We start this dresser makeover with an old dresser that was in shambles. It was missing its legs, a few hardware pieces, and it had some bumps and bruises. But it was worth saving. With some fresh paint, new cabinet hardware and a little elbow grease we gave it a new life as an attractive and useful living room sideboard.
Here’s how we did it.
Dresser Makeover Tutorial
- Liberty Hardware Luxe Square Cabinet Pull
- Liberty Hardware Geometric Print Shelf Liner
- Liberty Hardware Furniture Leg (not pictured)
- BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Paint in Ultra Pure White
- PureBond Project Panel
- Wood Glue
- Adhesive Shelf Liner
- Painter’s Tape
Step 1: Remove drawers
Remove the drawers from your dresser and set aside. Our dresser had six large drawers and six small drawers. We wanted to turn some of the drawers into shelves, so we weren’t going to be using the small drawers.
To transform the center drawers into shelves, we used a rubber mallet to pop out the front center brace from the dresser. We used pliers to remove the nails left behind.
Step 2: Create your shelves
Measure and cut your project panel to fit each shelf opening that you have created. Measure each opening because the dimensions could be slightly different for each one. Once each panel is cut, you can measure and cut the adhesive shelf liner to fit each shelf. You can always paint the shelves if you prefer.
Take your correctly sized piece of drawer liner and peel back the bottom side to reveal the adhesive on the top corners. Start by applying the corners at one end of the drawer and smoothing the liner down with the palm of your hand. As you work from your top corners, continue to peel back the adhesive towards you while sticking the drawer liner to the desired area.
Once the drawer liner is in place, use the palm of your hand to smooth over the entire surface. Work from the center to the edges to get rid of any air bubbles. If there are remaining air bubbles, pierce them with a pin and continue to smooth.
Attach your new shelves with wood glue. Apply a thin beading of glue around the drawer braces.
Carefully drop in your shelf. Press firmly to allow glue to set. Secure each shelf to the drawer frame using clamps. This will ensure your shelves will not lift while the glue is drying. If there is any excess glue seeping around the edges, quickly remove with a damp cloth.
Step 3: Paint
Use painter’s tape to tape off any areas of the dresser drawer that you do not want to get paint on. We chose to paint only the front of the drawers, so we applied the painter’s tape to the sides.
Lightly sand the front of the drawers with a medium grit sanding block. Your intention here is not to remove all the lacquer, but to provide a rough and even surface for your paint to adhere to.
Use a paint brush or paint roller to apply an even coat of paint to the drawers and the front of the dresser’s shelves. We used BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Paint in Ultra Pure White for a clean and crisp look that brought out the natural oak finish of the dresser top. We didn’t use a primer, so we applied two coats of paint to achieve an even surface.
A small roller works well for painting the front of the drawers, and a slanted short-handle brush or foam brush for smaller areas like the sides of the drawer fronts and the front edge of the dresser shelves.
Step 4: Add cabinet hardware
Your decorative hardware should come with installation screws. Use a phillips head screwdriver to install your new pulls. I used Liberty’s Luxe Square cabinet pull, which mixes both Satin Nickel and Cocoa Bronze to provide a contrast that is both unique and classic.
I was fortunate that my pull width was the same size as the old hardware that was on the dresser. If your pulls are not the same size, you’ll need to fill in the holes with wood filler, and drill new holes to fit your particular hardware.
Since my dresser did not have legs, I found a great satin nickel furniture leg from Liberty Hardware. I turned my dresser upside down so that I could easily attach the legs. Position each furniture leg where you would like to attach it, and mark each hole. Pre-drill with a 3/16 in. drill bit. Then use your drill or a screw driver to attach your furniture legs using the included mounting hardware.
Step 5: Style your new sideboard
That’s the dresser makeover. Enjoy your new sideboard.