The Sentimental Dresser’s Comeback

I have been anxiously awaiting for the rain to stop so I can get going on my side patio stencil. However, there hasn’t been a break long enough in the rain here to make any real progress. That hasn’t stopped my desire to get a project finished though.

Because I was stuck inside, I was stuck looking at an old dresser that I have had my whole life. In fact it was one of the first purchases my parents made when they got married. Its a simple, 6 drawer dresser. Straight, clean and minimal. I have never lived in a house that this wasn’t in my bedroom. I know that seems bizarre, but it is so simple and practical that it just keeps moving with us.

Which has created a sort of sentimental connection to it.

I would say 99% of people wouldn’t get it. Look at it:

before dresser

I know it is a sad little dresser. I’m not sure why I never changed the hardware. (Or left one handle off for so many years!) But it has worked for me in every point of my life. Its most current use was in my boys bedroom as their dresser/changing table. It was just the right height for changing pad and all of the diaper changing paraphernalia, and fit both boys clothes in separate sides. How can you be mad at that??

But alas, the time has come that it needed to be redone or let go.

So I started scrolling through Pinterest for some inspiration. I have seen dressers modified into media cabinets a million times. What I knew for sure is I didn’t want it to have a shabby chalk paint look or simply still look like a dresser. Which is what most of the dressers you see from a search of “dresser to media cabinet DIY” will show you.

I did find these beauties on Pinterest:


I knew that this wasn’t going to be what mine looked like. These were obvious European designer pieces unavailable to common people like me. Two are from DWR, which is also unavailable for the most part. But I can dream! 🙂 What I did love about these was the simplicity and the mix of white or black and wood grain. The look of a cubby, or insert,  seemed really cool.

What our dresser had going for it was the simple box design. There was no intricacies to work around or try to hide. It was perfectly minimal.

The first step was give the whole thing a good sanding. This was a beast of a job . We were working around large thunderstorms so we had to keep moving it in and out. So I didn’t get a single picture. But you get the idea. It got sanded 🙂

We opted to remove the top two drawers and build an insert in that space. We had a sheet of oak plywood laying around, so we used it!

We also thought it would look good with some legs. I wanted something simple and clean. I had salvaged some black tapered mid century legs from a piece I had years back. I had been saving them for the perfect project and thought this could be it.

Of course they were no where to be found.

So the search began for legs. Which is not fun! I saw some cool legs online, but a set of 4 was averaging over $90 with a 5-6 week backorder. No thanks.

My daughter must have noticed my searching and heard me talking about the missing mystery legs when one day she walked out her room with one. “Is this the leg you are looking for?” We recently discovered she knows where everything is….all the time! Remember: ask her first.

We had whitewash stain left from another project so we decided to give it a try on the raw wood. It was perfect.

We painted the insert matte black with leftover black paint from our house.

We put on the newly found black tapered legs.

Final step was adding some matte black hardware from Ikea. We shopped around a lot but Ikea came through for the win. It was perfect.

And there you have it.





What I love most about this project was the reuse of something old. I was able to keep this piece from my childhood but transform it into something that works for us now. We didn’t do anything to it that couldn’t be reversed if we needed a dresser again.

And the total cost??

$20 for the Ikea hardware

Amazing, right??

On to the next project. (hopefully my patio!)


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