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White To Green – A Dresser Before & After

Dresser makeover

I’m slowly chipping away at my boy’s room renovation. I’ve paper-bagged the floors and am about halfway done planking the walls. My next victim was this dresser/changing table.

feminine dresser

It’s really feminine, plus it’s slowly turning from a nice crisp white to more of a muted yellow. Wait, though, that’s not the actual picture from before. Get ready for the worst before picture of all time.

Yellow 70's dresser

Yes, that is our master bedroom circa 2008, a few months after we bought our house. It literally hurts my eyes to look at it.

Let’s just start by telling you that I have never stripped a piece of furniture before. I’ve removed paint and finishes, but never anything that I couldn’t tackle with my sander. The paint on this dresser was thick though, nasty thick. When I painted it the first time (the white) I was positive that I never wanted the paint to go anywhere, so I used oil based paint (which I will never use again, that stuff is seriously nasty).

I knew I needed to use a chemical stripper (or a heat gun, but that was an investment), so I googled around and ended up buying Citri-Strip from Amazon. It had great reviews, and everyone said it didn’t smell like chemicals at all. They were right too, it actually smelled delicious.

So I brushed a coat on the top, and after just a few minutes, the paint started to bubble up.

How to remove paint from wood

Awesome. Adam got to scraping, and this is as good as we got it after one application.

Stripping furniture

After the second coat, most of the white came off.

How to remove paint from wood

I had previously thought that the bright yellow was a paint, but turns out it is some crazy bright yellow stain…or something. Whatever it is, I can tell you that the chemicals had no effect on it whatsoever. I can also tell you that the stripper didn’t work as well on the rest of the dresser as it did on the top. I felt like my dresser became immune to it after a while, and getting in all the cracks was impossible. So I started ripping off decorative panels and kept scraping paint, and it started looking pretty darn disgusting. I bet if I put it on the curb at this point it would have stayed there.

Stripping furniture

So, after nearly a week of stripping (I know how that sounds) and scraping and sanding, I decided it was good enough to paint and stain.

dresser before painting

That night Adam and I lugged it inside and I painted it (while watching old episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, of course).

painting a dresser

Yes, green. Bold, beautiful, unadulterated green. Adam thinks I’m nuts, but I have a plan. I always have a plan.

I felt that the dresser looked a little stumpy and cabinet-like, so I bought some wooden feet at Home Depot. They carry a ton of different shapes and sizes, but I chose some simple square ones.

Furniture Feet

Then I turned it over to Adam. The bottom of the dresser only has three sides and is hollow, so I figured he would enjoy the challenge, haha.


He rigged something up all the while using beautiful descriptive phrases such as “painfully annoying” and “horrendously ghetto”. The man is a poet, I tell ya.

Add feet to furniture

So here she is now, my green beauty…

green dresser before and after

I never did get all the yellow out of the grooves in the top, but I think it looks kinda cool the way it is.

Painted dresser with wood top

Painted green dresser with wood top

I am painfully aware that the door looks awkward. Is the knob, it’s small and off-center. I wracked my brain to try to figure out what I could do to the door to spice it up and still keep it simple, but I eventually gave up and just took pictures despite the awkwardness. I think I will add an extra long vertical handle though, kinda like THIS.

18 inch cabinet pull

I think that will surely take the awkwardness level down to tolerable.

furniture before and after

So there you have it, a super long post about taking a dresser from white to green. This isn’t the end though, cause that dresser isn’t going back in my boy’s room. In fact, it’s not even going to be used as a dresser at all.

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  1. This turned out really nice. Green was an excellent choice and I think that the longer handle will give it the ‘less awkward’ look you are seeking. The comments about Adam are hilarious and you guys make a super team. I am really enjoying this site so please keep up the good work.

  2. Love the new look. For the awkward handle, you could always remove it, fill the hole with putty or epoxy resin, sand it flush, paint it, and then drill a new hole for the handle wherever you like.

    Nice job!

    1. Bathroom vanity! I actually have a ginormo dresser sitting in my garage waiting to be turned into a media console. I’ll get there eventually!

  3. It looks great! I can’t believe it’s the same piece. I thought I was going to have to tell you about that door but you realized it for yourself. The bar handle would look fabulous. Great Idea! Otherwise, just fill in the hole where the knob was and move it to the upper right corner, about two inches from the top and the side. Actually, scratch that. Move it about two inches from the right edge, but put it equal distance from the top and the bottom.

    1. I thought I’d save ya’ll the awkward conversation about how my dresser looks “off”. Your welcome, haha. If the bar handle doesn’t work out I’ll use your idea and move it to the middle right.

  4. I love the idea of colorful furniture and I am encouraged by your boldness in choosing color. :) I’m trying to add peek-a-boo pops of interest here and there on our furniture, but it still seems a bit meek. =D Thank you for the inspiration.

  5. I like it! I know, that crazy design thingy threw you off as to where the knob would wind up, right? You’re going to put it in/beside your “tree” hallway?
    Easter blessings to you and your family!

    1. Yes, it did. I was going to move the knob to a better position but I wasn’t even sure I liked the knob. The tree hallway was a good guess, but is going to be our new bathroom vanity!

      Happy Easter yo you as well :)

  6. Hm… If it’s going in your boys’ room, my guess is changing table (but I think that’s what it was before?) or toy storage! I’m currently trying to see if I can “upcycle” a thrifted media center into toy storage for my boys’ play room. Something that actually hides the toys when I need to fake like my house is super put together and organized lol

  7. It’s beautiful! Love the green so much! I like the idea of the vertical handle. Or depending on what you’re going to do with it, you could take off that door altogether and hang a coordinating piece of fabric there with a tension rod. I have something like that on my kitchen island, and I love the way it looks.

    1. Thanks Amy! I thought about that, but its probably going to hold chemicals and I’ll need to toddler proof the door. BTW, did you ever get my response to your blog design e-mail?

  8. Hi Ashley! I love reading your posts, and you take the best pictures! I have to ask about the door on this piece, though. Did you replace it?

    1. Thank you Susan, that is the best complement! I’ve always struggled with pictures but I’m starting to feel like I’m finally getting the hang of it. The door is the same one, I just ripped off the flowers and raised panels. They actually came off really easily, thank goodness.

  9. I love it! The color is gorgeous, I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do with the rest of the room!

  10. Ah ha….. so big boys room is not going to be green….hmmmm, are you turning it into a buffet? Back to a changing table? The customary entertainment center? OH a bar? Taking it to your moms? I give up. Tell.


  11. entertainment center? Buffet?

    Completely unrelated – but you mentioned Malcolm in the Middle. My husband is playing bass in a band that is opening for ‘Malcolm’s band in two weeks when they play locally. :) I am having a really hard time thinking of that guy as anything other than Malcolm in the Middle though!

    1. Bathroom vanity :)

      Wait – Malcolmm has a band? I had no idea! I actually never would have guessed that in a million years. Are Dewey, Reese, and Francis in it too? Haha. How cool though, maybe you’ll get to meet him!

  12. I love the dresser, and yes if I saw it at the curb I would have dragged it home with me. I think you will be using it for a buffet next? Am I close?

      1. I can’t wait to see it in place, I love vanities created from dressers. I would love to do that here as I hate my vanity, but not sure I can get the owners to go for it, the downside of renting.

  13. Entry table/storage! I need one of those but I don’t have a dresser to convert it to so we’re living with a small, drawerless table that is nearly useless. I love the feet idea and your husband’s ghetto licious solution for attaching them. They do not look like an addition at all – very seamless. I’m keeping that idea for when I finally do Craigslist a dresser for our entry space.

    1. Great guess, but no. I’m actually making it into the vanity in our master bathroom! Our entryway table is drawerless and useless too, I can’t even put things on the shelves cause my boys manhandle everything.

  14. Looks great, I think of green as a neutral, goes with everything. How did you get rid of the grooves on the door?

    1. The grooves on the door were separate raised panels that I just peeled off. I think that was the easiest part of the whole project, haha.

  15. This is just beautiful and I think the bar would work out great balance. Where ever you put it, I am sure it would look great.

    Have a blessed Easter!

  16. Love the transformation. I love green myself and have it all over the house – in various shades, of course! New use.. entertainment center/media cabinet thing?

  17. That’s a beautiful colour! I had a lot of green in my old house, now I’m not sure what I’m going to do, colour-wise. I’m looking forward to see this in situ, in the bathroom (yes, I actually read comments!) I also really like actual furniture vanities.

    Happy Easter to you and yours!

  18. We really need to get Adam and Andy together. We have to figure out a way to make that happen. I’m kinda crazy about that shade of green, and his horrendously ghetto foot solution was totally worth it. High fives!

  19. Ashley, I have never refinished a piece of furniture. I would love to try to reclaim several pieces of potential ART. Is there a specific paint that is better over others for this purpose? Do you put any sealer / shellac over the final painting? What kind of a brush is best for this purpose as so to not leave paint streak marks? Thank you for your ideas! The dresser looks amazing! Like your hubby, I was a little worried about the color…LOL!

      1. Oh no….Ashley….I was referring to the furniture as a piece of art…lol..I think they are beautiful canvases for us to express ourselves on for half the retail price. I saw few beautiful pieces at our local thrift stores and I’m just dying to get my hands on them. It would save me a ton of money if I could restore them and repurpose them myself.

        1. Oh my gosh, haha, I feel like a giant dork.

          I’m not really picky about paint, I usually use Behr (Home Depot) because the store is close. Sometimes I put sealer (polycrylic by Minwax) on it, sometimes not, it depends on the look I’m going for. For brush marks, use a nice soft brush (like purdy) and you can add Floetrol, which is a paint conditioner and will even out any brush marks. Here is a link to that … http://www.homedepot.com/p/Flood-Floetrol-1-Qt-Clear-Latex-Paint-Additive-FLD6-04/100198078#.UXSfErVQHIc

  20. very fun! I love all the pictures from the process and I LOVE the green :o) I just linked up at several parties where I was one or two links after you, so I couldn’t help but come over and leave a comment :o)

  21. Love your new dresser make over. It is so cool in green with the brown top. Love the yellow that is showing through the brown. It is giving it some character. Love the idea of the legs as well. Very nice. It would look great in a dining room as a buffet. TFS. ana

  22. Amazing!

    The green color is one of my favorites lately.

    Hmmm – If you are going to keep it, then maybe you are going to use it as a sideboard in the dining room.

  23. I may be blind, or it just wasn’t mentioned…… But what brand/color paint did you use? I am in love with this green and want to use it for a dresser redo for my sons nursery!

    1. Nope, you’re not blind! I didn’t mention it because I altered the paint I bought (didn’t love it the first time). It started out as “frog” by Behr (home depot) but that was kinda neon-y, so I toned it down a bit. Its closer to “shamrock” now, but not exact.

    1. Yes, it started out as “frog” by Behr (home depot) but that was kinda neon-y, so I toned it down a bit. Its closer to “shamrock” now, but not exact.

  24. Well I’m finally getting around to reading the Motivated Monday posts and I can see you have been hard at work. You really took your time and did this girl right. Love the green and when I saw what you did with this piece ( love the vanity idea) I can see why you wanted the top stained. Awesome. Really. Thanks so much for sharing.

  25. Wow, that turned out really nice. I’d apply a coat of clear DrawIt paint dry erase paint to it and let the kids run wild with the markers. (Just make sure they don’t start sniffing them.)

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