Finding a new purpose for an old dresser is a great way to recycle furniture, save money, and create a unique piece that matches your taste. With these dresser transformation projects, your old furniture can be turned into whatever you want, whether you’re hoping for the bar of your dreams or the perfect media center. All it takes is a few supplies, a little elbow grease, and a touch of patience.
1. Turn it into a media console
You not only get to fix up that pesky old dresser, but this idea also lets you create a media console that fits perfectly with your room’s decorations and designs. You just need a little creativity, some basic power tools, and the paint color of your choice to create your perfect media console.
- Tape measure
- Jigsaw or table saw
- 2-by-2-inch blocks of wood (two per drawer)
- HVLP paint sprayer
- High-gloss lacquer
- 1.5-inch paddle drill bit
- Electric sander
- Sanding pads
- Drawer hinges
- Painter’s tape
- Remove the drawers that need to be customized.
- Assign a number to each drawer body and drawer front by marking the number on painter’s tape, then sticking it to the drawer and drawer front.
- Place the hinges inside your drawer, then mark the screw holes with a pencil.
- Pre-drill pilot holes into the drawer base and drawer front. This preparation will make it faster to attach the hinges with screws later.
- Use a jigsaw or table saw to remove the drawer front from the drawer base. If you can, use a table saw; it will create more precise cuts.
- Reinforce thick drawer bases with a small block of wood. You need two blocks of wood for every drawer.
- Add screws through the holes in the hinges down through the block of wood.
- Using a paddle bit, drill holes in the backs of drawers and the back of the dresser to account for cords.
- Use an electric sander to remove existing finish of dresser.
- Use your HVLP paint sprayer to add a new finish.
2. Turn it into a bookshelf
Take your plain Jane dresser and create a colorful bookshelf instead. You’re going to scrap the bulk of the dresser and just utilize its drawers to build a modular storage system, as shown in Country Living.
- Sanding pads
- Spray adhesive
- Begin by removing the hardware from each drawer before playing around with the arrangement of the shelves. Once you’ve arranged everything, sand all of the surfaces.
- Now it’s time to prime and paint. You can brighten up each dresser drawer by using a primer and a coat of eggshell-finish latex paint. Let it dry, and place everything where you’d like it to go.
- Mark each drawer as either horizontal or vertical before cutting a piece of wallpaper to fit each one.
- Coat the bottom of each drawer with a spray adhesive, such as Elmer’s Craft Bond, and place your wallpaper. Then, stack your new shelves following the arrangement you decided on earlier.
3. Turn it into a bathroom vanity
This one will take a little effort, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Take a look at this step-by-step guide to transform your dresser into a gorgeous new bathroom vanity.
- A new sink
- Sanding pads
- Paint or stain (depending on your preference)
- Jigsaw or hole saw
- PVC tape and glue
- Long screws
- Cut the hole for the sink. This will require you to pick out a new sink. Once you have it, lay it upside down on the vanity where you want it and outline the perimeter with a pencil. Look at the lip on the sink and measure it (anticipate it being an inch or so). Use a ruler to create a smaller oval inside the one you just drew. If you have an inch of lip on the sink, then mark this at about three-quarters of an inch. This will give your sink the support you need. Remove the top drawers from the dresser and then cut the hole using a jigsaw. Sand the opening smooth.
- Get the finish right. If the dresser needs refinishing work, do it before you start remodeling. Apply your new paint finish or stain ahead of time to ensure you get it all covered. It may also be worth it to finish off the rough cut for your sink. Remove the drawers and set the sink in place. Allow about 6 inches below the sink for the P-trap. You can now see which drawers will be able to remain in place. Use a marker to label where the plumbing will enter and exit on the back of the dresser. These will have to be cut out using a hole saw or jigsaw. The drawers that cannot be used should be taken apart. While the drawers can be disposed of, save the fronts to reattach once the vanity is in place.
- Place the vanity. With the cabinet finished and alterations complete, you’re ready to place your new vanity. Shut down the water supply and remove the old vanity. Set your new vanity in place, connecting the new water lines. When you’re attaching the drain line, use solder or PVC tape and glue at the connections to ensure you have a watertight seal. The cabinet is not meant to be moved, so you should use long screws to secure it to studs in the wall. (You don’t want your vanity slowly moving away on you!) Use caulk around the top and around the sink to prevent water from slipping down behind the dresser. You can now attach the drawer fronts using finishing nails. And just like that, your bathroom vanity is done.
4. Turn it into a bar
Hoping to class up your dresser a bit? Why not turn it into a bar? It’s perfect for entertaining and can instantly transform any room. This guide, as shown in SFGate, will help you create the bar of your dreams.
- Wood glue
- Wood finish remover
- Wood filler
- Interior latex paint or wood stain
- Polyurethane coating
- Plywood or MDF (optional)
- Purchased cabinet or wall shelving (optional)
- Dressers are typically converted to bars by removing the lower drawers and using that space as shelving. You can leave the top drawers in for extra storage.
- Prepare the dresser for refinishing. Remove the hardware and repair any loosened joints with screws and wood glue. Strip the finish if needed. Fill in large cracks with wood filler, then sand and prime.
- Refinish the dresser pieces to add an accent to your decor. This is when you determine what you want your bar to look like. Are you going for a sleek look, or are you trying to give the room a boutique feel? Pick a glossy or metallic finish for a sleek, modern look. Lean toward a distressed finish to match country décor. You can also varnish or cover the dresser with fabric or decorative painting. The options are endless, so be creative with it!
- Apply a polyurethane coating to the top of the dresser, using at least three coats to protect against spills. Follow the product directions for application, drying, and curing times. If you have used stain or faux painting, you should apply polyurethane or another type of varnish to the entire refinished area.
- Replace the hardware and assemble the dresser. You can form shelves in the dresser (where the drawers have been removed) by inserting pieces of plywood or MDF, which you should cut to size and paint to match the dresser.
- Move the dresser to the place where you plan to use it.
- Now it’s time for the fun part! Stock the bar with glassware, utensils and linens. For extra finishes, consider a small rack that can be inserted in the lower shelves to hold wine bottles on their sides. Place your most decorative bottles in a row on top of the bar. You can also display decorative glasses and decanters in a tray on top of the bar. You’ve worked hard to put it together, so have fun decorating!