DIY Upcycling a Dresser Drawer

diy drawer upcycling with ruth welsby

Ruth Welsby is a Melbourne based interior stylist and writer who has a passion for colour and form.

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. Ruth reveals how to upcycle a dresser draw with an ombré effect.

Note: The ombré trend (French for 'shaded') is a gradual fading technique, which sees colours of the same tone subtly shifting from light to dark.

Follow These Steps to Upcycle a Dresser

Step 1.

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 hardwearing - perfect for furniture that’s used regularly.

upcycling a dresser colour swatches

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 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.

Once everything is dry, put the handles back on, pop the drawers back in and step back to enjoy your new stylish dresser!

upcycled dresser close upupcycled dresser room2

Share Your Ideas

If you’ve come up with some of your own DIY painted dresser ideas, we’d love to see them! Share your images with us on Instagram @haymespaint and hashtag your #haymespaint project.