How to Refinish Furniture – Repurposed Dresser

Don’t you hate it when you see a beautiful piece of furniture at a store, online, or in a catalog and the price tag is just plain ridiculous? I love walking through stores like Anthropology or Pier One but I almost never buy anything there! Their products are just so gorgeous but their prices are just too high.

Do you know what my solution is? DIY! That’s right, do it yourself! Now do not let yourself get intimidated! That is exactly what these fancy pants stores what. They want you to think that there is no way you could ever make something that stunning all on your own. They are totally wrong and you CAN do it!

All you need to do is find a piece of solid furniture that has pretty lines and you are ready to get started. I will need to do an entire post on how to pick furniture for a full DIY makeover. But for now let me show you what I did with this dresser I found on Craigslist.

How to Refinish Furniture - penniesintopearls.com - Tips on how to refinish furniture easy and quick

By some miracle I found some before pictures of this beast. I wasn’t blogging when I refinished this project, so I was ecstatic when I found these! It was meant to be!

What I loved about it was its shape. Since I knew what I was going to be repurposing this dresser into a TV stand I knew that I wanted something long and skinny. Check! I was also looking for something with a lot of storage. Check!

Repurposed Dresser into TV Stand
Really all I had to do was sand off the little stain it still had on it. Use a finer grit sandpaper to smooth out some little nicks and bumps. (Not all of them because that adds to the shabby chicness!) Drill one hole in center back for cords to go through and the last step being paint.

How to Refinish Furniture - penniesintopearls.com - Tips on how to refinish furniture easy and quick

How to Refinish Furniture - penniesintopearls.com - Tips on how to refinish furniture easy and quick

The whole process of transformation was very simple for this project! This is how you can DIY your own dresser or any other type of DIY furniture.

How to Refinish Furniture - penniesintopearls.com - Tips on how to refinish furniture easy and quick

How to Refinish Furniture

1. Find your new (to you) piece of furniture. Craigslist is my favorite place. Prices are almost always negotiable and this is where you are probably going to find the lowest price. Even lower than thrift stores or swap meets.

2. Sand down the wood. Depending on where your piece of furniture has been through in its life, will determine how much sanding you will need to do. If it has already been painted once (or more) you might want to think about using a liquid paint stripper first before sanding.

In most cases, a good once over with heavier grit sandpaper, around 120, will work. Then finish it off with another pass of finer sandpaper around 400. Using the heavier grit will give it the facelift it needs and the finer paper will polish it off.

3. Next you will be ready to choose the paint color. Choosing a paint color is a hard thing for me. It is so hard to choose a “simple” off white color when there are literally hundreds to choose from.

The easiest way I have found is to not over think it. Go to the store, take home a few paint cards, and keep it in the room where the refinished furniture will live. That way you can see the colors under the same light in its new home.

4. To start painting, decide if you are using a brush or a sprayer. Using a sprayer would be a hundred times faster and easier. But we don’t all have that luxury. (Hopefully we will one day soon!)

If the paintbrush is where you end up, like me, make sure to buy a quality brush! I tried skimping with the $3 paint brush and my paint ended up with a bunch of brush marks all over my furniture. Invest in a good brush. Then start painting. You might need to use more than one coat of paint. This just depends on your personal preference on how it looks. If you decide to do more than one coat, let each coat dry before adding another.

You could be done right here! But if you are like me and love the “shabby chic” or distressed look, then you might want to rough it up a bit. I love this look because you don’t need to be perfect at painting to make it look great! Use a fine grit sandpaper, I used 400, and start lightly sanding in areas where the repurposed furniture would naturally get worn. Examples of such places would be edges, corners, around handles, and anywhere someone might naturally lean up against the furniture.

Tips for Painting Furniture
• Bring paint cards home and set in area where the furniture piece will be kept to consider under the correct lighting
• Make sure to paint with the grain
• Don’t use too much paint at one time
• Be especially watchful of paint accumulating around corners and edges
• Let paint dry between each additional coat
• Sand in-between coats of paint (when completely dry) for a more smooth finish

Do you have any questions? Have you refinished or repurposed any furniture? I would love to provide some answers or see your projects! Leave me your tips or questions in the comments below!


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  • Kendra
    April 23, 2015 at 6:03 am

    I love diy furniture and your tv stand turned out beautifully!

  • Tirralan @ Tinseltown Mom
    April 23, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Wow, this looks amazing. Sounds like a lot of work though. But, it’s probably a great activity to do to unwind and relax.

  • Miss Angie
    April 23, 2015 at 6:59 am

    That looks so great!

  • Lisa Riggs
    April 23, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I love how this piece turned out! When my husband and I move (hopefully this year), I plan on doing a lot of these projects 🙂

  • Ashleigh
    April 23, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    That turned out so pretty… I really enjoy repurposing furniture. Thank you for sharing this! I know others will love it so please come share and link up with me at http://www.wrightsimply.com/2015/04/not-so-wordless-wednesday-linky-hows.html
    Have a wonderful weekend ahead!! xx Ashleigh @SimplyWright

  • Christin
    April 23, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Love this! I love love redoing furniture. I love going to the thrift store, garage sale or wherever I can find anything and finding the ugliest piece and making it beautiful. 🙂