Artsy Antique Dresser

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here – it seems the “scientist” part of our lives has been taking over recently. Nik and I are planning to graduate this summer/early fall, so unfortunately furniture has to take the back burner sometimes. But, we’ve still managed to wrap up a few projects in the past couple weeks, so I’ll write about one of them today.

We picked up this antique-looking dresser from the guy with the huge furniture warehouse in Durham, for $85, which is more than we usually spend on a dresser but it was unique and we didn’t want to leave empty handed from his warehouse, so we went for it.

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Nik started off by removing the weird back panel, and although I was against this at first, I think I like it better without it in the end.


We had discussed doing some varied pattern of paint and stain in the little cut-out sections, so Nik decided to strip/sand the inside portion and the top and stain that, and then just do a rough sand/prime the rest of it. In an effort to save money since the piece cost us more than usual, we decided to go with a strange color that we actually found in the dumpster in our neighborhood earlier that week. It was more than half a gallon of good Valspar paint…flat sheen and a strange mint green color, but importantly, it was free! After testing out different stain options with this paint, we decided on dark walnut – the special walnut was too red, and we thought the classic gray stain with the green paint would look too coastal.


So, on the stain went, then priming and painting! We sealed the whole thing in water-based poly. We had thought about sealing with wax since the paint was flat and you need porous, flat paint for wax to really seal a piece, but we were concerned about wax getting into the little wood carving lines and being difficult to buff out.

Here’s how the finished piece came out, with original hardware:

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And for good measure, a before and after:

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