Pretty-In-Pink Ombre Dresser

I’m super excited to introduce you to my latest furniture transformation! Toward the end of my husband’s deployment, we found out he was going to be extended a few extra weeks. And while a few more weeks isn’t the end of the world, it made me sad and frustrated…and I just wanted/needed a feel-good, something-to-keep-my-hands-busy project! I found this little dresser at our local Re-Store for $35 and had an instant vision!

Pink Ombre Dresser-001

I’ve been really wanting to try the ombre effect on a piece of furniture for a while now – you know, the buy-a-sample-pot-of-each-color-on-the-paint-strip project? Yep, I know, the blog world has been there, done that. But I love it every time I see it and wanted to try it…so consider me having just jumped on the bandwagon 🙂 Complete with brass flower knobs, casters, and gold drawer liner, this little thing couldn’t get any sweeter!

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The key to this look is finding a unit with drawers that line up just so: without a wood panel separating the top and bottom of each drawer. Not that it wouldn’t work, I just prefer the look of all the colors together without the dresser frame breaking it up. I’ve been keeping an eye out for one for a while and was excited when this one was just right! And why pink? Because I just needed to work with a color that made me happy, and these pinks sure did the trick!

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This dresser is just so darling, and I love her so much…but she didn’t start out so cute. And her makeover story wasn’t simple or easy, making me want to chuck her to the curb on more than one occasion. Here she is as I found her, in all her rough- and $35 glory. She was heavy as h***, and in super bad condition, but that has never deterred me before. I needed a good challenge!

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When I bought the dresser, I was pretty convinced it was solid wood. I’ve done enough furniture shopping and transformations now to know what is fake and what is real – or so I thought. My plan was actually to stain the frame and paint the drawers, but my vision quickly changed when I discovered what I thought was solid wood was actually the most convincing veneer I have ever, ever seen. And to make it worse, some of the wood was solid and gorgeous and some was composite, so I really had no choice but to go the paint route.

I sanded the top down to make it all clean and smooth, and then used pegs and wood filler to fill these strange holes in the top of the dresser. For some reason, I also sanded down the sides and front of the frame, still clinging to the idea that I could maybe figure out a way to stain it.

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But the weird top and faux wood was just the beginning of this dresser’s problems. Do you see it? Down there in the bottom right corner? MAJOR water damage and wood rot. It was so bad that the back right leg was pulling out from the bad wood, so it had to be dealt with.

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I kid you not when I say this is one of the grossest and hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with in a furniture transformation. The 1/2″ plywood that made up the base of the dresser was both glued and nailed in the bottom of the dresser frame. I thought I’d be able to pry it out, but because the wood was so soft from moisture, it crumbled and came out inch by inch. It took me HOURS in the hot garage pushing, pulling, prying and cursing every bit of this dusty, crumbly, smelly rotted wood out. Once I got all the wood out, I then had to deal with all the nails still stuck in the bottom of the frame. But after a ton of sweat and hardwork, the base was completely free and cleaned-out, and I had a perfect ledge for new plywood.

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Fortunately, inserting the replacement wood was a lot easier than getting the original out. I got a piece of plywood cut down to the right size at the hardware store and attached it to the base with wood screws.

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With some replacement feet (there was no way to salvage the original feet!), I finally had the dresser back up-right and ready to move on!

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Before I could break out the paint, the drawers had to be dealt with first. I removed the hardware as well as the locks in the top center of each drawer. It took several rounds of wood filler and sanding to fill up the lock holes. Next, the insides of the drawers had to be cleaned up. Every peice I bring home from our Re-Store is in really rough shape, and this one was no exception. All three of the drawers had some wierd sticky residue all over the insides. Gu-Gone didn’t do a thing, and I had no choice but to completely sand down the insides of all three drawers. It was just one thing after another with this baby!

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With the top sanded and patched, the bottom removed and replaced, and the drawers patched and cleaned, it was finally ready for paint – weeks later! I used up some paints from my stash along with a few test pots of fresh colors!

  • I started with a single coat of Zinsser 123 primer, applied with a 2.5″ angled brush and a 4″ foam roller, to all the surfaces of the drawer frame as well as the drawer fronts.
  • The dresser frame was given three coats (yes, three) of the BM Advanced High Gloss paint in Simply White.
  • The drawer fronts were given three coats of pink paint (Poppy Field, Passion Pink, and Whipped Strawberry), while the sides and inside required only one coat of the navy blue (Indigo Cloth).
  • The white frame didn’t require a topcoat because the BM Advanced paint is so durable (after a long cure period), but the drawers were each given a couple coats of the Rustoleum Clear Gloss spray.

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I ditched the black knobs that came with the piece and found these adorable flower brass knobs on eBay – they were $20 for 9 knobs which was a great deal, even with shipping! The other three knobs are tucked away for another someday project! I finished off the insides of each drawer with some really wonderful gold and white wrapping paper I found at Michaels for $2/roll. Oh – and because nothing about this piece was easy, after all was said and done, I couldn’t get the drawers back in the dresser. Seriously. Even after numbering them from the start and trying out each drawer in each spot, the top drawer would not go in. After a late night brainstorm session with my brother-in-law and his wood-working buddy, we discovered that simply loosening the drawer rails allowed the drawer to slide back in properly. Random, but good trick to know!

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I originally bought square feet to replace the rotted feet because that was what was already on the dresser, but I didn’t love the way they looked and couldn’t decide on a color stain that would look right. After weeks of the dresser sitting, mostly done, in the middle of the garage, I had the brilliant idea to add casters instead. As I mentioned above, this little thing literally weighs a ton. Adding the casters not only made it MUUUCH easier to move but also gave it the look I was after. The brass-lidded casters were a simple find at Lowes!

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As I said, the BM Advanced paint is really, really durable once it’s fully cured (this sat out in the garage for about 3 weeks). The top of this baby is pristine, and I don’t have any hesitations putting anything on top of it!

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This little lady caused me so much heartache and a ton of sweat, and took me so much longer than I anticipated. Despite all the delays and frustrations, I literally wrapped up this feel-good project the day before my husband got home!

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Because I can never get enough of before/after shots, here’s the dresser the day I brought her home and after her makeover!

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There really is only one word appropriate for how I feel about this transformation…

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Now for those of you who know my house color scheme, you know that a pink dresser really doesn’t match a single thing…so you might be thinking, “where on earth is that going to go?” Well, I literally picked the color scheme because I just wanted/needed something to make me smile. And you’re right, this dresser really doesn’t match (or fit!) anywhere in my house! But I wanted to paint something pink so bad and now I have…and sure enough, I love her so much that I’m not getting rid of her. However, I may have just come up with a really great place/use for her…I just need to work it out a bit! Details to come soon! In the meantime, she sure does look cute on my polka dot wall, huh?

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I hope you all have a great start to your week! I’ll be back later this week with a few family room updates (I hope!).

 Megan

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