3 steps to vintage-ifying a brand new dresser

November 29 | Guest post by Christina Fleming

I really wanted a dresser in my dining room. Not for storing clothes (because that's just silly!) but for keeping extra dishes, linens, etc. I brought the idea to my husband a few months ago and he said that was fine. I suggested we buy a secondhand dresser and paint it. But my husband struggled with the concept of painting a potentially old and lovely piece of wooden furniture, so my next idea was to buy new and paint it. THAT he approved!

I found this brand new dresser for $99 at a store similar to Ikea. It's just unfinished pine and comes with six drawers. From there it was a three-step process for my project: distressing, painting, staining.

Step 1: Distress

I wanted to create a piece that looked worn and beat up, like it had been painted a couple times. So my husband gave me some tools (screw, crowbar, hammer and hatchet) and I went to town beating my dresser.

Step 2: Paint

I bought two cans or Rustoleum "Colonial Red" spray paint but only used one.

Side note: wear gloves while spray painting outside.

Painting is done! I did a couple coats and let it all dry outside for a couple hours (it was pretty chilly out, but also sunny. The sun dried most of the paint so we could move it inside after a couple hours). The dresser had a full two days to dry before I started the staining process.

Step 3: Stain

I used Minwax Wood Finish in cherry and a staning kit that came with gloves, an applicator sponge and a cleaning rag. I also used a brush for painting walls.

The staining process was really easy: Paint the stain in an even layer over a small patch of dresser, wait a minute or two and rub it in with the rag. A lot of the stain came off but that's the look I was going for.

The whole project took about one hour, not including drying time. It could have been completed in one day because the drying time for the paint is only four hours. A little time for a big impact!

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  1. I remember watching a furniture show on PBS and they used chains to distress furniture. Like get a thick-ass chain, live out your Road Rash fantasies on that thing. It helps wear edges really nicely.
    Awesome tute.

    1 agrees
    • Absolutely! You can also lie the chain on the wood and tap it with a hammer or rubber mallet to create distressed looks. Also, hammer a few bent down nails on a 2×4, and give the furniture a few good whacks.

  2. I really want that exact dresser. I have been looking for a dresser-type piece of furniture for my living room too!

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  3. I laughed when I read "it only took me an hour", as I do every time I read a similar statement. How do you people do things so fast!? Everything takes me forever and a day. Teach me your ways!!!

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    • Rose, it only took me an hour because the spray paint is super easy to apply! And the stain is too since I wasn't doing 100% coverage.

      • I'm just remembering the time I spray painted my dresser. It was like a comedy routine! I sat there in the store for 20 minutes debating on the best value spray paint. It took a half hour to finally get my mom to help me carry the body of the dresser outside. 15 minutes to search for a drop cloth as my mom complained that I would ruin the lawn. I held the spray paint can too far away at first, and I was using crappy paint, so I used up all three cans on half the dresser. Back to the store I went for more paint. Came back and halfway finished the job before realizing the wind had blown grass into the wet paint. After it dried, I had to sand out the grass chunks and respray. After that dried, I realized the job was still blotchy, and did a second coat. All in all, it took an entire day. I feel like all of my home improvement projects follow a similar script, and I get so frustrated!

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  4. I spy a JYSK dresser…hello fellow canadian? I actually have a similar dresser from there, thanks for the ideas!

  5. lovely dresser!
    i am really commenting though because i was cracking up- "I really wanted a dresser in my dining room. Not for storing clothes (because that's just silly!)"- i currently have my dresser full of clothes in my dining room (disguised on top as a buffet-clever, yes?). got to love small apartments!

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  6. Please tell me where you found a new dresser for $99! I can't find anything less than $300 for that size!

  7. Kirstin, the dresser was $99 in store but the website has it listed for more (it might have been on sle when I bought it). If you don't mind second hand furniture try Value Village or Good Will…I saw lots of good pieces at my local stores.

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