Four legs + trim + paint = brand “new” dresser

By Pinktoesandpowertools | Home Decorating Projects

Do you love a good before and after furniture makeover?  Seeing someone take something perfectly serviceable but dated and a little drab, and right before your eyes changing it to something special by adding a few details and a couple of coats of paint–well I’ll admit, it’s a bit of a high for me.  This dresser was my husband’s when he was growing up.  It isn’t high quality, but it fit the space well so we were hanging on to it.  Take a look at what adding some feet and trim, new drawer pulls,  and painting it white did for it.

Dresser after

Here’s what it looked like before.  Dated?  Yep.  Drab?  Yep.  It was due for some DIY help (and so is that plant–yikes!)

Dresser beforeRemember that I mentioned going to the Pottery Barn site to be inspired by some of their options.  This is the dresser that I felt I could somewhat replicate:

Potter Barn Caroline dresser

I considered adding some trim to the drawers as well, but in the end decided to skip that detail.  I also considered keeping the original knobs which are just like the Pottery Barn version, but the new drawer pulls match the storage bed hardware.  And I liked the contrast of color they add.

How to add feet and trim to an old dresser

Fill all dings and drawer pull holes with wood filler. Sand with a finish sander (or by hand but the sander will make quick work of it) and 220 grit sandpaper.


Drawer on right is sanded down, the left is not.


This is what the bottom of the dresser looked like before I added anything.


I added a 1×4 board on each side in order to attach the new feet.


The front trim is a 1×2 board that I routered with a round over bit seated high enough in the router table that it cut the board like this:

This isn’t the actual board (the one I used was a 1 x 2)–this is a 1×3 I did for a different project. But it’s the same profile.

This is the front trim clamped in place. I had to use some scrap pieces to give the trim some support as well, because I wanted it down further than there was existing wood to nail into.


Glue and screw the supports to the dresser.


Glue and nail the edge of the trim to the dresser. Also put some nails into your corner to to keep them from separating over time.


I had to shim up the edges to attach the feet plates.


These are the plates that the feet screw in to.

Plate that the feet screw into.


Screw the plates in place.


Testing out the feet.


I decided to change the drawer pulls to a single pull in the middle.  That meant I had to drill some new holes.

1) Find the center of each drawer.

2) My drawer pulls were 3″ apart, so I measured 1.5″ to each side and made a mark.

3) Starting with a very small drill bit, drill on your mark.  Work gradually up in drill bit size until you have a hole big enough for your drawer pull bolts.


For a new center support, first screw all of your feet to the dresser and set it on a flat surface.

1) Dry fit all the pieces in place.

2) Glue and screw the wood together through the top.

3) Clamp in place and screw to the dresser with 2″ screws.  I didn’t use glue on this part because I wanted to be able to remove the center support if I needed to.

4) Center support in place.

Painting the old dresser white

I painted the fronts of the drawers using the technique on this post: How to get a smooth painted finish without a sprayer.  For the dresser, I tried out my new  sprayer.  After one coat, I went to the roller for the top of the dresser, but continued using the sprayer for the rest.  I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE the sprayer!  I will not be retiring the foam roller, but I will definitely be using the sprayer again.  I bought a HPLV gravity fed sprayer that uses a large compressor as its power and air source.  LOVE. IT.  Here’s my budget spray station.

Two coats of primer (had to do 3 on the drawer fronts), one coat of white paint color, and 3 coats of Minwax water-based polycrylic in the blue can.  I used a foam brush to apply the polycrylic on the drawers and the dresser.  It goes on so quick, I didn’t want to set up the sprayer and then clean it.  320 grit light sanding between coats.

Love the result!

The drawer pulls are the same ones I used on Pip’s storage bed so they coordinate the room really well.  Pine feet are from Lowes and cost about $8 each.

Dresser after photo


What do you think of the change?  Let me know in the comments!

This project was featured on Knock Off Decor.  Go check out the site for lots of knock-off inspiration!



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