DIY, Lifestyle

Budget vintage dresser makeover

woman sitting beside a a dresser and sharing vintage dresser makeover

I brought this tiny dresser with me on the day I moved to Brooklyn. I originally had a flight booked for Miku and me. We intended to get to NYC with nothing but a couple of suitcases, $700, and zero other plans. So, I had a room in an apartment lined up (which I hadn’t seen yet). But didn’t think about how to furnish it. Keep in mind, this was before I had a smart phone, any friends in the city, or much knowledge of the subway. My entire income was tied to my ability to make clothes and sell them online. But I didn’t even have a desk to do that from.

Needless to say, my family was worried. I made the move rather impulsively and hadn’t thought things through. So, at the very last minute, my sister Amanda decided she was going to drive Miku and me to Brooklyn in my [now] brother in law’s truck, with my sister Tessa, niece Roxy, and her [now] sister-in-law all piled inside, and a bed full of second hand furniture from my mom’s consignment shop.

Budget vintage dresser makeover

My sewing desk and matching chair were sold to a good home some years back, when we closed up the studio. I got pretty sentimental about that, because I attach memories to items. However, the one major piece I could never let go was this tiny, shutter style dresser. It moved with me from South Florida to 46th street to 4th avenue to 7th avenue. Then, to Clinton Avenue and then all the way back to South Florida. And though I continued to love it, it didn’t always fit my changing aesthetic. Still, I couldn’t bear to part with. Its chippy paint and cracked corners fit in well with my first apartment’s shabby chic decor, and while I’ve settled into more of a Victorian vibe in recent years that worked enough, there were years between when it felt a little out of place. But still, it felt like home.

can of Scuff Defense
before the vintage dresser makeover

For so long, I was hesitant to change anything about it, assuming I was messing with its original state. But as the paint kept wearing thinner, more and more layers started showing. Also, we came to realize there were several iterations of this dresser before I ever had it. It was painted cream, yellow, white, then cream again. It felt like a good time to update, with this fresh start in a new-to-us home, and I chose BEHR ULTRA® SCUFF DEFENSE™ in Angelico, a creamy blush that fits perfectly with our decor. I partnered with them to create a video campaign (which you can watch here), and while we also used their paint on all of our walls, I took this opportunity to give my beloved tiny dresser a long overdue makeover.

after the vintage dresser makeover and a cat sitting on top

The Makeover Process

The paint wasn’t the only thing that was chipped. There was quite a bit of wood that was nicked or missing. So, we filled a few of the more noticeable blemishes. Also, we sanded the rest down for an even starting point. I wasn’t looking for perfection. Just a softer version of the battered piece I love so much, so there are plenty of imperfections that I’m quite okay with. The paint has a primer built in and went on like a dream. The painting was the easiest and least time consuming part, and it makes such a big difference! Then, I swapped out the lacquered knobs for some vintage brass pulls, which fit the decor a little better.

woman sitting beside a dresser with figurines on top
All in all, I’m really pleased with how it turned out: familiar but a little softer, a little fresher for this new life. It’s been in my rooms for the last 15 years and I suspect it will stick around for eons more, as all things should.

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