In the Navy: The Tale of a 30 Year Old Dresser

About two months ago in my Fearlessly Finding Awesome Challenge #3 post I expressed that while my bedroom isn’t awful, it isn’t exactly special either. It’s just average. So I’ve been going back and forth in my head about what to do and I came up with a few ideas. The first on the list: give my hand-me-down dresser a facelift!

The dresser belonged to Matt’s mom when she was a teenager and has since been moved around quite a bit. It’s HEAVY and it’s sturdy, but at this point in time it has (had!) a lot of dings and scratches and marks on it from being so well used.

I absolutely do not hate it, it was just plain jane and in need of some loving. Further, the wood tone does not match the wood tone of our bed and tv stand.

I don’t know why, but I am so so hesitant to paint over original wood and I sat on this project for a while. To be honest, since we’ve moved in I’ve wanted to paint it, but a year ago I didn’t know how and I didn’t know where to start. My, I’ve come far!

First things first once I decided to commit:

  • Remove all hardware and put it in a safe place
  • Lay a gigantic tarp out in my yard
  • Move the whole thing out onto the tarp
  • Sand down any necessary areas that had nicks, stains, oddities

Once it was all laid out I spaced things to account for overspray, and also so that I could weave in and out of each section as I painted.

With my handy dandy Home Depot gift card I picked up RustOleum spray primer and spray paint in Navy (gloss finish). I used Kilz primer on my last project and RustOleum spraypaint, and I liked the spray of Rustoleum better so that’s why I decided to give the primer a chance. It worked great and the coverage was awesome.

Everything got 2 coats of primer spray, it wasn’t perfectly even but it was good enough for a piece that was going to be painted a very dark color.

An hour later, everything got several coats of navy. I found spray painting such a dark color to be much more challenging then the silver on my last project, because it didn’t have the sheen of being metallic flaws showed up much more easily.

I gave all the hardware a little facelift with some metallic RustOleum, not to change the color but just to even it out and shine it up a bit.

Then, Matt checked the weather and wouldn’t you know scattered thunderstorms were expected for about an hour after I finished? The whole thing, which couldn’t be pieced together yet, had to be moved into the house to dry and cure up. GAH.

The boys were uninterested in the physical labor portion of this project.

At least I got to paint the whole thing before it had to be moved inside. I can’t imagine lifting that thing any more then twice. But if I did, oh boy would it have been worth it.


It’s hard for me to capture on camera exactly how awesome this piece looks, but trust me, it looks awesome. I will be adding other navy accents to the room, and new curtains as well, but for now it plays off the lighter blue in the comforter and the teal and mustard colors of the accent chair.

Something needs to go on the other side of the dresser too of course, to balance things out, but I don’t know what yet so that spot is staying empty.

I love how it looks in the room, how it takes things from average to unique. It’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me!

There are definitely spots that need touching up and a few areas that are slightly uneven, and I’ll fix of that what I can but honestly I’m not stressed about it. I’m proud of how this big mumma jumma turned out and so glad I finally went ahead and painted it.

So what do you think? Love it or hate it? Any advice? What have you painted lately?

{This post is linked up with Liz Marie Blog and the Shabby Creek Cottage}


16 thoughts on “In the Navy: The Tale of a 30 Year Old Dresser

  1. I have never painted furniture. I have my dresser from first ever set! Have always wanted to paint it cream and then distress it with stain and sanding and stuff. One cat,Sammy, has already started to distress it for me! Eeek! I can still hear my parents say: ‘Take care of ‘the’ furniture [nothing was ever MINE…THEY bought it so it was thiers!] so now that they have been gone [Dad:1995 and Mom 2006] I STILL cant do it! LOL..but…in the spring….IT IS GOING TO BE PAINTED!!! Tadow!!! I will post it on my blog which I havent been on in forever!! Thanks for the push!!! Love it! Mine is actually pretty damn close to this but have an extra set of top drawers, same pulls but one more row of drawers!!!

    • this was the first big piece I did- and I actually asked permission first even though it was given to me because I didn’t want to offend anyone. It was muchhhh easier then I thought it would be. My stuff has a natural cat distressing too it as well, lol. I got in the habit of putting double sided tape and tinfoil on stuff for the first few weeks to deter them.

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  4. Your dresser looks great! Natty by Design had a hint yesterday about smoothing out painted furniture with a paper bag.

  5. This is something I have wanted to do to both my dresser and my boyfriends. I have not picked out a color, all I really know is that it has to be painted before the end of summer, while we still have good weather. You did a great job. It really pulls together the whole room. 🙂

    • thank you! the nice weather definitely made things easier, though it still came out with a few spots. my biggest tip: always start and stop the spray off the piece of furniture. 🙂

  6. I will say I was hesitant at the start of the post. I’m not big on navy to start with, but this looks REALLY good! it fits the room very well. you’ve got a good eye for this stuff! 🙂

  7. Your creativity genes continue to be exposed and complement your “daring”, uninhibited venture to try something new, and lastly, willingness to lay all fears aside. You’ve done a great job with each and every project you begin. I’m at the point where I say, “What will be next?”

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