I found it on Craigslist!

See how to makeover a dresser, redo a side table, refresh frames, paint candlesticks, and reupholster a chair

I found it on Craigslist!
Photo: Rob D. Brodman

 Go dark and dramatic

To bring this dresser into the modern era, we first removed and set aside the drawers and wheeled feet. Next we removed and discarded the top trim piece and the drawer pulls. We smoothed out the bottom trim's frillier details with wood filler. Once it was dry, we used 220-grit sandpaper and an electric sander (rented from a hardware store) to lightly sand all visible flat surfaces. We hand-sanded grooves and detailing, then wiped all surfaces with a damp cloth. With a 6-inch paint roller, we applied two coats of low-sheen black latex enamel paint to all visible surfaces, using long strokes in one direction (we used a 2-inch paint roller for the corners and edging). When that was dry, we applied the gray paint accents.

Add decorative detailing

Get our pattern (PDF)

After the last coat of black paint is completely dry (a day or two is ideal), plan your design on paper.

Remove the dresser drawers and knobs, and position drawers on a covered floor surface, lining them face up in the same sequence as they sit in the dresser (number them on the inside with a pencil).

Adhere strips of 1-inch-wide painter's tape (we like Frogtape; find stores at the website) flush with the outside edge of the two smaller top drawers. Next, adhere ½-inch-wide painter's tape flush with the inside edge of the 1-inch tape. Repeat with the 1-inch tape on the inside edge of the ½-inch tape. Remove ½-inch tape.

Use this same wide-narrow-wide tape application for the design on the three lower drawers. To ensure that the corners meet at 90° angles, use a corner ruler edge when applying tape. Apply pressure to inside edges of tape strips.

Apply two coats of gray paint with a 2-inch dense-foam roller, allowing time to dry between coats. Once completely dry, carefully remove tape, secure knobs, and reposition drawers in the dresser. Use a ¼-inch paintbrush and the gray paint to carefully fill in any gaps between the drawers.

For the new wooden drawer pulls, we applied two coats of black or gray paint to each. Once they were dry, we reattached them, along with the old wheels.

• $ 25 Craigslist find




  • Craigslist dresser

    I found it on Craigslist!

    The dresser before

  • shabby chair

    I found it on Craigslist!

    The chair before

  • I found it on Craigslist!c

    To refresh the candlesticks we used: Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch sandable spray primer in white and Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch gloss spray paint in navy blue from www.rustoleum.com,  800/323-3584.

  • thrifted candlesticks

    I found it on Craigslist!

    The candlesticks before 

  • I found it on Craigslist!

    To refinish the frames we used: Pratt & Lambert Accolade Velvet interior paint 2-oz. samples ($4 each) in Cozumel (#21-11), Canton Jade (#23-25), Azurean (#22-5), Storm (#19-25) and Shady Forest (#19-21), www.prattandlambert.com (or 800/289-7728). Black mats (with single- and double-cut windows) in various sizes are from a local frame shop.

  • Frames before

    I found it on Craigslist!

     The frames before

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