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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Refinishing Antique Dressers

Hey hey hey!  I am so excited to share my dresser transformation with y'all!  Our master bedroom has been renovated for over 3 years but I never loved the space.  I'm still not finished... but I'm stinkin' close!  Here is our room when we moved in 4 years ago:

Can you say, dingy?  Here is how we have had it for the past 3 years...

The biggest issue we had with our master was the storage situation.  Tall Tan Man uses a basement closet to store his work clothes.  Our dressers were from Ikea.  They worked great and looked fine, but they were really shallow.  When I would put away our laundry {like when all our clothes were clean} I would have to cram all the drawers to their brim.  #athleisureproblem

When my Grandad passed this last summer I knew I wanted to keep his dressers but would want to put my own spin on them.  Here is how they started out:

This style of dresser must have been really popular in the 60's because I feel like all my friend's parents/grandparents had similar ones.  Right away I knew I could easily update the pulls but that wouldn't be enough.  They were super orangey and the legs were not my style.  If you're still reading, put your seatbelt on because I'm about to take you on a wild refinishing ride.  😆


Drill/Screw Driver
Palm Sander
4 - 60-80 Grit Sandpaper
2 - 120 Grit Sandpaper
2 - 220 Grit Sandpaper
Old Rags
Stain Color of Choice {Recommended: Dark Walnut}
4 Wooden Legs {Lowes}
4 Leg Casters
Finishing Wax
New Pulls {Hobby Lobby is the best!}


Step One :: Prep

Remove all the hardware and wipe the dresser down.  

Step Two :: Sanding

Sand everything with the 80 grit sandpaper.  Make sure you sand with the grain and get as close to the edges as possible.  I'm just going to be frank with y'all.  This is the absolute worst part of the entire process.  It takes for. ev. er.  And is SO messy.  Did I want to lite the dresser on fire and say screw it?  Absolutely.  When you finish you will be glad you didn't give up! {Sounds a lot like childbirth 😂}  One piece of advice, don't be afraid to use lots of sandpaper.  The second your sandpaper starts to wear out switch it out! I used 2 pieces on the drawers and 2 pieces on the body of each dresser.  A.K.A., Don't be so cheap you lose your sanity #preachingtothechoir

After sanding everything with 80 grit sandpaper remove all the dust.  Sand everything with 120 grit and then 220 grit to get the wood as smooth as possible.  This sanding is much quicker and not nearly as terrible!  I used this time to make sure I didn't miss any spots.

I was not able to remove all the old stain but it is hardly noticeable once I restrained it.  GET EXCITED, THE WORST PART IS OVER!

STEP THREE :: Apply the PreStain

Wearing gloves, apply the pre-stain with a cloth.  This will make the wood look very golden but don't worry it will help the stain look even.


I did two coats of stain.  At first, I used a 50/50 mix of Minwax Weathered Oak and Dark Walnut.  This ended up being too light so after 4 hours I did a second coat of just dark walnut.  I'd like to mention that the old drawer pulls left mark on the drawers but disappeared with the second coat of stain.  


If you cannot successfully sand/stain your dresser with the current legs on, you will want to remove them before step two.  To remove the old legs I used a screw driver and a hammer/rubber mallet.  Kind of hard to explain but mine just came off with a little muscle.  


Apply PreStain and Stain to your legs.  Now attach the leg casters and legs.  

I had to drill a small hole in the bottom of the dresser to accommodate the screw on the leg.  This allowed the legs to sit flush with the dresser.  


Apply a finishing wax and, YOU ARE DONE!

Well Mom, thanks for reading that whole post.  Love you bunches! 😙  In all seriousness, if you made it to the end of this post and decide to refinish a dresser please tag me so I can follow along!  Happy refinishing! 

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