Are you tired of your old ugly furniture and want a painted white dresser instead? It’s easier than you might think! Learn how to paint a dresser white with this easy white dresser makeover.
See and learn from a list of more of our DIY Dresser Makeovers and get inspired!
We recently refinished this stunning Thomasville Dresser that we had for 6 months! I can’t believe we waited that long to bring it back to life because it sure didn’t disappoint in white!
This dresser was solid, super well built and in excellent condition. The only problem was the old and outdated orangey wood finish.
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This is what the dresser looked like before painting it white.
The wood grain was pretty, but the vintage Thomasville drawer pulls were a little bit much for me. Look at how big and ornate they are!!
How to Paint a Dresser White
Start by removing the hardware.
You’ll want to clean off the dresser really well with something that will remove grease, grime and build up. I use Krud Kutter for this because it cuts through all of these things so easily. Then fill in the old hardware holes in with Bondo (more about how to use Bondo to repair damaged furniture and How to change hardware on a dresser). Once the Bondo is dry (about 15 minutes later) sand down the Bondo with 220 grit sandpaper until it is smooth and flush with the rest of the surface.
To help your paint stick to the wood dresser, lightly sand the rest of the dresser by hand with 220 grit sandpaper. You don’t need to go down to bare wood by any means. But you do need to scuff up the surface so the paint has something to hold onto.
Vacuum off all of the dust and wipe it down with a clean damp rag.
How to Remove Drawers from Thomasville Dresser
A quick little sidenote: If you’re specifically working with a Thomasville Dresser, you may be having a hard time with the drawers. On this Thomasville dresser and another one I have worked on, the drawers seemed stuck. But they really just needed a good straight pull to get them out. Before trying to put all your muscle into pulling these drawers out, double and triple-check that there isn’t a latch or lever on the underside of the drawer, or even on the side drawer slides (depending on your drawers).
How to Prevent Bleed Through When Painting
The last step in prepping to paint a dresser white is to prevent bleedthrough. AND it’s the most important step to a white dresser makeover.
If you skip this step, your white paint will end up with yellow, pink or brown splotches or stains all over.
Sometimes you won’t notice it until after it is completely done! And then you have to start all over to get these stains to go away, and no matter how many coats of paint, these stains will just keep reappearing. Unless you take this step to prevent it!
This step is really simple though!
Grab a can or two of this BIN Shellac Based primer. Then paint at least 2 coats of it, all over. Wait a few hours in between each coat, and then for best results, wait overnight after the second coat.
It works the very best if it has a chance to really dry!
How to Spray Paint a Dresser White
After a couple years of painting furniture, I invested in this Wagner Paint Sprayer. I can’t believe I waited so long to get one! Not only does it make painting faster, but it also provides a smooth, brush free, even finish on all of my pieces!
Plus those dreaded chairs or super detailed pieces are a breeze!
Learn how to use a paint sprayer on furniture – how to thin out paint, how to protect everything from overspray, and so much more!
You NEED to have it in your life if you’re painting furniture very often. It’s cheap, doesn’t need an air compressor and it has 2 containers for paint (one container ALWAYS has poly in it for me). It basically pays for itself even if you’re doing just one or two large projects!
Learn how to tape off dresser drawers for a paint sprayer! You don’t want to get paint inside of the drawers!
Homemade Chalk Paint
One of my go to paints is a homemade chalk paint recipe made with Behr paint and calcium carbonate powder.
Because I use Behr paint my color options are endless, even though for this project I went with the plain and simple “Pure White”.
Yep, I just walked up to the paint shelf in Home Depot, grabbed a can of flat interior paint in Ultra Pure White and continued on with my shopping. No need to tint the paint, it’s already a great shade of white, plus I hate when the line is so long just to get one can of paint tinted.
When using my Wagner Paint Sprayer, no matter the exact paint, I thin the paint out, but it’s super simple and beats painting a huge dresser with a paintbrush. You can use any brand of chalk paint in the sprayer too! I just always stick to water-based products for easy cleanup.
Using a Paint Sprayer on Furniture
We took the dresser and drawers outside to our favorite paint spot. It’s in the rocks in a wide-open area so I don’t get overspray on anything that shouldn’t get painted.
We laid down a few cheap dollar tree shower curtains with wood blocks on each corner to keep the plastic from blowing away and put the dresser and doors up on 5 gallon paint buckets and a box.
I like to have the dresser up a bit, and those 5 gallon buckets do the trick. I’ve used the same paint buckets for many years now, and they are still holding up! The best part is that I got them for free from a paint company after a project.
Spray about 3-4 thin coats to prevent the paint from dripping. White paint is notorious for having bad coverage. Thankfully the BIN primer used to prevent bleedthrough also helps with getting full coverage!
Once all the paint is dry, grab more 220 grit sandpaper and lightly sand along all the edges and flat surfaces to provide an even smoother finish as well as create a distressed look.
Vacuum off the dust, and wipe it away.
The Finishing Steps
Chalk paint is very porous and needs to be sealed with something. My very favorite and the most durable product is 3 coats of Varathane Polyurethane.
For the best looking finish, I spray the water-based polyurethane on.
Learn ALL of my tips and tricks on How to Spray Polyurethane here!
Last but not least, update the old vintage hardware with new modern hardware.
I opted to reuse the original knobs, so I sprayed all of the hardware with Rustoleum Metallic Spray Paint in Oil Rubbed Bronze before attaching it all back onto the dresser.
I couldn’t believe how it went from being an okay dresser to being a completely stunning piece that sold within a few hours of being listed for sale.
How to Paint a Dresser White – Step by Step
Here are the steps, broken down, once again just to make it easier.
- Remove the hardware.
- Clean with Krud Kutter.
- Fill in hardware holes with Bondo.
- Sand down the Bondo and scuff sand the entire dresser.
- Vacuum and wipe off the dust.
- Paint 2 coats of BIN Shellac to prevent bleedthrough.
- Paint 3-4 coats of white chalk paint.
- Sand and distress the paint.
- Seal the paint with Varathane Polyurethane.
- Paint the hardware and attach it.
Until the next project,
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