How To Paint Drawer Pulls and a Dresser

How to paint a classic chest of drawers before and after makeover 

I have a classic dresser, you probably have one in your family, too. It is a classic  hand-me down that keeps getting handed-down one generation to the next.  It is not an antique, but so well made even after it takes a licking, it still functions perfectly.

Before this dresser gets handed down once again to my daughter. I am going to tweak it to her specifications and transform it with paint to decorate her college dorm apartment.

How to paint furniture

She is going to be a junior in college and is moving into a house with 4 of her friends.  She needs furniture + we had this + I can paint = DIY INEXPENSIVE TRANSFORMATION  TIME.   She was not into the brown and brass.  I can’t blame her, so I got to work.

How to paint wood furniture

How to Paint Drawer Pulls

This is how the brass drawer pulls looked after I cleaned them to prepare for spray painting.  You can see the one at the bottom has a bit of silver on it.  I tried using Rub N’Buff on that one, but I could not get it into the detail of the pull so I opted to use spray paint.

How to paint drawer pulls

Here is the desk that was currently in my daughters room at home.  She wanted it to match the dresser, so even though it looks pretty nice, I painted it.

I set up the two pieces in my garage, lightly sanded them and put two coats of Oil-Based KILZ on each piece.

Painted Furniture Tips and Tricks

Decorative brass pull on desk drawer.

How to change furniture hardware

Ready to unload  my daughters “stuff” into her house.  It has 5 bedrooms and she is in one that is tiny, tiny, tiny, but very bright and cheery.

How to Paint a Dresser

The color of the Valspar paint my daughter picked for the dresser is called, Seafarer.

You will find the process on how I paint furniture by clicking over to this post:  How to Paint over Stained or Polyurethane Finished Furniture

Furniture painting ideas

I used Rust-Oleum Specialty Metallic Spray Paint in Silver for the drawer pulls.  I applied 3 light coats, letting each coat dry thoroughly before spraying on the next coat.  They came out so much better than I expected.  I just love this brand of spray paint.

How to paint a metal drawer knobs and pulls

It is amazing how modern the pulls look now.

How to Spray Paint a Drawer Pull

Her desk came out great as well.

How to paint a Desk

Here  is the dresser in its new home.

College dorm decorating ideas

The desk is across the room, which is only about 2 steps away.  I found a beach towel at Walmart  to cover her IKEA chair with.  If you decide to do this make sure you wash the towel first – or you will end up with a butt covered in lint. If you would like to see how I covered the chair you can find in my post: How I Transformed a Not So Pretty Desk Chair.

College dorm decorating ideas

She was having fun organizing and setting up all of her stuff.  I wished I could have stayed longer and helped her more, but I think she has my “decorating” gene and was figuring it out on her own.

College dorm decorating ideas

More Painted Dresser Furniture Makeovers

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  1. Do you know the company that made the desk? I have one almost identical—I couldn’t find any markings on it.It was passed down to me by my mother and I would love to trace its origins.I have seen quite a few of that same style of secretary desk,just wondering if there were lots of companies who made them or just one or 2. Mine was from the 20s or 30s I think.

  2. Carol Centracchio says:

    I have a question. In have some latex paints in different colors my husband used on my walls. I like them, yellow, green, pink. Can I add a few drops of MICHAELS ARCYlC Paint to it to have a little difference to the color? Yes I use a Blender to mix my Plaster of Paris. Would I have to cut down on the water if I add arcrylic paint?
    I would love a response please. Doing it tomorrow.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carol – If you want to make chalk paint by mixing leftover latex paint with acrylic craft paint, then I would say no. This is because the acrylic in the craft paint may bind the latex paint when Plaster of Paris is added. If you are not making chalk paint and just mixing craft paint into latex paint to alter the color – then yes – I do it all the time when I want to tweak a color.

  3. P.S.- your daughter is very lucky to have an awesome mom like you helping her out!!!! :-)

  4. Hi there,
    I’m just wondering how you did the finish on the desk BEFORE you repainted it.
    I love the grainy “colour with white” effect but have no idea how to do it!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Amy – To get the color with white effect I used glazing liquid. It is sold at most craft and paint stores. Basically you apply your paint color -let it dry. Then make up a glaze mixture – 1 part glaze to 2 – 4 parts white paint. Brush it on and then use a dry brush to wipe through the paint – this removes some of the glaze and gives you the striated look. You can read more about working with glazing liquid in these posts:

      1. Thank you so very much!!!
        I can’t wait to find a piece to try this with!
        I may be getting a new desk…. :-)

  5. Gorgeous re-do, your daughter is very lucky! This brought back happy memories, as I went to UVM for grad school in 1981…met some lifelong buds, walked to work/ school with the mountains on either side, and enjoyed the pizza at Ken’s on Church st.!

  6. Hi – Love the painted chest of drawers and desk. I would like to do the same. Did you use spray paint for the furniture as well as the drawer pulls? If so what kind. Also did you sand off the old varnish first?
    Thank you.

  7. Hi, I am wondering what type of paints and primers you use to paint the wood furniture, especially the teal dressers for your daughter? I am trying to paint an old desk, but the last time I did that, it started peeling and does not look good! Any suggestions? Thanks!

  8. Love the furniture, great color!!! I doing something similar thanks for the ideas!!! I also just moved to Burlington Vermont its one of the most fabulous places I have ever been!!!!

  9. Diane Phillips says:

    I love this. I am trying to go outside my comfort zone and move towards brighter colors. I have a small retro cabinet that I am planning to redo, and I actually picked a coral colored paint! Surprised even myself, lol. Can’t wait to see if it looks this good.
    You are very talented and creative.

    1. Hi Diane- The coral color sounds very pretty. If you prep, sand, use a tack cloth, prime and paint with light coats you should have success. Painting when the temp is around 75 and low humidity always helps too.

  10. The furniture looks great. Thank you for the tips. My favorite is the curtain idea…pulls the room together.

  11. Diane,
    I love the dresser and desk color. We are re-doing our 14 year old daughter’s bedroom and are looking to repaint her dresser and desk. She loves these colors. Her bed has a silver metal frame and her comfortor is white. What color would you paint the walls assuming I paint the dresser and desk the color you did. The room is very small and only has one window which faces the west so doesn’t get much sun. Thanks for any advice!

    1. Hi Danelle –

      I think since the room is small and not a lot of natural light, I would go with a soft pink color on the walls. Something like Sherwin Williams Diminutive Pink SW6588, Anemone SW 6567, or Glidden Heirloom #AO225. Just make sure it is is not a dusty pink as it will end up looking like the color of a Band-Aid when a lamp is on. I would then add lots of color pops in the way of pillows on her bed, art on the walls, and other accessories.

    2. Hi again Danelle. I wanted to also tell you that could do an accent wall in a slightly darker pink on one wall and the softer pink on the other 3 walls. The accent wall should be on the wall where her headboard is, since the bed is usually the focal point of a bedroom.

  12. Hi Diane!

    I have pinned the pic of your finished mudroom organiser onto my pinterest profile just because I think it’s amazing, and also it deserves to be shared with the world!! The pic links directly back to your site, however if you’d like it removed then please let me know, and I will (somewhat reluctantly) take it down :).

    I have it here: notice other people repinning and /or liking it. Have a great day, piri.

  13. Tasterspoon says:

    You are totally burying the lead here – I didn’t know you could recover that type of desk chair! My husband has one that is super gross that I would love to make over.

  14. Lisa Lucas says:

    Isn’t Vermont the most beautiful place to live! Looking to spruce up a treasure I found, thanks for the great ideas fellow Vermonter!

  15. Tasha stuemke says:

    I love the way it looks! I have been playing around with paint for years! I always need to be doing some form of art! Great website! How did you get your website started? Tasha

  16. I also have one of these dressers that my husband uses. Want his to match mine which is done in an ivory color. After applying the oil kilz did you use a spray or brush on color?
    My daughter lives in Williston,vt so I’m always visiting church st . Try the farmhouse restaurant ,fresh produce and great home brewed beers!

    1. Hi Jules-

      Thanks for the tip about the Farmhouse restaurant. I used a roller and a 2″ angled Purdy brush to paint the edges of eh drawers smooth.

  17. bichonpawz says:

    What a terrific job you did on this old dresser!!! I swear…I have that very same dresser sitting not two feet from me…it was a hand me down! I LOVE what you have done with it to bring it new life!! The color is exactly the same color as the walls of my cottage living room!! I stopped over from Heather’s blog.

  18. Simple Daisy says:

    OH my goodness!!! Great job:):)
    Now…when you grow tired of that dresser….I WANT it!!!! I love it!!!

  19. I love this colour!! Can’t believe it turned out so well, good job!

  20. Amy@MaisonDecor says:

    Yup I have the same dresser..maybe two of ’em…thanks for the great idea! It looks smashing!

  21. They turned out fantastic!!

    Thanks for linking up to my Pajama Party! Please join me next week again =)


  22. Cat@BudgetBlonde says:

    Absolutely awesome!! She is one lucky girl – and that color is to die for!!! Can’t believe how well the spray painted handles came out! It looks great!!!
    Cat @ BudgetBlonde

  23. miss corner cape says:

    that looks wonderful, especially those drawer pulls. love that metallic pop!

    1. Metallic spray paint has come a long way since I started spray painting years ago. I have used many different brands and think the Rustoleum Metallic comes out great everytime. It never looks dull or cloudy. I found it at AC Moore. I am sure in a few more years metallic spray paint will get even better with new technology and materials.

  24. Stephanie Lynn says:

    Wow amazing transformation. I just adore the color and the hardware is gorgeous. Fantastic job! Congrats to your daugther! Thanks so much for linking to the Sunday Showcase party! I greatly appreciate it! Hope you have a fabulous week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  25. I am lovin that paint color! Everything you did turned out great. I am totally impressed with the window treatment. How creative!

    Question for you. When you redo a dresser like that, do you put a clear coat over the paint? I am getting ready to re-do a hall table. Thanks.

  26. Beach Vintage says:

    Oh my oh my I want everything, I love the colour. That restaurant looks super cute.

  27. Cute cute cute cute! I love the color and those pulls look amazing. Great job!

  28. Karen Sacavage says:

    Isn’t it fun to live vicariously through our daughters! We can’t go get an apartment for ourselves and decorate it ourselves but we can help them. I can’t wait for my daughter to move again!

  29. Love the color, and your solution to the plant hooks was genius!

    Thank you for linking up this week!

  30. the lovely paper blog says:

    how lovely! i love that idea with the chair! i must try it!

  31. Michelle @ Sweet Something says:

    Fantastic color!! I love the little desk with the office chair~that looks awesome! So fun! Great job!

  32. what a fresh and bright room your daughter has! love what you did with the furniture and the color- they really make the room!

  33. Decorchick says:

    Wow, I love everything you did here!! That blue color is swoonworthy, and the new metallic hardware looks great! And great job on that window treatment too! I never would have thought to do that with just plant hooks. Very creative. Visiting from Frugal & Fabulous. :)

  34. I love the colors! The beach towel chair turned out well, too.

    That silver spray paint is good! The pulls don’t look cheap and fakey like most silver paint would have made it look. After seeing how good those look, I think I’ll have to give it a whirl!

  35. Really, really great. I love the color, I love that you did it together. You’re training her to be a do it yourselfer….I love it! Lisa~

  36. Cindy Rand says:

    Love the paint color. Looks so fresh and young! And the window treatment was a wonderful finishing touch. LOVE IT ALL!

  37. Great job…and what a lucky daughter you have! Burlington, VT is one of my favorite cities…and we’ll be there this Summer! Can’t wait!!

  38. Oh, and I’d love to feature this post on my saturday shout out tomorrow. Come check it out!

  39. How absolutely adorable!! What a wonderful memory for you and your daughter! I love that you have the vision and ability to do something like that for her and she has the wisdom to trust you and experience something fun together. Good for you guys. :) Plus, you know I’m a furniture junkie so I just love the pieces!! -shaunna :)

  40. sarah of handbagsnpigtails says:

    Yup, we have that exact same dresser as well as one that goes with it. I always love to see someone with the same piece so I know what mine would look like. Since ours is my hubbys dresser I dont think he’d be too into the turquoise-y color but I love it!:)
    And youre such a cute patootie momma! Alot of bloggy moms have been sending their kids off to school lately.:( Something I dont even want to think about yet!
    Have a great weekend!

  41. Linda @Nina's Nest says:

    I think I have the companion dresser to yours! We have painted some furniture in our house, but not sure I would ever have the nerve to paint it (though I am sick of brown furniture). However, after looking at your results, I might reconsider. Beautiful job. Linda

  42. abeachcottage says:

    I love the colour of that paint…it turned out fab!