Painting a Veneer Dresser

Here’s what we’re tackling for today – we’re painting a veneer dresser! If you have a dresser with veneer that you want to update, this is the guide for you! Veneer can be tricky to work with, especially when it’s damaged or peeling. But we’ll show you how to deal with that and turn your dresser into a beautiful and upgraded piece of nice furniture.

This is one of the many painting furniture ideas involving veneer, so you’ll definitely want to take notes! It differs a bit from painting solid wood, but we’ll guide you through each step. Ready for this fun project?

Veneer Dresser before the makeover

First off, let me tell you about the dresser I had for this project. It came with very badly damaged veneer – it was peeling off in multiple places and had a lot of deep scratches. I knew that simply painting over it wouldn’t give me the smooth, polished finish I wanted, so I decided to remove the veneer completely.

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So we’ll cover how to remove any damaged veneer without damaging the dresser underneath. Really, it’s not as daunting as it might seem! After we get that sorted, we’ll move on to the actual painting process.

We’ll go over the steps to prep the veneer dresser so you can easily follow along and get the best results on your own dresser. And along the way, we’ll share some tips and tricks to make the process smoother and more efficient.

Supplies Used for Painting a Veneer Dresser

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Removing Veneer from Dresser

As we mentioned above, the veneer on this dresser was in pretty rough shape. It had chips, cracks, and even large pieces that were lifting off, especially from the top and drawers. So the first thing we needed to do was remove it completely.

removing damaged veneer from dresser

We chiseled away at the veneer, but there are other, better methods you can do. Our remove veneer post lists the ways you can easily tackle veneer, including using a heat gun or even a hair dryer. In this case, again, we were successful with just a chisel.

After the veneer was out of the way, we were left with some gouges where the veneer had been. To fix that, we filled those spots with Bondo wood filler. We also filled in the old hardware holes, as we wanted to update the look with modern knobs instead of handles.

applying Bondo wood filler to damaged areas

After that, we got to work sanding everything down with 220 grit sandpaper until it was super smooth and ready for painting. If you’re curious about what grits mean and learning everything about sandpaper, our sandpaper for furniture painting post will help you out!

Priming Veneer Dresser before Painting

After clearing up all the dust from sanding, we moved on to priming the dresser. You’ll want to prime before painting so the new paint adheres properly and to prevent any stains from coming out after you’ve painted.

clear shellac to prime dresser

We primed the veneer dresser with 2 coats of clear shellac in a spray can. Clear shellac is one of the best primers to stop tannin bleed that you can use. Make it a point to use one of these primers so that you won’t have to stress about stains appearing later on!

Painting Veneer Dresser with Chalk Paint

So we’ve handled the veneer and did the rest of the prep work. For our veneer dresser, we picked out a beautiful navy blue shade from Country Chic Paint called Peacoat Blue. It’s a really deep and classy color that’s gonna make the dresser look amazing. If you haven’t tried this paint yet and want to know more about it, you can check out our Country Chic Paint review.

Before painting, one fun little detail we did was add a raised stencil look to the dresser drawers. This navy dresser with textured drawers post shows you exactly how we did it. It’s super easy and makes a big difference! Of course, you can decide not to do the raised stencil as well, but we think it gives the dresser a unique touch.

adding raised stencil to dresser drawer

After the texture dried, we sprayed 2-3 coats of the blue chalk paint using the Wagner FLEXiO 595 sprayer. It’s an awesome budget friendly sprayer that works well with chalk paint, so you might want to invest in one if you plan on painting a lot of furniture. Our Wagner FLEXiO 595 review is up here as well should you want to dive into its features and performance.

Sealing Painted Veneer Dresser

Now that we’ve got our beautiful navy blue veneer dresser all painted up and looking fabulous, it’s time to seal it. So what topcoat should you use? In our post on sealing painted furniture, we talk about how important it is and how to choose the right sealant for your project.

And for this veneer dresser, we sealed the chalk paint with 2 coats of waterbased polyurethane. We love the protection and durability polyurethane has, and the satin finish gives the dresser a nice subtle sheen.

You can choose to brush on the polyurethane, but we prefer spraying for an even and smooth application. We compared spray polyurethane VS brush on polyurethane in this post, so we hope it helps you decide which method to use.

After letting the paint and poly dry for a week, we added some beautiful gold octagon knobs to give the veneer dresser a modern and luxurious touch. You can choose any hardware that you like, but look how the gold complements the navy blue perfectly! Here’s how to change hardware on a dresser if you need a guide.

You’ll want to leave the painted veneer dresser alone for about a month like we did, so the paint can fully cure and be extra durable. We really recommend waiting that long to use it – if not, the paint might chip or scratch more easily. Don’t rush it and you’ll have a gorgeous piece of veneer furniture that will last for years to come.

close-up view of Veneer Dresser after the makeover
Veneer 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 Veneer Dresser after the makeover

Painting a Veneer Dresser

painted veneer dresser with textured drawers

We're painting a veneer dresser with damaged veneer and giving it a modern touch with raised stencils and gold hardware.


  1. Start by removing and chiseling away the veneer from the dresser. Chipping or damaged veneer will need to be handled for a better surface to work on.
  2. After removing the veneer, fill in any gouges or old hardware holes with Bondo wood filler. You want to create a smooth surface.
  3. And for a smoother surface, sand down the filler and dresser with 220 grit sandpaper. Make sure to clean off any dust before moving on to priming.
  4. Prime veneer dresser with 2 coats of clear shellac spray. This primer helps the paint adhere better and prevents any stains from coming out.
  5. For added dimension and character, add a raised stencil design to the dresser drawers. You'll need a stencil, texture powder and paint - lay the stencil flat and apply the texture powder over it before painting.
  6. After the texture dries, apply 2-3 coats of the Country Chic Paint in Peacoat Blue for full coverage using a sprayer. Spraying gives an even and smooth finish. You can use a brush if you prefer.
  7. Once the painted veneer dresser is dry, seal it with 2 coats of waterbased polyurethane for extra protection and durability. Spray or brush it on, whichever method you prefer.
  8. Let the paint and poly cure for a week before adding any hardware. Add in gold octagon knobs for a modern and luxurious touch, or choose any hardware that suits your style.
  9. Allow the painted veneer dresser to fully cure for about a month before using it. You want the paint to be extra durable that won't chip or scratch easily.

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Veneer Dresser before the makeover

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