Lexi’s Paint Chip Dresser — Makeover

So simple, yet effective.

When I found Lexi Adams’ dresser transformation, I pounded my forehead – why didn’t I think to do that? Here’s the Before and After and the scoop on the fresh look this Brooklyn, NY photographer got with a little paint, elbow grease, and good advice from Dad.

Paint Chip Dresser After

Paint Chip Dresser Before

HomeWorkshop (HW): Are you a design-diva, big into DIY and decorating, or was this a fluke? How did you score the dresser?

Lexi Adams (LA): I’m not a design diva! But I am a carpenter’s daughter, so when I was having trouble finding a dresser I liked, I was definitely keeping my eye open for something cheap I could fix up or paint myself.

I scoured Craigslist listings, worrying about bedbugs all the while, only to have a free wooden dresser fall into my lap on a walk in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. My amazing little sister helped me carry the dresser from the curb where it was left to my apartment and up four flights of stairs.

HW: What inspired the graduated-colors scheme?

LA: Benjamin Moore paint strips. I had some graduated green ones from the hardware store tacked up in my kitchen, and they gave me the idea to mimic the look on the drawers. Luckily I had white paint and green paint already from other projects, so I mixed the two together to make the different shades of green.

HW: How would you describe the room decor where the dresser lives?

LA: Today, the dresser lives in a very small bedroom, which has lime green as an accent color. The decor of the space is in transition. I moved in with my girlfriend, who has more traditional taste, and my interests are a bit more eclectic, from Mid-century Modern to Postmodern rustic design like Nightwood (Editor’s note: Cool stuff here, Design Junkies).

So, we’re going piece by piece, from sofa to dresser to wall art, mixing items together that feel like us.

HW: About how long did it take you to complete the makeover?

LA: Around two or three afternoons, lazily spread out. As you can see on the before picture, the dresser was real wood, probably of IKEA-ish provenance, but it had some scratches and gouges — perhaps from a dog. It was also finished with poly.

I sanded thoroughly it with an electric sander, and painted it with B.I.N. shellac primer. My first time using this primer, which my father recommended, and it was amazing. Great adherence and it sealed in the pine knots to keep them from bleeding through the paint.

Then I painted with a semi-gloss white paint and different mixed shades of green for the drawers. I planned to buy new drawer knobs, but the painted wooden ones are working for now.

HW: Any challenges?

LA: My main challenge is probably wishing I had a workshop — it’s hard to use power tools and high-VOC solvents in a small Brooklyn apartment!

HW: What’s the next creative project you’ve got planned?

LA: My next project after the dresser was getting some of my own photography prints framed, and hanging them at home. Next, I’m also having a fantasy of replacing my kitchen cabinet doors — but I live in a rental and acknowledge this is probably a ludicrous idea.

Lexi translated the design from simple paint chips into a furniture makeover. What’s something around your house that might inspire your next transformation??

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2 Comments for “Lexi’s Paint Chip Dresser — Makeover”

Three cheers, Lexi. A great custom piece.

[…] a new color. Or go with something more advanced, and paint the dresser a solid color, then make a gradient with the drawers by painting each a different shade of one color. This works better with a taller […]

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