Antique Dresser Refresh

antique dresser after
antique dresser before

Hi Friends!  Today I’ve got a really satisfying project for you. 

My sister-in-law was getting rid of this 3-drawer dresser, and asked me to come pick it up.  It was in really great structural shape, just a bit worn out. 

Age and patina are good in my book, but this was not in a good way.  I was anxious to get started on it, especially after I posted my new acquisition on Facebook, and everyone had comments and suggestions of how to refinish it.

antique dresser unstaged

The Plan

I am not one to pick white as my default color.  I pick bolder colors or layered finishes more than half the time.  But this little piece just seemed to scream white to me.  I may have painted the whole thing white, if not for the Facebook suggestions to stain the top dark. 

antique dresser plan

How to Strip the Top

I started by stripping the top with Citristrip.  I like to brush on a thick layer with a chip brush and cover it with plastic wrap.  I let it sit for a few hours, and then come back with a plastic paint scraper and scrape the top clean.  I keep a little cardboard box nearby to unload the scraper into.  Then I just toss the whole mess in the garbage. 

If there are any little stubborn areas, I rub them off with #0000 steel wool.  I give it all a wipe down with a shop towel, and then sand with 220 grit sand paper.

antique dresser top

Fresh Finishes

For the stain, I used Dixie Belle No Pain Gel Stain in the color Espresso.  This color has recently become my top favorite over Walnut because of how dark and rich it is.  I also sealed it with two coats of Gator Hide. 

For the paint, I chose Dixie Belle’s whitest white, called Cotton.  I really wanted bright and fresh.  But not too clean, so of course I distressed a bit around the details and edges.

antique dresser detail

I was able to keep the original hardware too. I staged it using some kitchen canisters and plates because I could see it as a coffee station or small buffet, or of course as a dresser.  With its smaller size, it’s such a versatile piece that it could be used in any room of the house.  Or all of them, if you’re someone who likes to rearrange a lot!

antique dresser after

Here’s another look at how this dresser transformed from dark and dated to light and bright, but still kept its old character. 

before & after antique dresser

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