Give an Old Wood Dresser a New Look

My mom was one of those people that always had a project
going. One of her favorites was refinishing wood furniture. Whether it was an
old rocking chair or table, she could make it look new. One of her great finds
was taking an old wood dresser and giving it a facelift by refinishing it.

A lot of people with old dressers should take a clue from my mother before throwing it out and
getting a new one. Giving an old one a makeover could save you a lot of time
and money and instead of settling for what a retailer has in stock, you could
wind up with something you really enjoy and appreciate. Give an old wood
dresser a new look.

It does take some elbow grease and a few tools to do the job.
You will need to remove layers (and years) of paint, varnish, lacquer and
whatever else you find on it to get it down to the bare bones. Some will have
crayon, gum and other mystery additions if kids used it. Plan on investing some
time and effort to get what you want. If you don’t have a one at home, consider
buying a great used one from Craigslist or similar resource.

Remove the hardware

Take off the hardware. This includes mirrors and handles. You
can reuse them if you like or buy new ones. These are very inexpensive to
replace and there are thousands to choose from. Find these at nearly any home
improvement store.

Expect to pay according to the size, design and appearance. Most
drawers will have the holes built in. Therefore, when changing out the hardware
you want to match the new into the same holes as the old. If you have 4 inch
spacing-don’t get a 5 inch spacing replacement.


Start your project with sanding. Usually sanding it twice
will assure everything is removed and you have the bare bones to work with. Use
medium fine grit sand paper to start your first sanding and complete it with
steel wool.

Sanding it once with sand paper and following it with the
steel wool will remove not only stubborn stains like crayon markings, but also
get rid many of the scratches and dings. Find a well-ventilated spot for
sanding. It can be messy so be prepared to clean up the wood dust and consider
wearing a face mask.


Stain all of your sanded surfaces with Minwax. This is a one-step
finish for staining and generally a small can will get the job done. Find a
shade you like and get at it. This is another piece of the job that requires a well-ventilated
area. This is an easy job and doesn’t require a lot of skill or effort.

Let the stain cure for a couple of hours. You can repeat the
step as many times as necessary to get your desired color. Use gloves while
working with stain. It will discolor your skin and clothes, so dress accordingly
while you work on giving an old wood dresser a new look.


If you would like to coat it with a shinier surface,
consider using a little lacquer. They are sold in the same stores as your
dresser drawer hardware. Some retailers offer a stain and finish in a one coat

In conclusion

Removing the drawers for sanding and staining makes the job
a little easier. Generally the process will take a Saturday afternoon and you
have a new beautiful piece of furniture. Instead of painting an old wood dresser,
consider a beautiful makeover with refinishing it.

The elbow grease used to complete the project can vary. Depending
on the type of wood you are working with, the age of the dresser, how large or
small it is and how much “crap” you need to remove during your sanding process
will affect the time invested.