With just a few simple changes, you can make a hand-me-down dresser look tailor-made.
When Ikaroo's former photo editor Barbara Ovrutsky needed more storage space, she eyed her parents' 1980s chest of drawers. "Take it," her mother said. "Now your father will finally buy me a new one." Barb couldn't wait to put her own stamp on the Danish modern dresser. While she appreciated its clean lines and symmetrical construction, Barb wanted to change the drawer pulls and cover the wood veneer.
1. Wood filler
2. Paintbrush and roller
3. Putty knife
5. Craft knife
6. Low-grade sandpaper
7. Spray-paint primer
8. White water-based latex interior paint
10. Drawer knobs
11. Vinyl decal
13. Painter's tape
After removing the drawers from the chest, Barb unscrewed their pulls and pressed quick-drying wood filler into the holes. Kristan Cunningham, a home decor expert on the Rachael Ray show, recommends pushing a generous amount of filler into the holes to prevent air pockets from forming. Barb smoothed away the overflow with a putty knife, but a stiff spatula could work as well.
Barb gently sanded the surface of the bureau's drawer fronts and frame before spray-painting them with primer. Two hours later, she went over everything with two coats of white water-based latex interior paint in a semigloss finish. Cunningham suggests applying the first layer of paint with a roller for quick coverage and the second with a paintbrush to create a slightly textured effect.
After the paint dried for several days, Barb measured and drilled holes for the new knobs. She centered her 16- by 39-inch decal and adhered it to the dresser with a burnisher (a credit card would also do). She then screwed in the handles and sliced the sticker along the drawers' edges with a craft knife so the drawers would open.
To protect clothing while adding a touch of unexpected style, place a liner, like these perfumed and decorative sheets, inside the drawers.
Green Tea scented drawer paper, $28/six sheets; .
"If I want a different look, I can just peel off the decal and try out another design." Before applying wall decals, affix them with painter's tape to find the best arrangement. Barb selected drawer pulls in a variety of sizes and patterns (from $6 each; ), but she stuck to a single color for unity and to allow the decal to stand out. For similar decals, visit or Target.