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How to Paint a Chest of Drawers

Painting an old chest of drawers can really spruce up a bedroom. With some simple supplies and a well-ventilated area, any do-it-yourselfer can breathe new life into a stale dresser. The right colour paint and correct application are both key to successfully refurbishing a chest of drawers.

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  1. Take your chest of drawers to a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors, but a garage or basement will suffice. Set the furniture on top of a dust sheet in order to protect the surface underneath.

  2. Cover or remove any hardware you don't want painted with masking tape. Put on your mask to prevent inhalation of fumes and dust from sanding and painting.

  3. Use a 200-grit sandpaper to sand the surface of your chest of drawers and prepare it for primer and paint.

  4. Use a damp sponge to lightly clean the surface of the chest of drawers.

  5. Dry the chest of drawers completely with a dish or hand towel.

  6. Open the can of primer. Follow manufacturer's instructions for application and apply. Make sure you cover the entire surface of the chest. Allow the primer to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  7. Open the paint can with a screw driver or butter knife. Use mixing stick to thoroughly stir the paint. Dip paint brush into paint and wipe off any excess on the side of the can.

  8. Apply one layer of paint to the entire surface of your chest of drawers. Make sure paint is applied evenly, with no drips or lumps. Pay special attention to the corners. Allow to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  9. Determine if your chest of drawers requires a second coat of paint. If so, apply a second coat once the first is completely dry. Follow the instructions in the previous step and allow to dry completely.

  10. Remove masking tape, replace hardware if necessary, cover your paint and clean all painting supplies.

  11. Tip

    You can use stencils and stencil paint to add decorative touches to your chest of drawers. Wallpaper pieces make great drawer liners. You can pick up new knobs for your chest of drawers at your local building supply store.


    Make sure to sand and paint your chest of drawers in a well-ventilated area away from small children and pets. Keep primer and paint in a safe place away from children and pets.

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Things You'll Need

  • Masking tape
  • 200-grit sand paper
  • Paint brush
  • Spray paint primer
  • Water-based latex interior paint
  • Mixing stick
  • Screw driver
  • Dust sheet
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Hand towel
  • Protective mouth and nose mask


About the Author

April Ort

April Ort began writing in 2007. he has more than 15 years experience in the financial industry, has held a travel agent license and has interviewed a variety of celebrities. Ort is currently working in the health-care industry as an operational trainer and completing her Bachelor of Science in communications with a focus on journalism.

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