My first piece of furniture I ever repurposed and refinished was Mahlia’s white Graco changing table/dresser. I am excited to share this project as I will soon have another dresser to repurpose, Paxton has the same one in espresso, and I am anxiously waiting for it to break! Mahlia’s was the first to start falling apart; maybe it was because she has more clothes than all of us combined. It started with the bottom drawer breaking. We came up with a simple solution at first, I found three baskets that fit perfectly in the bottom shelf and used that to store some of her essentials. Soon Paxton’s bottom drawer broke just the same. So he also got some fun baskets! But when Mahlia’s second drawer broke, I was at a loss for how I could actually fix it.
Brent wanted to throw the dresser out, but all I could think about were the possibilities for this broken piece of furniture. I decided to strip it down and turn it into a kitchenette! I had never done anything like this before which can be intimidating, but what did I have to lose? Once the supplies were bought there was no turning back!
Here’s what I needed:
- Sanding Sponge
- Tack Clothes
- Behr Premium Plus Ultra Paint & Primer in Black Satin
- Polycrylic Protective Finish in Clear Satin
- Paintable Textured Wallpaper
Step 1) Take the Dresser Apart:
First I had to remove all screws, tracks, door, hardware and shelves.
Step 2) Sand:
It was time to get started and sand down the entire dresser. This was a lot more work than I anticipated. Wish I had an electric sander, but I got the job done!
Step 3) Paint:
Now that the dresser was prepped it was time to apply the first coat of paint. I had to let it dry for at least 12 hours before applying a second coat.
Step 4) Wallpaper:
There was plywood in the back of the dresser and various holes and markings from the tracks, I knew I wanted to add paintable textured wallpaper on the insides of the cabinet to cover that up and give it a little more character. I found a tile pattern I liked at Home Depot. This was a little trickier than expected. I called in reinforcements at this point, an expert at installing wallpaper, as I have never done it before, my most talented mother! We had to measure and cut pieces for each side precisely. There was a shelf in the cupboard so we had to measure exactly where the peg holes were at so we could find them once the wallpaper was up. We then used a spray adhesive to attach the wallpaper. This process really did need two people as the spray adhesive dries so fast, you need to get the wallpaper up and smoothed very quickly. We wallpapered the inside of the cabinet as well as the shelf. I loved how the textured wallpaper looked!
On the textured wallpaper I used a red flower-pot color from Sherwin Williams. We already have this color on our wall in our kitchen and I loved this against the black. What I wasn’t expecting was how heavy the paint would be on the wallpaper. To be honest, I thought I had ruined it. But I patiently waited it out. I let the first coat dry and had to apply a second coat so it didn’t look splotchy. Once both coats were dry and touched up, I was very happy with the results. But when Paxton’s dresser breaks, I don’t think I will be using this again. Maybe I will try a fun designed contact paper or wallpaper instead.
Step 5) Top Coat:
I used a Polycrylic protective finish in clear satin to protect the kitchenette. I panicked a little after the first coat as it looked very bubbly and streaky. This was all new to me as I have never used this before! I reached out to a friend of mine that had experience in using this. She got me calmed down, told me to sand down the first coat and reapply. The trick was all in the brush and technique used. You need to use short smooth strokes in the same direction. I did these two steps of the protective finish and sanding about three times before I had it looking the way I wanted.
Step 6) Final Touches:
Once the kitchenette was painted, it was time to add the final touches. The shelf (which I wallpapered and painted as well) was placed inside the cupboard. The door was put back on the hinges and I added a new crystal knob. The last touches, which I was most excited about, was the paper towel holder and three hooks for kitchen utensils.
I absolutely love this in our dining area! For Thanksgiving we were able to use it as a dessert station!
Paxton is still able to use his dresser, but I have a pretty good idea what I want to do with it! Do I really have to wait for it to officially break?!