7 Ways to Make Over a Chest of Drawers

Take an Old Dresser from Frumpy to Fabulous

Delicacy of little girl's pastel-coloured room
KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

Furniture can be expensive. Rather than investing in a costly new piece, why not breathe new life into an old chest of drawers? Here are a few ways to makeover a chest of drawers.
Paint a Dresser
Paint is every DIYer's best friend. Paint a chest a solid color, use a stencil, or create your own design. There's no end to what can be done with a simple coat of paint.
Decoupage a Chest of Drawers
Decoupage involves cutting out pieces of paper and adhering them to a surface. When it comes to decoupaging furniture, wallpaper is one of the best types of paper you can use. The pattern is already built in and the paper is thick enough that it won't rip during the process. Try mixing different size shapes to create a unique design. Don't forget that you can paint the piece first and then decoupage. The results can be stunning.
Apply Gilt to Furniture
This is a slightly more expensive way to dress up a chest, but the results can be quite luxurious. Gilding involves applying pieces of metal that are as thin as tissue paper (can be gold or silver) to a surface. The technique dates back hundreds of years and is quite labor intensive. If gilding an entire chest is just too much, consider gilding a portion. For instance, if the pieces have any type of molding on it, consider painting the entire piece one color and then applying gilt to the molding.
Replace Furniture Hardware
Hardware is like jewelry for furniture, doors, and cabinets. A simple chest can instantly be made over with just a few handles or knobs. Hardware is available in a huge variety of materials and style so check stores like Anthropologie and Michael Aram to see what's out there. Installing new hardware is a great way to update a chest when you don't want to paint it or make it over in any other way.

Add Architectural Details and Appliques
Consider adding some architectural details like molding or wood appliqués. Paint them the same color as the chest for a subtle look or in a contrasting color to make them stand out. Remember to lightly sand the area where you plan to add the appliqués and then attach them using wood glue or a silicone adhesive.
Apply a French Polish
If the chest has a nice wood grain it can be enhanced and made more elegant with a French polish. This type of technique results in a high gloss finish that looks very rich and luxurious. Be warned though, French polishes are very sensitive to damage so they're best suited to low traffic areas. The process of applying the shellac and creating the finish is lengthy and time-consuming. It involves building up several layers of polish in a specific way, so if you're not familiar with the technique it's probably best left to a professional.​
Create a Mosaic
For the truly ambitious, there's always the option of creating a mosaic. It's very time consuming and labor intensive but the rewards can be amazing. You're guaranteed to get a unique, one-of-a-kind piece. Spend some time planning before you get started. If you want to incorporate a specific pattern, or even if you want to use a random assortment of broken dishes, you'll need to think about what colors work together and the quantities you'll need. Keep in mind that if the whole chest seems like too big a project you can always just decorate the top or the drawer fronts.