Monday, March 23, 2015

Painted Thrift Store Dresser: From Shabby French Provincial to Chic Classic Cherry

Last November I went to my local Salvation Army with my friend Mel to see if they had anything new or interesting. Of course they always have new and interesting stuff (that gets dropped off daily) and I can usually find some treasure I just can't live without. That day I got especially lucky.
It looked like somebody had dropped off a semi load of furniture because the place was jam packed. There had to be something good with such a vast selection. I always make my way around the big furniture first because I have this inane theory that someone will get to a piece I would want right before me and steal it out from under me. I know it's ridiculous but it could happen.
Here's a sneak peak at the before and after

All the way in the back I saw a dresser that peaked my interest. She was a slightly beat up French provincial dresser with claw feet. Totally late 80's little girl princess room style. I was never lucky enough to have a princess room when I was a little girl and I certainly didn't want one now but I saw potential, a whole lot of elbow grease and a little bit of paint kind of potential. The price tag said $25, not bad. I pulled out one of the drawers and saw that they were dove tailed. The dove tailing and the claw feet totally sold it for me.
I took a picture and sent it along with a text to Cory. I told him I wanted to buy the dresser and paint it. I had no idea what color I was going to paint it much less where I was going to put it, I just knew I wanted it. He gave me the ok and I snatched the ticket off that dresser that I had been guarding and not letting anyone else near for 10 minutes and finally felt comfortable enough to walk away knowing the dresser was mine and I was getting a great deal.

Cory was his usual skeptical self on whether we'd be able to fit the dresser in my Jeep Liberty while I was my usual optimistic self all gung ho on getting it home as soon as possible so I could get started on my new project. The dresser fit perfect (optimism wins again!) with plenty of room for Jackson right next to it and us in the front. That Liberty sure can fit surprisingly large objects and/or amounts of stuff.

I had Cory set the dresser in a big open space in our kitchen between Harley's kennel and the kitchen table. This has now become my pseudo workspace. I can work on projects while watching Jackson and I can listen to/watch tv when Jackson's sleeping. It also encourages me to hurry up and get my project finished so I can get it out of our kitchen.
Cory and I did not have a dresser in our room and it has tons of open space just begging for furniture so that seemed to me the most logical place to put my new purchase. Our bed is cherry along with our bedside tables so to keep with the same wood tone I decided to paint the dresser to look like cherry stained wood.

Yes I said paint to look like stained wood.

Rustoleum makes a wonderful paint product, cabinet transformations, that can make surfaces that aren't wood look like stained wood, glazed or just a plain paint color. Or you can paint wood surfaces too without any messy, time consuming sanding or stripping. I already had tons of experience with cabinet transformations since I painted all my kitchen cabinets with it (post coming up very soon!)

To get the cherry wood look I used the Cabernet color cabinet transformations. I had picked it up on eBay a few months before for $18. Which is a steal of a deal since the kits are usually around $80. The kits include all the supplies you need except paint brushes. I already knew (and liked) how the finished product looked since Mel did her kitchen cabinets with the Cabernet color.

Even though there is no sanding or stripping you still need to prepare your surface for paint. The first step of cabinet transformations is called deglossing. This consists of scrubbing the surface with the deglossing liquid on a scouring pad with some elbow grease, then wiping the surface with a damp rag and lastly wiping the surface with a dry rag. That needs to dry for one hour and you can get started with your first coat of paint. 

When I first used cabinet transformations I scrubbed my heart out. I thought I really needed to scrub hard for the process to work properly. After a while I realized I didn't need to scrub hard enough to get a sweaty workout, just hard enough to where I was satisfied. If you're only satisfied with scrubbing so hard your arms ache, then by all means scrub away.

I used plain white cabinet restorations that I had leftover from my kitchen on my living room woodwork. When I deglossed the woodwork I did a thorough job but not enough to break my back and had no problems with the paint sticking or the wood color leeching through the paint. 

So obviously the next step, painting is pretty self explanatory. I used my favorite shorty Wooster brushes and painted two coats of the reddish brown Cabernet color on the dresser. Cory thought it looked hideous and he let me know how much he didn't like it. But I had faith that it would turn out exactly as I envisioned. Here's a picture of the dresser with two coats of Cabernet.
After you are done painting you can leave the surface you painted as is and put on the last step, the clear coat. Or you can glaze it and then clear coat. The glaze is basically stain. You apply it (I used a foam brush) and then wipe off as much or as little as you want with the provided cheese cloth to get your desired look.

Using the glaze with the Cabernet color to get the dark look I was going for was super easy! I really enjoyed watching the painted surface change to look like stained wood right before my eyes! Here is a picture of the whole process (besides the final clear coat) the two left drawers are painted with one coat of glaze, the two middle are just painted and the last drawer is deglossed.
I put two coats of glaze on before I thought it looked dark enough to match the other furniture in our room. 

Then on to the final step, my favorite, the clear coat. Ah, the home stretch always feels the best. The clear coat goes on the fastest but has the least amount of room for error. You should not rebrush the top coat (I did a couple of times) as it starts to dry really fast so you must be precise and quick. The clear coat dries nice and shiny and pretty hard to protect the surface from dings and scratches.

After all the painting was done I had to put the pulls back on the drawers. I knew I wanted new drawer pulls for the dresser since I didn't want it to resemble the old French provincial style at all anymore so I had filled the holes and sanded them prior to painting. Cory told me too little too late that I had bought bad wood filler. And here I thought I had picked up the best, shows how much I know about wood filler! Thankfully the new antique drawer pulls I bought off eBay for $10 were just a hair off so no one will ever see the bad wood filling job I did...except in the picture of the drawers above of course.

Here's a picture of the finished dresser before we hefted her upstairs to her new room.
And here she is in our room, the proud new holder of Cory's socks and our giant TV that is a must for an insomniac like Cory.
I love how this dresser turned out to look like cherry wood.

I thought ease of the glazing process and the actual painting using the dark cabinet transformations was way easier than using the light cabinet transformations. I do like how the final product looks for both the light and dark kits. Overall I really like cabinet transformations. Everything is included in one kit and you know that all the products will work well together. All of the projects I have done with this product have also exceeded my expectations.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the products mentioned. All opinions are my own from my own experiences.



  1. Wow that looks beautiful!! Great find :D :D Thank you for linking up at Wordless Wednesday this week!

  2. Thank you for contributing to Motivational Monday!

  3. Thanks so much ladies :) My local Salvo has some great furniture for great prices almost every time I go in!


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