DIY Upcycling a Dresser Drawer

Image of Ruth Welsby

Inject bright colours into your home without painting the walls! Rather than DIY painting furniture white, or putting it in hard rubbish, upcycle your old dresser and give it a new lease of life. Below, Ruth goes through the steps on how to upcycle a dresser draw with an ombré effect. We also list the paints in our Artisan Collection that are fantastic if you’re looking for a unique patina finish.

Haymes Paint is an Australian family run business that has been providing high-quality paints for over 80 years, (since it began in 1935). Each generation of Haymes’ has been passionate about crafting quality products for Australian homes and businesses and we have built up a fantastic range of interior and exterior paint ranges. Follow these steps to learn how to upcycle a dresser with the ombré effect.

How To Upcycle An Old Dresser With The Ombré Effect

The ombré trend (French for 'shaded') is a gradual fading technique, which sees colours of the same tone subtly shifting from light to dark and is a popular DIY dresser makeover idea.

Follow These Steps to Upcycle a Dresser with the ombré effect:

Step 1: The first step in your DIY dresser makeover project is to make sure your dresser is in relatively good condition and has at least three drawers - any less and you won’t be able to create the fading effect. I opted for a three drawer unit but when it comes to creating an ombré effect, the more the merrier!

Step 2: Prep the dresser by giving it a good sanding, especially if it has a varnished finish. Take off any handles and wipe down the dresser with sugar soap to remove old grease and dirt.

Step 3: Choose a colour! Make sure you pick your colours from the same palette or paint swatch so the tones will fade into each other smoothly. The number of drawers you have will determine the number of different colours you’ll need and don’t forget some extra paint for the main body of the dresser. The three colours I chose from darkest to lightest were Haymes Evans Delight, Haymes Meandering Stream and Haymes Pitty Pat. I selected them all in a practical, low sheen acrylic finish, which is easy to apply, washable and hard wearing - perfect for furniture that’s used regularly.

Haymes colour swatch

Step 4: Throw a drop sheet down, take out the drawers and unearth your brushes. Start by painting the lightest drawer first. To create a smooth finish the key is long, even strokes with several light coats of paint. I gave the drawers and handles three coats of paint, with plenty of drying time in between.

Step 5: Put the drawers and handles to one side and paint the main body of the dresser in the lightest tone of the palette - in my case, it was Haymes Pitty Pat. It is best to paint the main dresser in one of the existing tones rather than introduce a new colour, as it could detract from the overall effect.

Step 6: You’re nearly done! The last step of your DIY dresser makeover is to put the handles back on once the paint is dry. Pop the drawers back in and step back to enjoy your new stylish dresser!

close up image of the upcycled dresser painted ombre image of upcycled dresser painted ombre in bedroom

DIY painting furniture white is also another popular DIY dresser makeover option. It is a great way to lighten a dark room. And depending on the finish, you can create a crisp classic look, a modern minimalistic look or if you go for a patina finish, you can create an antique aesthetic.

For more painted furniture ideas, including DIY dresser makeover ideas, check out our DIY projects section in ‘The Brush Up’. Our Colour Library is also a fantastic place to find painting furniture idea colours

Our Artisan Collection

Our Artisan Collection is a great place to find inspiration for unique finishes like oxidising patina online. Our Artisan collection includes the following ranges

  • Surface – four unique finishes
  • Metallics – finishes with variances in sheen
  • Textures – unique tactile finishes

Get More Painted Dresser Ideas DIY From The Experts

Visit your local Haymes Paint shop or Independent Stockist to speak with the paint experts about painted dresser ideas DIY and the best paints to create different finishes & patinas.