In less than 3 hours, we upcycled an old dresser into a new look as a storage bench.
My friend Laurel wants to furnish and decorate her new apartment with inexpensive finds she can customize to her style.
So I was more than happy to help her with one of those projects, creating a small bench that could easily fit in the entry area, and do double-duty as a place to store a few necessities.
When I’m looking for furniture on a tight budget, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore is a good place to start. We looked around the ReStore in Philadelphia to find a bench or something else that could be modified to become a bench. It didn’t take long to wade through the chairs, armoires, desks, and more, to find a little white dresser priced at just $15. Score.
Since she’s a friend, it was easy to talk through the options to makeover the dresser. We could have kept all of the drawers and just added a little cushion to the top, but she wanted to keep just the top drawer, and loved the idea of adding wood to the bottom to make a little open shelf for extra storage.
Beyond the functional makeover, we talked color and fabric. The color seems obvious to both of us, bold yellow and a graphic yellow print for the cushion.
To make sure we could finish the project in an afternoon, I chose Krylon spray paint. It dries in less than 10 minutes, and with light coats, it’s fast to apply several coats in very little time. Laurel wasn’t sure about using spray paint at first, but as soon as she saw that the light sweeping coats prevent any drips or pools of paint, and that it was dry to the touch so quickly, she became a fast fan.
We could have painted the entire dresser in Sun Yellow, but I like to push the design a bit. I removed the plastic hardware, which was not doing the piece any favors in its plastic white hue. To make the bench look more expensive and add a bit of glamour, we chose metallic gold. Hardware can be tough to paint if it is laying on a flat surface. I took two scrap pieces of wood and stood the hardware up between the boards. You can also screw the hardware to a board, so it’s easier to manipulate the hardware and achieve a consistent painted surface.
Of course, we pushed it further. I suggested to use a different color inside the bench. I pulled purple, grey, turquoise, and light blue, since I know she wanted to keep it fairly calm. (Hot pink could be visually arresting on this project, too.) She selected the Blue Ocean Breeze.
When painting anything more than one color, there are options to guaranteeing a perfect edge between where one color starts and the other stops. Taking the project apart could work but adds time. Taping is a usual DIY solution. For this kind of project with straight lines of color, just taking a cut-off and using it as a guard will give the perfect color edge and is the smallest time investment.
With the new yellow-and-white cushion we sewed for the top, this old dresser is all dressed up, and ready to greet friends at Laurel’s new home.
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