Colorful Dresser “Drawer” Makeover

When you paint a dresser, should you paint inside drawers? If the inside is not pretty, then yes and I use this decorative painting method to make them the best part of the furniture makeover.

I have completed and shown you many dresser and sideboard furniture makeovers.  These are the pieces that have been handed down to me that are in good shape and still functional, but not the color or style I like.

With a little DIY, paint and in this dresser “drawer” makeover the addition of patterned fabric, I can transform them to fit my decorating style.

Use what you have decorating by repurposing furniture and using it for purposes other than it was intended for. Dresser drawer makeover

In one of the guest rooms in my house there is a dresser that is actually the bottom section of what used to be the dining room hutch in my previous house. We don’t have a dining room in lake house and no place to use the hutch. So I used the bottom as a dresser and took the hutch top apart and saved the crown from it to make a fireplace mantel for in the living room.

Unique ways to paint furniture. Dresser drawer makeover

Since the sideboard was previously painted white, it looked fine for the guest room decor. My furniture makeover idea was the sideboard itself, but to paint the brown drawer that comes to view every time I open the drawers.

Why Bother Painting the Insides and Outsides of Drawers?

Because painting any part of the drawer takes the whole furniture makeover up a notch on the style scale.

For most of the furniture I make over, I don’t paint the drawers. When I open this drawer though, the stark contrast of white and brown always makes me want to paint it. It was time for a dresser drawer makeover.

Coastal color fabrics used for a dresser drawer makeover

I used Waverly Inspirations fabrics from Walmart and used the top one to line the drawer.

Waverly Premium paints used to makeover a dresser drawer

I used Waverly Super Premium semi-gloss paint and the matching stencil that was also sent to add a little color surprise every time I open the drawer.

Chevron stencil

I also received this chevron stencil and stencil brushes, but used the stencil that matched the design of fabric I used.

Decorating ideas that only use one yard of fabric

Bye bye brown dresser drawer….

Dresser Drawer Makeover

supplies needed to line drawer:

  • Waverly Inspirations fabric. Cut to a little larger than the inside bottom of the drawer.
  • Waverly Inspirations Super Premium Paint – Color: Pool
  • Decoupage medium
  • Foam paint brush
  • Craft knife
  • Sandpaper – 100 grit on sanding block
  • Plastic spreader
  • Optional: Stain blocking paint primer
  • Waverly Inspirations Stencil
  • Waverly Inspirations Stencil Brush
  • Paper towel

Note: If you would like to line the drawers on your furniture, but don’t want the lining to be permanent, you may want to use one of these other drawer lining methods:

How To Line a Drawer with Fabric

Lining a drawer with fabric is not only a great way to add color to a drawer, but to also use up leftover pieces from previous projects.

  1. Sand inside of drawer and outer sides with 100 grit sandpaper on a sanding block. Clean off grit with a damp rag or tack cloth.
  2. Paint the inside of drawer and outer sides. (This was the first time I have used the Super Premium paint. It went on like a dream and dried to a perfectly smooth finish.) Use 2 coats, allowing the first one to dry before applying the second.

Note: I painted the whole inside of the drawer, but painting the sides is all that is needed since you will be covering the bottom with fabric.

If the wood in your drawer is old, stained, or has a sealer on it, you may want to put a coat of stain blocking primer on the surface first and let it dry before painting. This will keep the wood tannins stains or odors from seeping through to the paint which may change the color.

3. Measure the inside of drawer and cut fabric about an inch larger all around than the measurements.

How to attach fabric to a drawer so it stays in place

4. Once the paint is dry, apply one thick coat of decoupage medium to the inside bottom of drawer.

How to attach fabric to the inside of a dresser drawer

 5. Place the cut fabric over the wet decoupage medium. Make sure it is straight. Use a plastic spreader to smooth wrinkles in fabric and make sure there are no air bubbles under the fabric.

Furniture drawer makeover

6. When the fabric is smooth and there are no wrinkles or air bubbles, spread a thick coat of decoupage medium over the fabric. Use the brush to make sure the decoupage medium covers all the fabric. Let dry. If there is any excess fabric going up the sides of the drawer you can cut this away once the fabric is dry.

Furniture makeover idea suing fabric and paint

When the fabric is dry, use a sharp craft knife to cut away the excess fabric along inside of the drawer. To keep fabric from fraying, brush another coat of decoupage medium right along the cut edge of the fabric all around the drawer and let dry.

How To Stencil the Side of a Dresser Drawer

How to stencil a drawer

  1. Figure out placement. I wanted the design to look like an all-over design so I placed the edge of the design right up to the front edge of the drawer. Use painter’s tape or stencil adhesive to hold the stencil in place.
How to stencil with a stencil brush

2. Pour a small amount of paint onto a paper towel, then pounce the brush into the paint and then blot on the paper towel to remove some of the paint. When stenciling, you only need a little bit of paint.

How to use a stencil brush

3. Hold the brush straight up and down, not on an angle and pounce the brush over the open sections of the stencil. When more paint is needed, reload it with paint and blot excess on paper towel before continuing to paint over the stencil.

How to reposition a stencil

4. When finished painting, move stencil to continue painting the design on the rest of the side of the drawer. I cut the stencil to make it easier to keep it flat.

Decorative stenciling tips

5. When the side of the drawer was covered with the stencil design, I was left with empty spaces. This is fine to leave just as is, but I wanted the look of an all-over design.  To do this I ….

Stencil ideas to decorate a home

…placed this section (circled) of the stencil over each space and then applied the paint to continue the design.


Bedroom furniture painting idea

No more brown, but a surprise pop of color and style :-)

Drawer makeover idea using fabric

The decoupage medium seals and glues the fabric in place so it will not move around.

Dresser drawer furniture makeover

I now love seeing the surprise pop of color where you least expect to see it.

Ideas for unique furniture makeovers
How to line a drawer with fabric
Furniture makeover that includes the drawrers

It does take more time to paint the inside of drawers, but makes a painted piece of furniture even more special.

When painting cabinets and dressers, have you ever painted the inside?

Image shows two after photos of dresser drawer makeover. Text overlay on image says Colorful Surprise Inside! Furniture Makeover

More Decoupaged Furniture Ideas

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  1. Michele M. says:

    Diane, that looks sooooo much cuter! You did a great job with this little fun transformation!!!! Love the color choice.

  2. Oh….I love all of this idea, but especially the way those sides turned out! That’s one of my biggest peeves, when someone leaves the drawer sides unpainted and the contrast is very stark; sticks out like a sore thumb.

    It gives me the impression that the DIY’r either isn’t professonal, is not a perfectionist in their work, or is just lazy and easily satisfied with an, “it is good enough attitude”. But then, that’s just me being persnickety I suppose!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sharon – I have been guilty of not painting insides of some furniture, but when I have the time and the piece is constructed in a way that some extra paint on the sides won’t make the drawers hard to use. I enjoy doing all surfaces to look refreshed.

      1. Diane, After I wrote that I realized it might have sounded too harsh and critical, and I apologize for that. I truly wasn’t intending to be that way, it’s just the way it came out! I love your creative abilities and the way you make things seem simple enough for even me to accomplish. Thank you for your professional response?

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Sharon – No worries. :-) It is hard sometimes to get what we want to say written just right.

  3. This project is extremely beautiful. What a cute idea. Thanks for sharing

  4. Jennifer Durby says:

    First of all- LOVE THIS!!!

    Do you think that this would work on the inside of kitchen cabinets?
    Say you do this, love it but five years down The road you decide to update your kitchen again. How hard do you think it might be to update this?
    – Jennifer

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jennifer –

      The techniques I used for the drawers would work for kitchen cabinets. The painted and stenciled areas could be easily changed with a coat of paint. The fabric areas can be painted, but it would be better to remove them which might be hard since it was glued down. If you would like to use fabric that can be removed when you tire of the look, check out how I covered this dresser. It may be an option for you. You can find the post here:

  5. Just gorgeous! I love everything about it, the color, the stencil and the fabric. It all came together beautifully.

    We have one named room…The Pooh Room. My granddaughter loves Winnie the Pooh so we used that as the theme of the room. It’s so funny because people think we are talking about the bathroom when we say Pooh Room. They are thinking Poo Room.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kim – That is so funny. I totally get it. Little kids come up with the cutest expressions.

  6. OMG. That looks fantastic! I have often thought of doing that in our master bath, but just never got around to it, but now that I see this, I’m going to start picking out my colors, stencils, fabric, etc. Thanks so much.

  7. I love that you decorated the side of the drawers. It’s a forgotten spot. I’ve done that with beautiful napkins and modpodge. It worked out beautifully. I was concerned about it rubbing against the dresser, but it never happens.

  8. After my fabric dried on the inside of the drawer – it was a wrinkled mess…. It looked great wet but the next day it was wrinkled. What did I do wrong? Should I have pre washed the fabric?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Ardys – I am not sure why that would have happened with your fabric. Pre-washing the fabric would help. Also the tightness of the weave of your fabric could have been a factor. Another reason it may have wrinkled is that after you applied the decoupage medium, did you push the fabric to the edges with your hands to remove any air bubbles underneath?

      If you try again, try washing the fabric first, add it to the drawer and brush on the decoupage medium and then using the side edge of a piece of cardboard or the bristles on the brush, press the fabric from the center of the drawer out to remove any air bubbles. Check back after about a half an hour and repeat the pushing to the edges if you see any wrinkling happening.

      I hope this helps.

  9. Diane, I just love this idea and have a piece of furniture this would work nicely on. I particularly like the stencil design. Do you know if Waverly still makes it?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Hannah – I am not sure if Waverly still makes the stencil. If they do, it would be sold at Walmart in the craft aisle.

  10. Very nice results! Now I know what to do with fabric leftovers. :)

  11. Katherine says:

    Your post inspired me to do the same thing with fabric! Did you seal your paint inside your drawers first or decopage first then seal?

  12. Emma Clark says:

    Amazing designs! Will definitely try

  13. Mary Coakley says:

    Your dresser is beautiful having seen parts of your home it is typical of you ,some of us will just do the outside ,however you love beauty so you go the extra mile.The wallpaper and stencil are just right.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Mary :-)

  14. Barrisol Ceiling says:

    The design is beautiful. I love it. Keep up the great work.

  15. Travis Knoll says:

    Somehow, I have feeling that your inspiration never ends. Those drawers look beautiful. I am not so handy with paint like you, I have feeling, if I did it on my own, it would be paint everywhere and it would not look even half nice as yours.
    Thanks for inspiration.

  16. So lovely! I’m looking forward to seeing more of the blue bedroom as it progresses.

  17. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    Oh, you always pick the most gorgeous colors and designs. I too love Waverly. When I ran the drapery/upholstery department for Hancock Fabrics, I would secretly sigh and dream of having the design that I was rolling off for the customer. I also was fond of the Bloomfield fabrics.

    And yes I name my rooms, but now they have become office, guest, my room and bathrooms are the blue and the icky color one! lol

    I will tell you that many years ago I saw (forget where), a table that was decoupaged on the top and sides with the most gorgeous fabric, then the drawer front was padded with polyester batting and also then covered with said fabric. The sides may have been painted. I forget now, but you reminded me of it (that I never had the nerve to do. Plus prints are so forever for the outsides. Your idea is so much better and ‘my style’ as well. Love you!

  18. Looks beautiful Diane!

  19. I love this! Your dresser is beautiful ♥

  20. Becky in 'Bama says:

    So pretty! You must have the patience of Job… just watching you do all those steps made my head hurt. I sometimes force myself do those type crafts, but once I start on the project, I find myself hating doing it and either skimping on the details or finishing sloppy. I admire people with the ‘stick-tuitivness’ that it takes to do what you do. Maybe once I retire I’ll find myself not so rushed… after I work a 50 hour week, I ‘hoard’ my weekend hours. In the meantime I’ll just be a fly on the wall and watch you work your way through your home makeover.

  21. Marina @ Parental Journey says:

    Oh wow, it looks so pretty. I love that style! First time on your blog and really like it :)

  22. Mary Kaiser says:

    How lovely that turned out. I have never painted inside of my drawers, I have thought about it, but did want them to stick when I use them. Do yours stick? I love the dresser, it is beautiful. I have a Blue Room in my house also, it is my guest room and it is very sweet. I will try to get a picture of it and e mail it to you. Thanks for the inspiration.

  23. Hi Diane! I haven’t checked in with you for so long! I’ve been following your creativity gone wild throughout your new home and you haven’t, not even once, failed to delight me!! I have to tell you, these drawers look as if they have been bejeweled! They are simply beautiful, Diane! I would never have thought about lining dresser drawers with gorgeous fabric, but why NOT? Such a lovely surprise everytime you open a drawer! The delicate stencilling you added to the sides of the drawers is just fabulous frosting on that yummy drawer! I have a dresser down in my storage room; it’s been there for a few years. I kept thinking I should give it away, because I don’t really have any place ro put it. I’m going to FIND a place for it now. I can’t wait to (attempt) do the same kind of treatment on the drawers. If I mess it up, well then, it wasn’t a piece of furniture I had been yearning to finish, so I don’t think I’ll feel too bad. I hope this finds you both well and ever enjoying your serence spot on the lake!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Judy – Love hearing from you. The one nice thing about paint makeovers, it you don’t like it, you can always paint over it. :-) When painting the sides of drawers, check to see if they are a snug fit, if so, sand them down a bit so they slide in easily. When you paint, use thin coats so you don’t add too much thickness that would cause the drawer to fit snug again.

  24. Soooo pretty, and interesting….Can’t wait to try it,

  25. I absolutely love that fabric and the stencil….the chest if beautiful. Thank you for some great ideas:)

  26. Melissa Leach says:

    What a great idea…so simple to do and so unexpected! I can’t wait to find all these products at my local Wal-Mart. I’ve already purchased some of the Waverly fat quarters for fabric tassels. Great post Diane!

  27. Terri/Houston Lady says:

    Hi Diane,

    What a great idea! I never thought to line the drawers with fabric. I love the stencils.

    Great job as always : )

  28. Love it!!! I have lots of drawers I could make pretty! As always your craft is beautiful!!!

  29. I’ve had trouble with mod-podged things later sticking to other things. I’m curious if you’ve ever done the bottom of drawers before, and did you have trouble with things sticking to the mod-podge. Particularly things like paper and such.

    I love the idea and I love the look!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kathy –

      Mod Podge can be tacky. I always use the matte formula. Much less tacky. I have sealed paper in drawers using Mod Podge and fabric on a box. I did not have a problem with either of these. I have even sealed the top of a dresser with it. It is going on 8 years and still looks great.

      I do like using fabric in a drawer better since the decoupage medium sets into the fibers and not just lays on top, like it does on paper. When using it on fabric it will have no tackiness at all when completely dry. Let it dry outside the dresser. This will help speed up the drying time. The decoupage medium I like even more than Mod Podge is one made by Martha Stewart Crafts. It never has that tacky feel.

      1. Thank you so very much! I don’t think I’ve used matte, but I will have to find mine and check. I never thought that there would be much difference in the tackiness. Always more to learn! And I was using paper so fabric for this would obviously absorb better. Now I’m going to have to try it.

        Thank you again for your quick and thorough response. Have a blessed day!

  30. Linda Pawlak says:

    I just LOVE this idea!!!! I may have to give this a try soon.

  31. Super creative and very very pretty.

  32. Brilliant idea! I, too, refer to guest bedrooms by their color! It’s a fun thing!

  33. Very pretty. I love Waverly fabric and I am glad they now have the matching paint and stencils. My local Walmart is now carrying a great selection of Waverly products at a really reasonable price. I love the idea of the stenciled drawer.

  34. Mary Heicher says:

    Another thing you have done that I absolutely love.
    So you can buy matching stencils for with the fabric? That’s cool.
    You might want to go over the edge of the fabric with a little more
    decoupage medium, after you trim it. To keep it from fraying.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary – Great tip on adding more decoupage medium after cutting. It will stop the fraying. Thanks for sharing. :-)

  35. lindalw666 says:

    Absolutely! A grand job you did here, and what gorgeous colors! I’ve always loved Waverly designs, very classy! The stencils you used were perfect for this piece! I just ordered some stencils from Royal Design Studio, and I have high hopes for the projects I intend to do with them…now maybe I can find some fabric for the lining of the drawers, I love the way yours turned out! Keep up the great work!

  36. Theresa Stewart says:

    What a great look! I also name my bedrooms after colors LoL…yellow room and blue room are the guest rooms. And you cannot go wrong with Waverly! Keep up the great work.

  37. Beautiful!
    I am going to try this! I love Waverly and they always have such great colors and designs.

    Thanks Diane for such a wonderful blog… I love your style and always look forward to seeing your blog amongst my emails :)

  38. I always paint the drawers and line them. Love the extra touch. But I’ve never thought of stenciling the sides. Genius! Love, love it! Thanks for sharing!

  39. Such perfect timing! I wrote to you the other day about repainting a chest I had previosly started chalk painting in a hideous shade of yellow. Over the weekend i bought a stencil and practiced stenciling on everything that didn’t move. I’m going to completely copy your ideas on my sad little 3-drawer chest.