DIY Modern Grey Dresser

If you’re looking to freshen up your space with a touch of sophistication, then this tutorial is for you. We’ll take you through this DIY modern grey dresser makeover and how we transformed an old, outdated dresser into a sleek and stylish piece of gray painted furniture.

Painting furniture deep gray has become increasingly popular in home decor, and we’re excited to show you how easy it is to get this look using Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel paint.

long 9 drawer wood dresser before paint

Welcome to Furniture Fixer Upper day, where we join 4 of our talented furniture friends and bring you brand new makeovers! I’ll link to my friend’s makeovers after our after photos at the bottom of this post! Don’t forget to check out their masterpieces!! Okay, back to our makeover!

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Gray is a versatile color that can add depth and character to any room. It’s not just a neutral, but has the ability to create a statement in a space. That’s why painting your furniture gray is a great way to add interest and elevate the overall look of a room.

With so many shades of gray available, you can easily find one that fits your personal style and complements your existing decor. Whether you prefer a light and airy vibe or a dark and moody look, there’s a gray shade for every aesthetic.

You can also easily pair it with other colors, making it a popular choice for interior design.

With the right techniques and products, you can totally create a beautiful gray finish on any piece. Again, we’ll specifically be using Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel paint on this makeover.

scroll down to see the after photos

Supplies Used for DIY Modern Grey Dresser

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How to Paint with Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel

To get started by cleaning furniture before painting, we took off the hardware then gave the dresser a good vacuum job inside to get rid of the dirt and spider webs. Next, we got down to business with Krud Kutter to thoroughly clean the dresser inside and out.

For some extra scrubbing power on the wood, we grabbed our electric drill with a brush attachment. We then rinsed everything off with a clean wet rag.

cleaning drawers with electric drill with brush attachment

The latch of the dresser door in the middle was a little off and wouldn’t close all the way, so we took care of that by loosening, slightly adjusting, and tightening the screws. We also made sure to tighten any other loose screws on the dresser, including those holding on the top.

Now everything is secure and working fine!

To continue preparing furniture for painting, we scuffed up the finish of the dresser with 220 grit sandpaper and medium grit foam sanding pads.

The best sandpaper for furniture painting is 220 grit as it’s not too rough but still effective at removing old finishes and creating a smooth surface for paint.

Also, sanding before painting furniture guarantees paint sticks better and gives you a longer-lasting finish.

If you want a complete guide for sanding for paint prep, head on over this post to learn more.

photo of 220 grit sandpaper and medium grit foam sanding pad

After cleaning up the dust from sanding with a vacuum and tack cloth, we then taped off the drawers with pre-taped plastic and painter’s tape. Gotta make sure we don’t get any paint inside the drawers! Learn how to tape off the drawers in our how to prevent overspray post.

Primer For Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel

When it comes to painting furniture with enamel paint, a common question is whether or not primer is needed. Yes, a primer is needed under this paint to help with an even coverage and to help the paint stick.

For this project, we went ahead and primed the dresser with black aqua lock primer using our trusty Wagner FLEXiO 5000 paint sprayer.

We decided to switch things up and try out the iSpray nozzle instead of the usual detail finish nozzle. For more details on how to use Wagner FLEXiO 5000 paint sprayer and the different nozzle options, check out our blog post!

After thinning the primer with about 15% water, we sprayed it on and were pretty impressed with how smooth the spraying was and how little texture there was in the finish.

spraying primer using wagner 5000 with Ispray nozzle attachment

Before calling it a night, we also filled in any scratches or dings with plastic wood filler and left it to dry overnight. There are more options for the best wood fillers for furniture, but for filling in any small cracks and dings before painting, plastic wood filler is the way to go. 

And of course, we cleaned out the paint sprayer so it would be ready for the next day’s painting! Here are the steps to clean a Wagner FLEXiO sprayer if you’re not familiar with how.

The next day, once the filler had dried up, we gave it a good sanding with some 220 grit sandpaper using a power sander. To make sure everything was clean and smooth for painting, we cleaned up the dust with a vacuum hose and brush attachment and then wiped it down with a tack cloth.

sanding wood filler using surfprep electric sander

At this point, I should have primed over the wood filler again. But I forgot and went on my merry way.

Spraying Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel

We chose the Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel paint in the Iron Ore color for this modern grey dresser. This paint is a favorite because of its durability and the fact that it doesn’t require a topcoat, making the painting process much simpler.

And to top it off, this paint leaves a smooth finish without any brush marks. Our Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel review goes into more detail about this great paint.

At first, we decided to give the Wagner iSpray nozzle a try by mixing the paint in. We wanted to see how it would work on the furniture. We added about 15% water to thin the paint and made sure to mix it thoroughly. Here is a more detailed guide on how to thin paint for Wagner FLEXiO Sprayer.

scroll slowly so the photos can load properly

However, when we actually started spraying the paint on some cardboard, we weren’t really loving how the spray was coming out.

We gave it a try on a small section of the dresser but stopped because I was worried about the paint texture. (It honestly would have been just fine to keep spraying because this paint levels so well.)

But, we switched back to our usual detail finish nozzle for this furniture paint sprayer, and boy, did it give a much finer finish while spraying.

photo of switching from Ispray nozzle to detail nozzle

Unfortunately, when the paint was dry on the top, we could still see where the wood filler had filled in the scratches. The paint had a different sheen when it dried, so we just dabbed some primer onto those areas.

We didn’t brush it on to avoid any brush marks. After the primer dried, we sanded it smooth again with 220 grit sandpaper. Then we painted the final coat on the dresser.

Get more tips and tricks on how to paint a dresser here.

Changing Dresser Hardware

And finally, we replaced the hardware on the dresser. We didn’t want to use those bulky handles that were on it before, and we found these awesome adjusta-pull drawer pulls that can fit different hole sizes.

attaching new hardware to a drawer

The old handles were like 5 and 3/4 inches apart, which made it difficult to find something that exact size. These adjustable pulls were a real lifesaver because we didn’t have to fill in the old holes!

But here’s our favorite way of filling holes when replacing cabinet or furniture hardware if you need it for any future projects. We’ve also got a handy guide on how to change hardware on a dresser if you need some tips and tricks.

And here’s how it looks now! The Iron Ore color gives it a nice modern touch while still being neutral and versatile enough to fit in with any room decor. We also love how smooth and flawless the finish is thanks to the Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel.

And with the paint’s durability, we know this dresser will last for years to come. Watch the full makeover in our Youtube video below!

Check out this guide on how to repaint a dresser so you can also give your furniture a fresh new look. If you want more amazing furniture makeover ideas, check out this post for an inspirational journey into the world of furniture refinishing.

close up of dresser showing new hardware
full view photo of the dresser after the makeover

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

close up of drawers after the makeover

Don’t forget to check out these other awesome before and after furniture makeovers from my Furniture Flipping friends!! (Click the links below the photos!)

collage photo of furniture before makeovers
scroll up if you missed the after photos

DIY Modern Grey Dresser

full view photo of dresser after the makeover

Follow along this DIY modern grey dresser showing off the durability and smooth finish of Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel paint.


  1. Remove the hardware on the dresser then thoroughly clean the dresser inside and out with Krud Kutter. Clean everything off after with a clean wet rag.
  2. Check for any loose screws and tighten them up.
  3. Thoroughly sand the dresser with 220 grit sandpaper and medium grit foam sanding pads. Vacuum out all the dust and debris from sanding and wipe everything down with a tack cloth to make sure it's dust-free.
  4. Tape off any areas you don’t want to get painted, like inside drawers or along edges.
  5. Prime the dresser with black aqua lock primer using a Wagner FLEXiO 5000 paint sprayer. Make sure to thin the primer with about 15% water before spraying it on.
  6. Fill in any scratches or dings with plastic wood filler and let it dry overnight. Sand it smooth the next day with 220 grit sandpaper. Vacuum and wipe down again with a tack cloth. Prime over the wood filler.
  7. Mix the Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel paint in the Iron Ore color and thin it with about 15% water. Make sure to mix it thoroughly. Test the spray on a piece of cardboard first to make sure it's spraying evenly and smoothly. Spray a few coats on the dresser using the detail finish nozzle for a smooth and flawless finish. Let each coat dry before applying another one.
  8. Replace any hardware on the dresser with your desired handles or knobs.

Recommended Products

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More Gray Painted Furniture Ideas

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9 drawer dresser at a thrift store

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  1. Christy James says:

    This turned out so beautiful, Natalie! And I love that you found an adjustable pull! XOXO

    1. Thanks so much! I think I’ll be using these pulls more often!

  2. Denise - Salvaged Inspirations says:

    You leveled up this dresser big time Natalie! It looks absolutely gorgeous now. I’ve used SW Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel on prior pieces and you’re so right, super durable!! Pinned! XOXO

    1. Thank you Denise!! Everytime I use it I wonder why I don’t use it more. So easy to use and such a good paint! Thanks for the love!

  3. Natalie,

    Wow! I love the new color on the dresser. Thanks for the tip on the adjustable handle. I had no idea!

    1. Thank you so much Gail!

  4. The color completely transformed it. Great job.

    1. Thank you so much Lizzy!

  5. Thank you so much Esme!

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