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Furniture Makeover: Turn a beaten down dresser into an entryway table

Expert home decor projects and crafts DIYer Amanda Fettig found herself in need of an entryway table. Rather than go to the store to buy a brand new piece of furniture, Amanda decided to repurpose an old dresser she purchased from Craigslist and turn that into a table fit for an entryway. Here’s how she did it.

You guys! It’s finished! This dresser makeover and entryway redo has been looming over me since November. It’s been a super slow process because I postponed doing it all until after the holidays were over. And…well, they’ve been over for awhile. But finally, I hammered down and completed it all, and we are so happy with the results!! Just wait until you see the before and after. You’ll for sure be raising an eyebrow and questioning my decor ideas in the before. I totally don’t blame you; I am too. It’s definitely one of those, “WHAT the heck was I thinking?” (or, WTHWIT) moments. Ever have one?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about this entryway and some of my plans on my blog. I mentioned really wanting to lighten up this whole area and my entire living room. You see, I had been on a total black furniture kick when we got married. I painted everything we owned black. And not just black, but shiny high-gloss black. Why? I have no clue. It really made our whole living space darker. Since we don’t have a ton of natural light in here, I really wanted to try and do what I could to brighten it all up. I think I succeeded!

We started by painting the entryway gray. It was a avocado green before, because I apparently thought it was a pretty color. Again, a “WTHWIT?” moment. So we painted the wall to match the rest of the living room. I also really wanted to replace the shiny black table with something that had more storage. I have seen so many repurposed dressers lately used in living rooms. I had to have one, too! I searched and searched and finally found a dresser for $30 on Craigslist. It was actually a steal, because every other dresser I found was at least $50, and most were way more. Even for the really crappy broken ones. I guess everyone else is redoing furniture, too?


This poor guy was a mess. Dirty, scratched, and so sad looking. One of the top small drawers was totally missing its bottom, and the bottom one was missing a handle.

But, I knew it had so much character. I loved the paneling on the sides and the curves in the front. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, too. AND bonus: the pretty glass drawer handles you’ll see close up later were already on the drawers. Total score!

I really wanted to strip the top and stain it a dark walnut. The rest of the body I wanted to be white with a little chippyness (why isn’t this a real word?). I had painted a few dressers in my day, but never have I stripped, stained, and worked with wood like this. It was a new adventure! Friends, I did not know the horror that was waiting for me under this black exterior.

Sanding the furniture

  • Because I had no idea what I was doing, I started sanding the top. For a very, very long time. I only got this far (and only got a tiny little bit of wood to show through on the edge) when I realized this was going to need so much more help.
  • I did a little research and found that a paint and varnish stripping gel should do the trick. I slathered on a thick coat and let it sit for half an hour.
  • When I went back and started scraping, I found out that this poor dresser had literally 6 coats of different colored paint under the black. I scraped as much off as I could, but realized I needed another coat of stripping gel. And another. And another.
  • Aaaaaaand another. Another 3, to be exact. Yes, 7 coats of gel later and FINALLY I had all the paint scraped off. I don’t know how many hours I actually spent stripping (hmm, that could sound really bad if you didn’t know I was talking about a dresser).
  • This poor sad dresser had been used and abused with all the paint. It had been (by order of which we saw) baby blue, green, red, dark blue, white, and black. I actually felt bad that I was going to be giving the rest of it yet one more coat of paint.


When I finally got all the paint off the top, it looked like this:


Yikes. That wood had sure seen better days. After all that work, I almost just said “to heck with it” and painted it white, too. But, I had come this far. So, I took out my sander again and sanded for another hour or two. It didn’t get a whole lot better than that, but I decided I liked the old and “worn” look. And I had invested way too much of my time to give up. I’m so happy I didn’t!

Painting the repurposed furniture

  • I used a chalk paint for the body of the dresser.
  • For the top, I used a translucent gel stain in walnut.

Sadly, I got so into staining and painting the dresser that I forgot to take pictures of the process. But, the after pictures show it off quite nicely!

  • The chalk paint paint is amazing. It’s so creamy and goes on smooth. A little goes a long way, and I found doing a few thin coats did the trick. It covered up the black paint no problem, with NO sanding required. Which, won major points in my book considering I literally spent hours sanding the top of that dresser.
  • The gel stain worked beautifully, too. I brushed it on and used a clean dry cloth to wipe it off as I went. I did two coats of the stain for the top, and only used one small bottle! I did a few coats of a polycrylic finish (with a light sanding between coats) as well, to protect the top from scratches.
  • I totally forgot to get wax for the rest of the dresser, so I might have to add that on later.

Now, for the after pictures!

I took out the broken drawers on top and decided to use baskets instead. I think it makes it look less “Dresser-ish.”

The finish paint distressed like a dream, too! I only did a light sanding all around the edges and it did exactly what I was hoping for.

And these glass pulls; aren’t they perfect? I love the blue tint they give. They’re probably worth about 2/3 of what I paid for the actual dresser! I totally got a deal.

The side paneling gives it a little extra personality. And those top curves!


If you look closely you can still see imperfections in the wood, but I love the rustic feel to it. And, it’s a reminder of all the work I put into it!

Before & After

Ok, are you ready for a before and after? These are the best!learnhowto10

This entryway definitely got quite the transformation!

Yay! No more green. Bye bye, orange. See ya later, shiny black table! And, adios to those internet cables in that green basket. They are now tucked away in the bottom drawer, never to be seen to the naked eye again.

I just can’t get enough of this pretty little thing.

And wow, this post got really long! I hope your week is going great so far!

Would you consider doing a DIY project like this? If not, that’s ok! DIYs aren’t for everyone. Luckily for you, we have a database of furniture stores you can visit to furnish any space in your home.

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About the Author: Amanda shares her DIY home decor crafts and projects on her blog Dwelling in Happiness.


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