Repainted dresser, before and after
Kathy Owen portrait

Repainted dresser

A dress makeover that’s both bold and whimsical

Kathy Owen

Petticoat Junktion

This is a wow project for my granddaughters’ bedroom. The dresser in their bedroom was a soft green with glass knobs. The paint finish was pretty but it didn’t wow me. I chose a new colour scheme for the dresser and went to work. I painted it Diva Glam, a bold fuchsia, and added yellow accents using stencils.

Behr Colour Palette

This colour is Diva Glam

Diva Glam

P120-6

This colour is Buzz-In

Buzz-In

P300-6

Do you have extra bedrooms for overnight guests? We do. Our son and daughter are both married and have children of their own. That means we have 2 spare bedrooms ready for visits from friends and family. We’ve dubbed the spare bedrooms “the granddaughters’ room”, and “the grandsons’ room”. They are decorated accordingly.

The granddaughters’ bedroom is a rainbow of colours. The coverlet on the bed is in varying shades of pink, yellow, purple, and blue. I purchased it several years ago from a local department store. It’s so pretty I’m not ready to change it out.

Dresser with the drawers removed and ready to paint
The dresser in the granddaughters’ bedroom before its makeover

The dresser in the bedroom is one I painted many years ago. It’s a vintage piece that I bought at a thrift store when we lived in Florida. I painted it lime green and added black stencil details. The dresser is pretty but a little understated. I’m ready for WOW.

I went to The Home Depot® to select a paint colour. The guys and girls in the paint department are beginning to think of me as family. Yes, I’m there that often!

I was debating between a shade of purple or a bold pink. I would also need to pick an accent colour for the stencil design. After looking at the colour guides and the huge display of paint chips, I decided to go with pink paint (Diva Glam) for the dresser and yellow (Buzz-in) for the stenciled design.

Picking colours based on the bedspread from the room
I picked out some beautiful decorative drawer pulls

Now that I had the paint for the dresser selected, I headed to a local craft supply store to select new knobs. I wanted contrasting, look-at-me-knobs for that WOW factor. I selected pretty yellow knobs with off-white detail and a matte finish.

Diva Glam was mixed in BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA® Interior Matte. I chose the matte finish because it’s a little less formal looking. At least that’s the way I see it! Glossy finishes look great in a formal room, but I wasn’t going for that look in the girls’ room. Buzz-In was mixed in a sample size of BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA Interior Satin Enamel. I chose the satin finish to make the details pop against the matte finish of the dresser.

Prep The Dresser

Prepping the dresser was easy. I wiped it with a damp cloth and removed the knobs. The dresser is really old and the boards on the top are buckled and the wood is rough in places. The first time I painted it, I didn’t do any repairs.

This time I decided to paint over the existing paint without sanding or priming the finish. I grabbed my 2-inch paint brush, opened the can of Diva Glam, and started to work. I painted the sides first, then the front, the top, and the drawers last.

The dresser after one coat of paint
You can still see the old stencil still through the first coat of paint

The first coat of paint covered really well. The areas on the drawer fronts that were previously stenciled with black paint were showing through a little. Sanding the black paint off before painting would have solved that problem. You learn from experience.

The first coat of paint took 45 minutes to apply. I started the project very late in the day, so I decided to let the paint dry overnight before applying the second coat. I could have easily completed the dresser in one day if I started at 10 in the morning.

I always brush on the paint going with the grain of the wood

I applied a second coat of paint with a heavier coat on the drawer fronts to cover the black designs from the previous paint job. The black showed through the paint because of the stark contrast between it and the green paint finish. If the dresser had been solid black the pink paint would cover it just fine.

The paint was dry to touch in one hour and I started the stenciling process.

Visualize It

A doll in a frilly dress welcomes guests from her perch on the newly painted dresser

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I matched the knobs to the colour chips and selected “Buzz-in”, a bright yellow, for the stencils.

How appropriate is that name? I want to be the person who decides the names for the new paint colours.

Add the Stencils

I had a cute stencil with bird designs and another stencil with a small hanging bird cage. I placed the stencils where I wanted the design to display and taped them in place with painter's tape.

Stenciling is an easy process. The secret is a very, very, very dry stencil brush. To make sure the brush has the perfect amount of paint, I dip the brush into the paint then wipe the brush across a paper towel over and over until I think there is no more paint on the brush. Then I start stenciling.

Use a paper towel to dry off your stencil brush before applying it to the dresser
Hold the stencil to the dresser with painter’s tape then dab it with a stencil brush

I dab the paint on the stencil. I repeated the “dip brush in paint and wipe off excess” a few times during the stenciling process. The likelihood of getting globs of paint under the stencil is very small if you use the dry brush method. You can always add more paint but it’s hard to wipe off big blobs of paint.

Dab a second, darker colour over the stencil to add some depth

I could have left the little birds and the cage just like this but they were a little flat looking. Another secret I’ve learned is add depth to a stencil by adding a second paint colour.

I re-taped the stencils back in place over the yellow stenciled birds and cage. I found a small bottle of acrylic paint in purple and repeated the dry brush technique. I dabbed the purple paint in just a few places on the birds and the cages. I could have used any dark paint colour to add depth.

Can you see the difference? It’s a small detail but one that gives the stencil a professional feel. The stenciled designs were dry in minutes.

The Big Reveal

The made-over dresser and hardware pick up colours from the bed cover
The yellow stencils perfectly match the drawer pulls
The new yellow hardware looks fabulous against the bold pink dresser

I put on the new hardware and…done! My hubby helped move the dresser back into the bedroom and I decorated the dresser with some of the granddaughters’ favorite things. The dresser really has wow factor now.

Kathy Owen portrait

Kathy Owen

Kathy Owen is the Home Décor/DIY blogger behind Petticoat Junktion. She paints furniture and creates fun home décor from new or recycled items. Most days she can be found in her workshop or shopping at her favorite junk shop.