{before & after laminate dresser makeover…drab to fab!}

We have been in dire need of dressers since we moved to Texas last year.  When we built our previous home, we had walk-in closets in every room with built-in drawers and shelves that completely eliminated the need for dressers.  Well–that wasn’t the case in this house, and I’ve been trying to track down dressers for each room since we moved in.  A few weeks ago, someone gave me this dresser, and even though it wasn’t my my style at all, I knew I could give it a dresser makeover and it would be just the thing for my girls’ room.  Plus…it was free, and who can argue with that? I can make anything work if it’s free!  ☺It happened to be a laminate surface, which is absolutely possible to paint and use–you just need to do it the right way!

Look at the before and after…

dresser before and after| oldsaltfarm.com

I love it!!!  It’s perfect in their room!  You can see in the before shot that the centers of the drawers were a little different–they had a thick plastic-y type material that I wasn’t in love with, and had to think how I was going to cover it up/use it.   I thought of several different options, but in the end decided on chalkboard paint, and I’m so glad!  It’s fun to write what’s on each drawer, although my girls are SO embarrassed that the word “underwear” is on there.   So…we may have to take it off, lol.  I used paint that I already had, and only had to buy the drawer handles, so the total cost was less than $15!  Woot woot!!!

This is what I did:

1.  The dresser was a laminate, which usually requires a primer.  I had some leftover white chalk paint (not to be confused with chalkboard paint–they are different! There will be a big post next week revealing my kitchen chairs makeover, and I’ll talk a lot more about chalk paint…) and since it sticks to any surface with no sanding or priming (which is quite fabulous in my opinion), I didn’t have to prep the surface.  If you’re not using chalk paint, you MUST ABSOLUTELY use a primer before painting on a laminate surface.  The paint will not stick otherwise, and will peel and chip right off. In fact, you need to use a primer that’s intended and designed for slick/laminate/glossy surfaces.  A good primer will make or break your project…so invest in a good one.  Cheap paint? Fine.  Use a good primer and it won’t matter! Zinsser makes a good one, and I’ve also used Bulls-eye 1-2-3 and liked both.  Zinsser’s oil-based primer is awesome–no sanding required–and you can use a latex paint right over it. Roll on your primer, and use a brush in all the corners. I use cheap brushes and rollers that I can throw away after I’m done, so there is very little clean up.  You probably want to keep mineral spirits on hand to clean your hands.

2.  Once the primer is dry, you need to lightly sand it, to get rid of any drips or bubbles.  If you’re going to brush your paint on, then I suggest using a higher quality brush–it will reduce the brush strokes. I’m a huge fan of spray paint, because it does go on nice and smooth, so I use it a lot.  Invest in a clip-on hand sprayer (about $6 at Home Depot), and it will help the dripping caused by a tired finger.  ☺  Put two coats on, letting it dry in between coats.

3. After the paint was dry, I taped off the drawer edges and applied the chalkboard spray paint. I did two coats, letting it dry in between coats. The handles went on next, and I was done!

I love that this was done in less than 48 hours–fast, easy, and FREE!

So…if you’re wondering about a piece of laminate furniture in your house, yes–paint it!  I’ve refinished many a piece of furniture either a laminate or slick surface, and it changes the look so incredibly.  Brighten it up with a fun color or crisp white…the sky is the limit!
laminate dresser makeover | oldsaltfarm.com

The girls had a fun time with the chalk…

laminate dresser makeover | oldsaltfarm.com

If you’re looking for an inexpensive piece of furniture to makeover, check out your local thrift and goodwill stores, and my favorite…the Habitat Re-store.  I have no fear when it comes to stopping on the side of the road if I see something with potential.  ☺ Some of my favorite things were acquired that way!  Check with friends and family…they might also be wanting to get rid of something that they might give to you for free, or for a small amount.  It’s worth asking!

Happy Painting!!!

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  1. Hi Kierste :-). Happy New Year! Hope you are all well. Thanks for this post. I have a laminate dresser that is waiting for a makeover — Is the white area chalk paint also?


    1. The white is chalk paint, the black is chalkboard paint. Chalk paint is a specific type of paint not to be confused with chalkboard paint, which is what you can write on with chalk. If you have any other questions, let me know!!! xo

  2. Hi Kierste! I’m wondering what your thoughts are on using chalk paint to paint laminate kitchen cabinets? A friend of mine just bought her first house and it has laminate cabinets. It’s not in her budget yet to get new cabinets. I’m thinking this could work along with new hardware. I like the idea of NOT having to prime them first:-) I also gave her the idea of taking the doors off on some of the upper cabinets and painting the inside of the cabinets. I love this idea to display dishes, glasses, mugs and food creatively displayed in appealing containers. I would love your feedback on this idea along with any experience you may have with this. Thanks, Denise:-)

    1. Hi Denise! There have been a lot of people paint their kitchen cabinets with chalk paint and loved it! I don’t know specifically if they were laminate, but usually cabinets have a thick finish in them, making them kind of “slick”, so it would be similar to a laminate surface in that way. Honestly, if she’s on a budget, it’s a good option! I think she’ll need to decide whether she would rather have it be more time consuming on the front end or back end—either she will be sanding and priming, then spraying on latex paint, or she won’t be priming, painting with a brush, then waxing (which can be time intensive). I think the chalk paint would be beautiful, though! I would also check Annie Sloan’s site–she has a section just for kitchen cabinets!

      I also like the idea of a few doors off, to showcase pretty dishes! It would open up those areas, and make it look bigger too! You’ll have to let me know what she decides…

    1. I bought that vinyl lettering forever ago, so I’m not sure what the fonts are. I’m so sorry!!

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