Vintage Oak Dresser Makeover – White and Raw Wood

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With its tapered legs and solid oak wood drawers, this dresser’s design is truly timeless with a minimalist feel. Despite its relatively small size, this handsome chest of drawer provides roomy space for clothes and accessories. For a modern twist Amelie partially painted it with a bright white paint. The exposed wood is in great condition and has been sanded carefully to a smooth finish and revived with flat ultra flat polycrylic.

Prep Work

1) Cleaning

The piece was overall in great condition but quit dirty. First, Amelie disassembled the hardware and safely store it in a plastic container. She used a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and cobwebs. She then applied a degreaser

2) Sanding

Amelie began by sanding down the dresser to remove the existing finish. This will help the paint adhere better. The entire piece was sanded using 120-grit and 180-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish. When sanding veneer, caution should be taken not sand through, and fine grit sandpaper should always be used. 

After sanding, you can see the beautiful oak veneer. Overall the piece was in fantastic vintage condition, all the drawers are immaculate and show hardly any age. Amelie who is really paying attention to details sanded the inside of the drawers. They now look like new.


Amelie decided to go for her favorite combination of white and raw wood for this dresser. I personally love white and raw wood furniture. It is both classic and modern at the same time. She painted the sides of the dresser with a bright white acrylic paint. Bute before applying the paint, she applied a coat of sealer. Two coats of paint were enough to obtain complete, even coverage.

About Priming and Bleed-through

This dresser is made of solid oak wood and oak is a wood rich in tannins. It means there is a 100% chance to get paint bleed-through when painting it with a bright color. Bleed-through on wood furniture is the tannins of the wood coming through the paint layers. It’s a furniture painters’ true nightmare! That’s why I always recommend priming before painting when dealing with oak furniture. Primer prevents bleed-through paint and allow paint to better adhere.

The old knobs were still in good condition and matched the new style of the dresser. So, they were thoroughly sanded and painted with the same white paint. Amelie reattached the knobs in the same place, without the need to drill new holes.

I love the contrast between the raw wood and the white knobs. It’s really charming.


To protect the paint and raw wood, Amelie applied two coats of ultra flat polycrylic for a beautiful and durable finish.

I like the way this vintage dresser makeover turned out. The white color adds a touch of softness and femininity to this vintage piece. This dresser is the perfect piece for a nursery or a child bedroom.

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Happy Makeover!

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