The Gray Dresser Makeover Project


I have a new project in the works – a furniture piece that I’m doing myself, probably to resell – my favorite kind of furniture makeover.  Let me tell you, furniture makeovers are way less stressful when I’m doing them for fun vs. doing them for customers.  I get way too anxiety-ridden about custom pieces, so these are definitely my favorite.  I mentioned on Friday that I totally lucked out when I spotted this piece on Craigslist.

Dixie Dresser Makeover

It needs some love to be restored to its former glory, but I have a plan and I’ve already gotten started.  

Part of the reason I got this dresser for such a steal is because the top of the dresser has some blemishes – some nail polish, and some other marks are visible at first glance.

Dixie Dreser

This is where my amazing Festool Rotex 90 DX sander comes into play – it has an aggressive sanding mode that comes in super handy when tackling blemishes like this on furniture.

Dixie Dresser Makeover

And after 15-20 minutes, here is the top of the dresser now.  My goal is to stain the top of the dresser, and paint the bottom.  I like the mix of stained wood along with painted finishes – the contrast gives it a little more interest.  

Refinishing a dresser

As for the color, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on that one.  At first, I was thinking about giving it a high gloss finish.  The finished look is so striking.  Look at this piece from my friend Kayla at Painted.  She has mad skills when it comes to high gloss finishes.

High gloss dresser

I mean look, it’s like glass.

High Gloss Black Dresser

Another glossy paint expert is Sucheta, at The Resplendent Crow.  She has great info on her blog, and if you don’t feel like tackling a furniture piece yourself, you can buy one from her Etsy shop.  You all know my love for all things navy, and this high gloss navy dresser is perfection.

Navy lacquered dresser

As much as I love this look, I’m looking to flip this piece locally, and I don’t know if the peeps in my neck of the woods will fully appreciate a lacquered piece like this.  I’m half tempted to lacquer it keep it for myself, quite frankly.  But now I’m thinking about the dresser I did in Amy Howard’s One Step Paint.  Ironically, it was the total opposite of a high gloss finish – it was a beautiful matte finish (which I also love).

Amy Howard Dresser Redo

Soooo, now I’m on to choosing a color.  I’m looking for something that appeals to the masses, but I’m also wanting a color – not white.  I’m thinking blues, grays, blacks, and settled upon a shade of gray.  I found some great inspiration on Pinterest.  Like this gorgeous gray dresser in Sherwin Williams’ Cast Iron from Lily Field Furniture Company.

Cast Iron Dresser

This curbside find looks brand new courtesy of Annie Sloan’s Amsterdam Green and a little bit of love.  The keyhole detail was added as a great embellishment, don’t you think?

This piece in Benjamin Moore’s Black Panther really caught my attention.  Again, I’m rendered powerless when I see a stained wood top coupled with a painted finish.

Then there’s this gorgeous dresser from Portilla Design in Graphite from Annie Sloan – add the polished hardware, and we have a winner.

Can you see the direction in which I’m heading?  So today, I picked up some Amy Howard One Step Paint, and had it tinted in Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal.  Yes, you can tint it to other colors!  It’s a great charcoal gray, and I think it will give me a classic look, when paired with a stained wood top.  

Kendall Charcoal

I just need to decide on the stain color for the top.  I’m leaning toward something in the middle – not too dark.  Maybe even something a bit lighter than what I usually do.  I think rich grays pair beautifully with light wood tones.  

Do you have any go-to furniture colors (or colors in general) that you like?  Looking forward to sharing this transformation with you!

This post contains some affiliate links.



  • Reply
    Susan Stacy
    March 8, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Everything is beautiful!

  • Reply
    March 8, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    You are just so darn good Jenny! Love it!

    • Reply
      March 8, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks Vel!

  • Reply
    Shelly Mathes
    March 8, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Jenny, I love your piece of furniture and all of these examples here. Will you be brushing the paint on? I have some other questions but maybe I should wait until you are done with the piece, ha. Many thanks.

    • Reply
      March 8, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks Shelly. I’m planning on spraying it, as I love the finished look. Feel free to ask any questions you may have – I’m happy to answer in any way I can. Many times I don’t know what I’m doing with a piece until I actually do it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Susan Wolff
    March 29, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Can I ask what paint sprayer you are using? I have avoided using a sprayer because I didn’t want to do any mess prep, but if it goes on smoother and faster, I’m interested! Appreciate the pointers!

    • Reply
      April 1, 2019 at 5:29 pm

      I have a commercial grade HVLP paint sprayer now, but I started with a Wagner HVLP Conversion gun that I hooked up to my air compressor!

  • Reply
    April 10, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    Wow, your work is amazing and giving me so much inspiration! That’s a $509 sander tho lol! 🙀

    • Reply
      April 11, 2019 at 5:14 pm

      The sander is worth its weight in GOLD! At least for me it is – but I do A LOT of sanding.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2020 at 10:52 pm

    What color did you buy in Amy’s One Step Paint that hour could tint the BM color? I’m a little confused. Sorry

    • Reply
      October 19, 2020 at 4:13 pm

      If memory serves, they had some untainted quarts of the One Step Paint that could be tinted.

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