The Ugly Duckling Dresser, Part One

This was, when we began, one of the ugliest dressers I have ever seen in my life.  It was old (but not “interesting old”) and very dated (but not in the fun kitschy way).  I had intended it to end up in the guest bedroom simply because there are other pieces that match it, including a night stand, a wall mirror and a small desk, but truth be told?  I was shuffling it into the guest room rotation because I truly hated it.

To begin with, this dark stained wood dresser had gold metal accents galore.  The drawer hinges were set into the wood, making the fixtures harder to replace.  Each front join had a decorative gold metal strip nailed into it as though they were there to protect the corners and joins while actually doing no such thing.  Made of plywood, this piece was sturdy, but nothing terribly special.  And really- what an eye-sore!  It was shuffled to the back of the garage simply so I could avoid it.

Then a bit of a problem stuck with us.  We really, really needed a dresser in the Master Bedroom, and while I hated the one on hand, it was still available for free and somewhat serviceable.  The sanding began, as well as some minor drawer fixes (for instance, some of the drawer tracks had come quite loose) but that’s where it stopped.  For weeks, I kept looking at it with a mixture of guilt and hatred- I did NOT believe that this piece would work in the Master Bedroom.  I did NOT, truthfully, even want it in the house, but it was of a good size and we really, really need a dresser in there.

I had to resign to the fact that like it or not, the dresser was going to have to go into the bedroom.  I put on my big girl panties and began seeking out ways to make it work.  Here’s what we ended up with!

I decided that a hidden surprise of color would turn any unpleasant piece of furniture into a gem, so I went to  the place most crafty people look for ideas outside of their actual chosen arts- Pintrest!   It took some time, but I eventually found a pin that I instantly fell in love with.

Original source from the pin can be found here.
“OOOOOH!  That’s Perfect!”  I thought.  “It won’t matter what shape, size or style the dresser is!  Plus, I can always add feet if I want to!”  And with that, I was back in the saddle.  I went back to the lighter of the two greens from the Jewelry Armoire and tested my theory with two of the smaller drawers.  
Dark wood and gold fixtures (yes, that is in fact a screw
sticking out of the dresser in lieu of a handle) get a colorful update.

Because there are many large windows in the Master Bedroom, putting furniture along the walls gets a bit tricky.  Blocking the windows is going to be inevitable, but we want to avoid doing that as much as possible. The reality is that there is really only one wall that doesn’t have windows everywhere, and that’s the one with the door into the room and the closet on it.  (See the floor plan of the house here.)

“Gentle Rain” by Behr gives the piece a soft, muted glow.

The best place for this low, wide dresser was at the foot of the bed.  As the bed is donned entirely in muted shades of gray, that meant the paint job on this would be frightfully dull without those green drawers!  The work progressed with all of the drawer faces getting a few coats of Gentle Rain…

I just painted over the fixtures as they were set in, and will
be removed anyway!  I was loosing the daylight, and not
about to slow down for drawer pulls I’m not salvaging.
Here’s the test drawers with the gray on the drawer faces.

The next issue is that this dresser, while low and wide, is not as wide as the king size bed it is going to serve as a foot board for.  I’ve got some ideas in store, however, and the best part is it will involve more reclaimed pieces from damaged furniture already in the home.  Hurrah!

Come back soon for Part Two, when the Ugly Duckling Dresser gets to sing her big opening number.  For now, she and I are content to know that today was a very productive day, and we were able to not only work out our personal issues with one another, but foster the start of a great, great project together.  Patience will out, they say, and this particular piece of furniture, if I can pull this off, will likely be one of my most favorite pieces ever!


About Pea Kay

Pea Kay, otherwise known as Tonks, The Unhinged Knitter, moonlights at night as an infamous Cupcake Warrior. To learn more about what she does, visit the core pages of!

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