Dresser Makeover with Chalk Paint

You must read the story on how I came about giving this dresser a makeover with chalk paint!

Dresser makeover with chalk paint - So Much Better With Age

This dresser is a family heirloom. Can’t you tell? There’s quite the story with this dresser.

When my hubby and I moved into our first house my mother-in-law let me borrow this dresser.

I loved it and made sure nothing happened to it.

Then I started to go through a painting furniture phase to furnish our new home. I found curbside furniture and was painting everything white that came in my sight.

I think she was worried about me painting this dresser. Well, I know she was because she told me so.

Whatever you do, don’t paint that dresser!

So why did I paint this dresser?

A dresser that has been painted with grey chalk paint.

I don’t have a good photo of when the dresser was in our house. This is the only one I could find.

Do you see it on the left hand side of this wedding photo?

Jamie in her wedding dress on her wedding day.
photo via Lori Miles Photography

So what the heck happened to this dresser, you ask?

Well…..I’m not quite sure. All I know is that it was meant for another family member, it was put in storage, and then it got stuck outside on a patio deck for over a year.


When I spotted it one day on a patio, the current owner was about to throw it in the dumpster! I said, hell no, I’ll take it home with me!

So here is what the dresser looked like when I saved it.

The broken dresser outside with a drawer taken out of it.

Here is the back…

The back of the dresser all broken away.

And here are some of the broken drawers!

Broken drawers on the ground.

 So after two tubs of wood putty, a gazillion finishing nails and some imagination, I pieced it all together.

Piecing the dresser back together.

Yeah, craziness.

I had to cut off the feet because there were only three.

Then I used some of the drawer pieces to finish the missing back pieces.

I also had a new piece of wood cut for where the baskets sit.

Then I used Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan in Graphite and Paris Grey first and finished with the Clear Soft Wax and Dark Wax.

The finished piece was well worth the effort!

The finished dresser with drawers, baskets and folded blankets in it.

The interior I painted with Paris Grey (two coats), Clear Wax, then Dark Wax. I waxed on and waxed off the Dark Wax until I achieved the finished look I wanted.

Up close look at the grey paint job on the dresser.

I added these awesome industrial bookplate pulls which go perfectly with the dark grey.

The bookplate pulls on the drawers.

Initially, I didn’t want to paint this dresser AT ALL because I imagined a beautiful driftwood-type dresser but it just wasn’t salvageable without all that putty and nails.

I painted the exterior in Graphite Chalk Paint®.

The back of the dresser painted with a small table behind it.

Then I finished it the same as the interior – Clear Wax first then Dark Wax.

Graphite and dark waxed dresser.

I love the variation in texture and depth the Dark Wax gives to the Graphite.

The texture on the side of the dresser.

I’m sooo freakin’ excited about this piece and LOVE that the Thomas Train table is gone and the long baby gate and finally have a place to store all the kids’ art supplies.

Baskets that are great for storage in the dresser.

Yep, totally worth it 😉

The painted dresser with blankets folded.
Dresser makeover with chalk paint - finished dresser.

And totally ironic that my mother-in-law didn’t want me painting it but painting it brought it back (and saved) its life!

Disclosure:  I received Chalk Paint® products for this post but all opinions are 100% my own and I absolutely love the products.


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  1. I love the colors and the baskets!! What a transformation!!! I can’t believe what you started with and what you ended with – that was a lot of putty! LOL! Will you please share at Merry Monday Linky Party? We would love to share your dresser! Julia

  2. Wow! What a difference. That’s so great that you were able to save this piece from going to the dumpster.

    I’m doing my first project with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint soon and I can’t wait to see the results. Hopefully they turn out as good as yours! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I have to agree with you….nothing beats Annie Sloan chalk paints….I love them. Nice transformation!

  4. Wow, just wow!! I cannot believe you were able to save this dresser! You did an amazing job restoring it! I love the colors you chose to paint it! And I also love that you let it sit where everyone can see the front and back to enjoy its gorgeousness!

  5. Jamie, what a great story. Everyone who ever thought about throwing out an old piece of furniture should see this. It is beautiful! When my husbands grandmother sold her home to move to an apartment my brother in law loaded up a dresser to take to the landfill. I was pregnant with our first child and my husband came into the house asked if I wanted a dresser nobody else wanted. It had been stored in the basement near a room that used to store coal and was filthy. Of course we rescued it much to the shock of my brother in law. It was refinished by my dad and we used it as a changing table for all three of our children and we currently use it in our living room to store picture albums and some linens. I love that it belonged to my husbands family and refinished by my dad.

  6. Hi!!!!


    Its amazing what a difference that the before and after pictures show!!! You mentioned that your mother-inlaw didn’t want it painted, but, look how neglected it was on the bacy deck, of all places!!

    You did a great job with fixing it up into a great piece of furniture!!!! I love the shade of blue that you chose!!!

    Have a great week!!!


  7. What a beautiful makeover! I love the colours and handles you chose!! And I so know what you mean about not being able to paint dressers…I have the most amazing set from the 30’s that is currently collecting dust in my basement because I’m not ‘allowed’ to paint it. So frustrating!!

  8. How in the world did this dresser end up outside for a year? That should be considered a felony. I’m so glad you saved her and brought her back to life! Beautiful makeover!

  9. Gorgeous! I love the dark graphite colour that you chose – I love it! You’ve brought this dresser back to life, Jamie! What an amazing job!

  10. You rescued it! That was a mercy mission to keep it out of the dumpster, now it’s back with you where it belongs. And it looks great.

  11. Jamie this is the best story, I can relate to the worried mother or mother in law about painting their furniture!! Oh how sad what happened to it, but I can’t believe how beautifully you restored it, and dare I say, it looks a lot better than it did originally……Thank you so much for sharing at Redouxinteriors and The Handmade Hangout.

  12. What an amazing transformation. It takes true love for a piece to have the stamina go through all of that work but it has become cherished in your home once again! Love the wedding photo too!

    Gigi @ Old World Patina

  13. You did such a great job! But what a pity this dresser was allowed to get into that state in the first place, some people just don’t appreciate how lucky they are.

  14. Am I the only one who wonders what MIL had to say about this dresser? I hope she has mellowed out some since the piece was in your home when you married! And finally trusts you to do right!

    This is one of the most impressive rescues i’ve seen. Nice job!

  15. Wow! What a difference! I love the color too.. I noticed you used clear wax first.. some people use dark wax first. Have you ever tried that? I think the look is different.

    1. Thanks Christine! I’ve done a project where I put the dark wax on first then clear wax and I couldn’t get the majority of dark wax off it. It definitely does depend on what look you are going for.

  16. Love the makeover. A wise woman you are! I also have an “oak” dresser to rescue with no drawers. Where did you find the basket? Also the pull are great. I would like to use them on another project. What is the source for them also? Don’t you love to rescue stuff?!!

  17. Wow! What a beautiful transformation. The paint colors and waxes really add so much depth to this piece and I love your industrial bookplate pulls. Thanks for sharing. It makes me look at beat up furniture in a new way.

  18. Well done, wonderful rehab with the dresser! You worked so hard to salvage that piece. You are an inspiration to me and my future projects!

  19. I love that you are so passionate about family heirlooms. Someone in the family has to have that job because not all family members see what we see and feel when looking at a antique. It almost looked hopeless and look what you have taught others by saving this piece especially your children. Great Job!

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