Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How Should I Refinish This Dresser?

Wow, I’m just asking for all kinds of help lately, aren’t I? But isn’t that what blogging is all about? :)   So, do I paint it or stain it?

sewing dresser
Images from here and here.

Okay, so here’s what’s going on. As a part of the great sewing room organization of 2013, I figured I should actually start working on this dresser I got from my aunt.

sewing room dresser being sanded

See all that junk on top? Yeah, this dresser’s just been sitting here collecting junk, which is pretty much the opposite of its intended function. (The junk is supposed to go inside the dresser, not on top.)

Last year (or longer ago than that?) I got this dresser from my aunt. It used to be my lola’s (Filipino grandma) and it’s just been sitting in my aunt’s garage.

sewing room dresser before

I generally don’t love dressers for sewing room storage – they’re meant to hold clothes, not sewing gear. The drawers are usually too deep, don’t slide easily enough, and the dimensions of the dresser itself is usually all wrong. My dream is to have kitchen-type cabinets of all shallow-ish drawers. (I had something pretty much ideal when I was living at home with my parents, so I’m spoiled!)

But this dresser actually is pretty great. It’s 6 feet long. Yes, 6 feet long. So its proportions are more along the lines of something you’d special order in the kitchen department. And it’s just over 29” tall, which is almost exactly the height of my sewing table – so as an added work surface it’s going to be ideal. The drawers are still a little deeper than I’d like, but they generally slide very well, so I think I can make this piece work.

You can see that the style is such that all the drawers touch. Well, over time, they’ve sort of started to stick to each other, probably from swelling and expanding and whatnot. So I’m getting on sanding and planing down the drawers a bit.

planing and sanding the drawer

I'm using an old planer of my dad’s that I found in the garage. :) Hey it works! I think the blade could use a bit of sharpening, which I’ll get on. I learned all about hand planes from Tommy on Ask This Old House.

planing the drawer

This is my first time using a hand plane, and I’ll admit I’m making a mess of it in some places (from not following Tommy’s advice. Oops!).

Anyway, as I’m working on the dresser, I’m finding it’s made of some nice wood. I thought at first that the finish was that really thick plasticky finish that I’d basically have to paint over. I planned on using Valspar’s Pacific Pleasure (color #5009-10) for the body and keep the top nice and white. Something along the lines of this color:

Image from here.

Really gorgeous right?

But like I said, it’s a nice piece of furniture (Thomasville), and I’m finding it’s not hard to sand off the finish down to bare wood. So, then I thought, should I do something like this? And refinish and stain it something gorgeous like Clara’s changing table from Young House Love?


Thoughts, ideas, questions, comments? I’d love your advice! 

The sewing room is painted a neutral gray, and I’m generally trying to keep all work surfaces white. (Don’t want colors clashing or affecting your judgment while you’re working!)  I do have another desk that is blue and I plan on updating with Valspar’s Pacific Pleasure. 

So do I go with two blue and white dressers to keep things cohesive? Or bring in some nice, neutral wood tones? Opinions? Help!!


  1. I looked at Momma With a Dash of Drama. I'm not a very good home decorator but I did like the dresser there that had natural wood and just had the drawers painted. I think white or light pastel color on the drawers to bing out the hardware might look good. - Aunt Linda

    1. That's a good idea, Aunt Linda! I didn't think of that! :)

  2. I agree with Linda. But if you stain, use a lighter wood tone, not a dark one. If most of your stuff is white anyway the dark wood would not fit in for a cohesive look.

    1. I guess that's true! I like the rich wood of the stained dresser above, but you're totally right that it might not fit in with my generally lighter overall scheme. This is why I love blogging! So many good ideas and points!

  3. You know what? No matter what, I want the top to be white - because it will be my work surface. So now what do you guys think? Maybe I should just stick with paint....

  4. You could do a "gradient dresser". Pick one of those paint color palette/samples & start with the lightest color on top & darkest @ the bottom. Bonus is u can buy just the tester pots of paint for each of the drawers. Maybe a grey color scheme would work well for you?? Got the idea from my Parenting magazine for fun/funky ways to spice up a room...I'm going to do it myself eventually!

    1. Best idea yet! I have some other things that are going to be my nice dark blue, so having the dresser blend but be something different will be great! Love it!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...