 13, 2013 — 11 Comments

This purple dresser was one of my first furniture refinishing projects ever. I had just started reading a lot of DIY blogs and everyone was raving about spray paint, so I decided to give it a try.

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This project is why I hated spray paint for years. Only recently have I started using the stuff again, and definitely not on large pieces like this. It took soooo much paint to get good coverage, and still things like the holes I had patched with wood filler showed through. This project is also why I hated primer for a long time. It’s kind of a subtle difference, but you can see in the picture above that the two upper drawers on the left are shinier and more smooth than all the others–that’s because I ran out of spray primer and just said screw it and skipped straight to paint on those. They turned out so much nicer without primer! I was annoyed. And see how much primer shows through on the very bottom? This was the worst project ever.

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Also, the knobs I got to replace the original pulls didn’t fit right–the screws on most of them were too long, so they twisted around all over the place and one even broke. The finish on top has started to bubble and peel and there are cat footprints from a time when one of them stepped in paint (memory eludes me, but my money’s on Pistachio).

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Another major problem with this dresser is that it had become one giant junk drawer. I emptied it all out onto the floor, setting aside what didn’t belong as I went. Pictured below is all the stuff that I decided maybe can still live there–we’ll see for sure when I get serious about organizing it later this week.

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I took out all the drawers and set them up so I could paint them efficiently, then gave everything a quick pass with some sandpaper.

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And what do you know, Charlotte I-hate-primer Tryforos used the stuff for the third time in like a month. The old paint was so dark that I’d need the extra help covering it up.

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I’ve been totally crushing on the color “Guacamole” by Olympic ever since I came across this image– I think I was pregnant with Jack and looking for nursery inspiration! Since the walls of the laundry room are no longer blue I knew I wanted a fun color on the dresser so this was perfect.


Mabel’s House

And two coats later, ta-da! I very carefully put the drawers back in as soon as the paint was dry, but waited a few days before putting the hardware back on or closing them all the way.

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While I waited for the paint to cure, I took a hot glue gun to the pull that had broken. It’s probably not strong enough to stand up to typical use, but since the middle drawers have four pulls each I just put it on the bottom row where it will serve mostly just for decorative purposes.

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Then I did something I should’ve done years ago–I grabbed one of the knobs and accompanying screws and headed for my neighborhood hardware store, where someone helped me find some matching screws that were just a smudge shorter. It took almost no time at all and cost me less than $5. I don’t know why I waited so long!

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It’s been awfully dreary here the past few days and I haven’t been home at optimal picture taking time anyway, so it was hard to get good light to accurately portray the color. Lets just say it’s a major improvement (and a much better fit with my current style).

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Here’s the view from the kitchen. I don’t know why it took me so long to move the dresser to below the window, either! I love the pop of color peeking through the doorway.

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I still have to finish organizing everything and get it put back neatly into the drawers, but I’m actually pretty excited about it. Now that I have all the junk out of there it’s like a whole new storage space. I might actually have–gasp!–a few empty drawers! Can you believe it? It’s so nice to have pretty, functional things in our home. I’m so glad I decided to rehab this old dresser (that I bought secondhand nearly ten years ago!) instead of getting rid of it. It’s kind of my new favorite thing.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


11 responses to Guacamole

  1. Hi

    I’ve been following your blog on Google Reader for months but am just now commenting for the first time.

    I LOVE the new dresser. It looks a million times better.

    When I’ve refinished pieces in the past, I’ve used spray paint — many, many coats of spray paint. As soon as I find the right piece for my entryway, my plan is to paint it a bold, dark color (similar to Jack’s dresser). I see you used a small roller & primer. I’ve shied away from doing that in the past, because I’ve been concerned about smooth, even finish. Does the paint settle in to be flat? Do you have to do a ton of sanding? Do you have any tips for using a roller?

    If you have a chance to get back to me, that would be great. If not, I completely understand.


    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap February 14, 2013 at 7:30 am

      Thanks for reading! I do like to use a small foam roller these days. I am really carefree about furniture refinishing and pretty much take a “good enough” approach, so I’m not sure how great of an example I am! That said, I use latex paint and do get a really smooth and even finish with a roller–more so than with a brush and it’s way faster. I never sand unless the surface below is really bad, then I’ll try to smooth it out a bit. I knew this dresser would never be smooth and perfect so I used flat paint, which is better at disguising imperfections (but for Jack’s dresser I used a higher gloss because it really needed to be wipeable). My only tip is to keep your coats thin and even, and wait for one coat to dry completely before applying the next. Hope this helps!

  2. Holy smokes! That dresser looks FABULOUS!

  3. I love the dresser and the color!! I love that statement,” I still have to finish organizing and……” Do you ever really finish organizing? I never do. It is always organized for now and I always, always go back an redo some little thing. LOL

  4. Love it! It is a nice dresser. Country mouse is right….. Only organized for the moment.

  5. I LOVE this!! It came out beautiful! Such talent!

  6. Great job! I absolutely love the new colour! I’d love to give an old piece of furniture some new life but I don’t think I have the vision :( Luckily, there are blogs like yours to let me indulge! :) Karen x

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