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How to update an old and damaged vintage dresser using paint and stain

As you know from previous blog posts, not too long ago I was able to score a truckload of free furniture off the Facebook Marketplace.  It included a sideboard cabinet without drawers which the Hubs and I repurposed into a kitchen island.  You can see it HERE if you haven’t already.  It also included a long dresser and a shorter dresser.  It also included this vintage wood dresser that we painted two-tone green and wood as a makeover. Now, onto the makeover step-by-step.

The dresser was definitely a good candidate for a furniture makeover. I like the design of this chest of drawers with lovely details on the feet but it had seen better days.

Free vintage dresser makeover 
 - before
Free Vintage Dresser

 It appeared that someone had attempted to redo it.  They really gave the top a fierce sanding.  The dresser’s top had been sanded down where there was not much wood left on the surface.  It also had this green, wood board.  Does anyone know what it is?  I have researched it and can’t find anything. If you know what it is and why it’s green, please email me. You can see where the veneer has been removed. The drawer fronts were not in mint condition as well. Veneer was damaged and fixing veneer is always tricky if not impossible.

Top of vintage dresser showing green piece of wood
Greenish Wood

My plan was to stain the top and the drawer fronts to match.  But the green wood does NOT look good stained and I do not like using gel stain.  It compromises the wood grain and the original look of the wood (just my opinion).

Therefore, my plans had to be revised a bit.  I would have to go for painted furniture or add a new wood top.  And unfortunately, buying wood now is out of the question, so I am going with painting. 

Removing Veneer

The first to step to whip this vintage dresser back into shape is a step the Hubs and I tackled together.  It was removing the damaged veneer from the drawer fronts.  We did this outside on the patio and used a heat gun.  We have used this method before and it was not too hard.  You can see how we used this method on this old dresser makeover HERE.

Removing veneer with heat gun
Removing Veneer

We worked in sections, heating up a small area and then using our paint scraper to get underneath the damaged veneer and raising it up until it could be removed.

Using paint scraper to remove veneer
Removing Veneer

Look at the beautiful wood.  There were a few scratches and dings, but that was fine with me!  I did not want to sand too much.  While sanding one of the drawer fronts, we noticed that green colored wood surfacing.

Wood underneath the veneer
Beautiful Wood

I really wanted to keep the dresser in its original state as much as possible. So I decided both paint and stain the piece. The drawer fronts would be stained to emphasize the wood grain and the sides and damaged top would be chalk painted.

I wiped away the sanding dust, I applied one coat of Minwax Special Walnut. I love how you can see the grain of the wood!

Staining the wood drawer fronts

Painting the Vintage Dresser Green

My plan was to chalk paint the dresser with Dixie Belle’s Farmhouse Green. Like we did this hutch top makeover you can see HERE. I like this chalk paint color so much.  But I didn’t have any ughhh!  And I didn’t want to have to order paint and wait (yep, inpatient).

So, I used what I had.  I mixed Dixie Belle Cotton and Mint Julep to make a pastel green.  It’s not Farmhouse Green color paint, but it’s still beautiful.  Do not be afraid to mix colors and explore!

Mixing Dixie Belle Mint Julep and Cotton
Mixing Paint

The Cotton just lightened up the Mint Julep a bit. I grabbed my paint brush and started to apply the paint.

Pastel Green

It took two coats of chalk paint to fully cover the dresser. You can see here that the left is after two coats and the right is one coat.

Painting process for the dresser makeover

Distressing

The next step was to distress the dresser to show some of the beautiful wood.  I used a piece of 120-grit sandpaper to sand around the edges and the beautiful carvings.  I also heavily distressed the adorable front legs.  Look at those beautiful curves.

Distressed vintage dresser
Distressing

Adding the Top Coat

Using a piece of tack cloth, I removed all the sanding dust.  To seal the piece, I decided to try my hand at Dixie Belle’s Spray Wax.  This was my first time ever using it, and I am HOOKED!  It was so easy to use.  You spray the wax working in small sections and then wipe.  BAM!  It’s that easy. I also sprayed a coat on the drawers.

Luckily, I had a set of knobs on hand.  I couldn’t really be choosy at this point.  I had recently ordered these off Amazon, and never used them.  But I am happy with the way it turned out.  Free furniture is well worth the work. 

Vintage dresser knobs
Adding the Knobs to the Half Painted Dresser

I love the western, rustic look!

Vintage dresser makeover after

I never pass up free furniture or furniture that may need work.  It keeps our landfills from filling up!  And the Hubs and I love working together when we have time. 

Side View of Dresser
Side View

Consider buying an old, outdated piece and giving it a makeover using your own creative touch. To find cheap furniture go to the nearest thrift store or look a the classifieds. Read my advices HERE to find the perfect piece.

Everyone has it buried deep inside; you just have to get it to the surface!

Happy Repurposing!

Christina xxoo

I’m thrilled this dresser redo has been featured by HomeBNC in this latest round up: 27 Ways to Freshen Up Your Home with these Mint Green Decor Ideas.

Pin it for later!

21 thoughts on “Vintage Dresser Makeover: Painted Two Toned – Green and Wood”

  1. It’s beautiful, Christina! I love the pretty green paint color and wood combination. What color did you stain the drawer fronts? If only the former owners could see their dresser now!

  2. Hi Christina; I couldn’t find your email
    despite looking all over the site so I’m hoping you’ll see the comment here:

    I’ve seen green lumber like that in older homes, been told it’s poisonous & treated to deter bugs like termites. Apparently it’s very effective, so much so that it affects surrounding vegetation.

    Here’s what I found out about it on Wikipedia:

    Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) is a wood preservative containing compounds of chromium, copper, and arsenic, in various proportions. It is used to impregnate timber and other wood products, especially those intended for outdoor use, in order to protect them from attack by microbes and insects. Like other copper-based wood preservatives, it imparts a greenish tint to treated timber.

    CCA was invented in 1933 by Indian chemist Sonti Kamesam, and patented in Britain in 1934. It has been used for timber treatment since the mid-1930s,[1] and is marketed under many trade names.

    In 2003, the EPA and the lumber industry agreed to discontinue the use of CCA-treated wood in most residential construction. This agreement was intended to protect the health of humans and the environment by reducing exposure to the arsenic in CCA-treated wood. As a result of this decision, CCA-treated wood can no longer be used to construct residential structures such as playground equipment, decks, picnic tables, landscaping features, fences, patios, and walkways. [2] Acute intoxication due to mishandling of treated products, e.g. by burning, is also a serious concern. Nevertheless, CCA remains a popular and economical option to make perishable timbers, such as plantation-grown pine, viable for applications like poles, piling, retaining structures, etc.

    Hope that helps, I learned something new about it too!

  3. Karen Spence Legieko

    Beautiful, I guess I never realized that you could remove veneer and still have good wood under it.

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