The girls’ nursery is finally starting to come together! Here is a sneak peek at one big piece of the room I finished with the help of my mom: overhauling an old dresser to use for the girls’ changing table.

Painting an old dresser has been on my DIY list since moving into our new house. I think I read through a thousand Pinterest projects and instructions to try and figure out the best way to tackle painting a dresser. Oh they make it look so easy, don’t they? Let me tell you from one novice-DIYer to another, this kind of a project scared the living crap out of me. But I’m so glad I jumped into the deep end of the pool because I love the way it turned out!

But before we get ahead of ourselves… let me bring you back to Earth with the reality of what I started with:

dresser diy before

I bought the dresser above at a local consignment store called Revival in Overland Park. They had a lot of great quality furniture that just needs to a new owner.

Here’s a quick run-down of the DIY steps it took to give this mid-century modern dresser a facelift! (Hint: if you just want to see the finished dresser, scroll to the bottom 🙂

1. Prep

After spotting this gem in the back of the store, I inspected the dresser to make sure it was in good condition, all the drawers worked and it didn’t have any flaws in the construction. I also took a lot of measurements to make sure it would fit into the room and the changing pad would fit on top nicely. We decided it was a good fit and hauled it back to the house to get started!

First, we pulled out all the drawers and set up a painting workstation in the garage with old sheets. We cleaned off the dresser, dusted and sanded down a few rough areas to get the dresser ready to paint.

I was not a fan of the old handles on the dresser, so I picked out two different kinds of handles and knobs from Anthropologie to give it a more modern look. Since the new handles were different lengths than the old ones, we unscrewed the old handles and filled the drawer holes with Elmer’s wood filler. After drying, we sanded down the excess glue to achieve a smooth surface for painting. (If you’re re-using the same handles, this part is unnecessary.)

2. Paint

We used two coats of Annie Sloane Pure White chalk paint to completely cover the wood grain. I wanted a finish where you could no longer see the wood grain, but if you’re going for a more shabby chic look, one coat would be plenty. The Annie Sloan lineup of chalk paint is a great solution for people like me who don’t want to mess with wood stains, lots of sanding, etc.

3. Replace handles

Anthropologie has a great selection of knobs & pulls, but I would also suggest checking out local vintage stores and Craigslist, too (depending on what kind of a look you’re going for). I picked out these Ceramic Peg Knobs in Mint and glass pull handles, similar to these Bubbled Glass Handles.

Anthropologie Ceramic Peg Knob

dresser diy knobs anthropologie


Once the paint dried, we measured the length of the new handles and drilled new holes in the drawers. We screwed in the new knobs and pulls and voila! A white dresser/changing table fit for the twin girls’ modern room.

dresser diy after

More photos of the complete nursery to come soon…

What’s your favorite DIY furniture project from your nursery or home?

Jen Signature

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