Dresser Makeovers

A dresser is a great piece of furniture to update with a little paint and some new hardware. You can give it a whole new look for just a few dollars! We have curated here a wide array of dresser makeover ideas to get you started. Regardless of the size or shape of the dresser you want to revamp, find your most suitable option and get to work crafting that amazing new look! We have tried to systematically provide you with before/after pictures. Also, make sure to check the links: most case studies are providing step-by-step directions and the materials used to reproduce the exact look. 

Here are the 40 best dresser makeover ideas for a gorgeous new look:

1. Painted dresser ideas

The most common option for a great makeover! You can give your old plain wood dresser a completely new look by painting it a different color or repainting a colored dresser using a different painting technique or color.

1.1 Plain colored (+ distressed)

Discover how our own Christina turned this $40.00 Craigslist dresser into a beauty: dresser makeover – painted distressed white (step by step)

Here’s how Lucie transformed this narrow dresser by painting it yellow: narrow dresser makeover painted mustard yellow (step by step)

Another work from Christina: check out this light blue paint dresser makeover (step by step)


And check out how this IKEA dresser/changing table came out awesome with its new light green robe and leather handles: IKEA changing table/dresser makeover (step by step)

Stunning plain color update. Note the much more modern look from the new handles.

Stunning light purple makeover. The top got a new stain that is adding contrast to the color. Source fusionmineralpaint.com (step by step)

Another really nice light blue update. Note the updated handles as well. Source www.behr.com (step by step)

This white refinish did not need any sanding. It definitely uses more paint (she used 4 coats!), but saves a ton of effort. Source www.frillsanddrill.com (step by step)

1.2 Washed color

Give your dresser a unique look by painting it with a wash. A wash is a paint layer thin enough to let the underlying material appear. The paint is usually diluted with water or an equal amount of paint thinner. You can use almost any color you want, but light colors are best because they show the texture of the wood more clearly.

Really, really cool look for this washed blue. The new copper-colored handle match very well with the new paint job. Source girlinthegarage.net (step by step)

1.3 Going with stripes

Distressed paint + vertical stripes for an amazing shabby chic look. What’s not to like in this stunning French dresser makeover? Source wallsofwonderland.com (step by step)

Another great idea for stripes. The transparent handles are a great idea to avoid disruption in the striped pattern. Source: sophiasdecor

Another shabby chic striped look for this tall dresser. Keeping the original handles + the asymmetrical pattern make an awesome result! Source: Leisure Living Furniture

1.4 Dresser makeover using color gradients

This can be achieved by using two or more colors of paint and painting each panel a different color. Begin by painting the top of the dresser a light color and then work your way down, adding a darker color as you go. You can use any colors you like, but it’s best to choose colors that will coordinate with the rest of your bedroom decor. On top of the examples below, check out also the gradient refinish examples in the plain wood category

The original boring black got an incredible upgrade with this pink-colored ombre gradient. Source www.interiorfrugalista.com (step by step)

This boring IKEA dresser was begging for a colorful upgrade. Really nice “IKEA hack” from akailochiclife.com (step by step)

1.5 Two-tone / color & raw wood

This is by far one of the most popular makeovers, and we’re guilty of using the technique extensively. Most often the two-tone means leaving the drawers plain wood, and painting the dresser body with a dark color (we even have a dedicated Pinterest board!). But the two-tone can be also using any contrasting color scheme between the the drawers & the body.

Black and wood is one of the most stunning combinations, especially if the dresser’s wood is light-colored (such as softwood). Check out this amazing work from Christina: two-toned black & wood dresser makeover (step by step)

Another example: if the wood is naturally darker or you want to keep a dark stain, a lighter paint will contrast better. Here Christina had to remove the veneer and the greenish wood called for a dark stain. Check this two tone green and wood dresser makeover (step by step).

This outdated dresser was waiting for the perfect modernization. Check out the stunning upgrade the above piece got with this tall chest of drawers two-tone black and wood makeover (step by step)

Another really nice contrasting upgrade for this painted nautical dresser. Source: lehmanlane.net (step by step)

But less contrast can also look really good: here is an example of a really gorgeous dark over dark two-tone. Source refreshliving.us

Another example of dark-over-dark, keeping only the top drawers raw colored. Source www.mycreativedays.com (step by step)

Fully painted two-tone white and pink upgrade on this dark seventies brown finish set. Source: 24 Cottonwood Lane

1.6 More color ideas: check out our dedicated Pinterest boards!

2. Plain wood makeover with a surface refinish

Sometimes a dresser makeover does not need any paint at all: a refinish will just look as gorgeous!

Check how this refinish gave a completely new shine to this antique dresser. Source: refreshliving.us

Incredible look from a gradient of stain colors. It should also belong to the gradient category, but we didn’t want to post it two times ????. Source: funcycled.com (step by step)

3. Refinish using stencils & image transfers

This is the perfect technique to add anything from a geometric pattern to a floral design. Tip: use transparent handles!

If you don’t know Kacha’s Furniture makeovers, you HAVE to check out her youtube channel (detailed step by steps) or her Tiktok. Every item she puts her hands on is literally turned into a piece of art. The above example, using image transfers to create this floral pattern, is no exception.

With an excellent combination of stripes and image transfer, this dresser is barely recognizable. Source: girlinthegarage.net (step by step)

4. Using wallpaper

A very common makeover is to apply wallpaper to the drawer interiors. Covering the dresser exterior with wallpaper is a little less popular, but you can achieve really stunning results while needing less surface preparation. Stripping the previous finishing or paint is unnecessary, as long as you sand it enough for the glue to adhere. You can use blank whitepaper and then paint it to add a touch feeling texture while having unlimited color options. Or just go for a pattern that matches your room!

Erin from DIY Passion chose to apply an uncolored wallpaper and then paint it. A really cool idea to add texture to your drawers or your dresser body. Source: diypassion.com (step by step)

A really gorgeous white and blue pattern. Source: spoonflower.com (step by step)

As an alternative to wallpaper, you can use fabric. It’s a little more difficult to apply than whitepaper as it doesn’t have as much rigidity, and fabric may be more fragile than coated wallpaper. But it allows repurposing any old, good-looking piece of fabric. Check out this awesome example from littleredwindow.com (step by step)

5. Changing knobs & handles to give your dresser a style upgrade

As you can see in these examples, changing the handles & knobs can go a long way to give your dresser a whole new look. There is a huge range of knobs and handles available online or in stores, so you can find something that matches your existing decor & the colors & patterns you chose for the makeover. You may also want to consider whether you want to match the hardware to the other furniture in the room or go for something completely different.

As mentioned earlier, glass (transparent) handles are perfect for stencil or image transfer makeovers. Check out this example from our accent cabinet makeover

Did you know you can paint knobs? Pumpkin knobs were added to this light blue dresser. They were originally bronze, so Christina painted them white instead.

Christina also chose card catalog handles to give a dresser a bit of a workshop look.

6. Adding decorative trims, appliques, overlays, or moldings

Making your IKEA dresser look unique is so in demand that there are entire websites dedicated to IKEA hacks, and e-commerce have emerged just to sell you the hardware. Above is a perfect example of how a boring Swedish design can become gorgeous with a bit of elbow grease. Source ikeahackers.net

Adding wood appliques or trims is a great way to make your dresser a more upscale look.

Adding wooden appliques

Adding trim to a file cabinet

7. Upgrading your dresser with a new top or adding feet

This dresser gained extra elegance with feet (ok, the new handles help as well). Source: arayofsunlight.com (step by step)

More dresser makeover ideas:

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