I had been looking for a new dresser for our guest bedroom for several months. The room, located in our basement, is small and simple (some might even call it spartan!), with just a trundle bed and a closet.
The space definitely needed a dresser – only I didn’t have any room in my budget. I figured we could spare maybe $50, which pretty clearly ruled out anything brand new.
I stalked Craigslist for several weeks, but couldn’t find anything that was in our $50-tops price range. Especially since I was holding out for something with interesting lines – and preferably made out of real wood.
Then one day in February, when I had all but given up (don’t you love my drama?), I found her (And yes, she is a her.)
(I apologize for this oddball before picture. I’m horrible about remembering to take “before” pictures. I snapped this one right before I started painting – and it actually makes the dresser look better than it was. )
Beautiful lines, real wood, and located right around the corner from my house (i.e. no hidden gas costs to get it home). And the owner was only asking $25!
She was definitely in rough shape, though. The top was stained with something pink and sticky (eww), the sides and drawers were nicked and even gauged in a few places. The damage wasn’t awful, but it definitely wasn’t “move ‘er right into your house and call ‘er done” either.
But that was okay, because I had plans.
Did ya’ notice that I said I found this dresser in February? Apparently my “plans” included leaving the dresser to sit in the middle of our garage for the entire spring of 2012.
Everytime I had to sneak by that dresser to get to our garbage bin, I guilt-tripped myself for being a procrastinator. I even thought of reselling the dresser on Craigslist – since who knew when I’d get around to painting.
But I just couldn’t part with her.
I loved those legs. Those sleek mid-century lines. She was like a dresser out of Don Draper’s apartment.
I knew she needed to be painted white. And I could clearly see that shiny glass knobs were meant to adorn her top row of drawers.
Finally last week – three months after we had schlepped this $25 baby home – I got down to business. The fact that my inlaws were coming for a visit and would need a place to put their clothes definitely helped to motivate me.
Given my procrastination, I decided to use spray paint. It goes on fast, doesn’t need to be primed, and cures in less than 48 hours.
Or so the can said.
I started by roughing up the surface with some sand paper and then dusting it off. I grabbed my Heirloom White Rustoleum spray paint, shook it good and started spraying. I did one coat – thin and quick.
And then I did a second coat.
And a third.
And a fourth…
And, ohmygosh!! whatisgoingon?? thisstuffisn’tworking!!
I admit it may have been my technique, although I have successfully spray-painted other things in the past, so I’m not sure what I did wrong. Maybe it did need to be primed after all? Maybe I didn’t sand it enough?
It was forecasted to rain that night, so my husband
and I dragged this heavy nine-drawer dresser back into the garage, where it sat for another three days. (While I sulked about my spray paint failure.)
A few days later, the paint guys at Home Depot recommended that I use Behr Ultra Paint and Primer in one (the primer is built right in).
Since I’d already bought three cans of spray paint (I used a whole can in that first failed pass, but I will return the other two), I was a bit reluctant to shell out more money for fancy Behr Ultra.
Instead, I poked around our garage, as we have many cans of paint in there from the previous owners. Guess what I came across? A practically untouched can of Behr Ultra! In trim white! The perfect shade for the dresser!
To give my little 1950s-style dresser a true fighting chance, I dug out our electric sander, and really gave the whole thing a thorough sand-down, then used a tack cloth to get off all the bits of dust.
I started painting at 4 pm and by 5:45 that evening, I had applied a good first coat to the dresser, drawer fronts, inside trim and those awesome tapered legs. (I unscrewed them from the dresser and poked the screws through a recycled cardboard box so they’d stand upright – it worked like a charm.)
I hit everything again the next day, catching a few places I had missed. Then I let the whole thing cure in my garage for 36 hours.
Meanwhile, I headed to Target for some glass knobs.
I was a bit surprised by how much they cost. $14.99 for FOUR glass-like knobs. (They don’t have them available on Target.com anymore, but I found very similar ones — for a much better price ($1 each!) — at Amazon.)
Since I had saved some money by using paint we already had, I allowed myself the indulgence. And I’m so glad I did – they are perfect!
Excuse the excessive number of photos of this one little dresser, but I can not get over how much it looks like the picture I had in my head! As the most novice of DIYers, I am so proud of this little project.
Mind you – it’s far from perfect (see all my paint messies inside the drawers???), but it’s exactly what I wanted and I couldn’t be happier with that price tag.
Dresser – $25 (Craigslist)
1 can of spray paint – $6 (worthless)
4 glass knobs – $14.99
1 can of Behr Ultra One – FREE (we had it on hand!)
1 Purdy brush – FREE (ditto, we had it from past projects)
A few bucks under my $50 target – and hundreds cheaper than similar ones sold today at stores like Pottery Barn.
Has anybody else furnished their guest room off of Craigslist? Maybe you’ve got a flubbed spray paint story to share? I can’t wait to hear all about your frugal DIY adventures!