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How to Refinish an Old Dresser

Buying new furniture can be one of the more costly things you can do for your home, often more expensive than redecorating with a few new throw pillows and a fresh coat of paint. That is why more and more people are taking the DIY approach to refinishing their old wooden furniture. Not only can they breathe new life into an old piece of furniture, but they can also be in control of the new look and feel of the piece. Today, let’s go through how to refinish an old dresser in just a few simple steps.

Step 1: Get Your Supplies

Yes, refinishing old furniture saves money, but you have to spend money to save money in this instance. Your first step is heading to the store to pick up supplies. Basically, you will need the following:

  • Coarse sandpaper
  • Fine sandpaper
  • A paint or stain of your choosing
  • A standard kitchen sponge
  • Liquid soap
  • A paintbrush
  • Optional: a chemical stripping agent

Once you have your supplies, make sure you have a space where you can do your project safely. Since you may be using chemicals and sanding quite a bit, a well-ventilated area is a good idea. Outside is better.

Step 2: Prep the Dresser

Prepping the dresser essentially means taking a kitchen sponge and bucket of soap & water to the dresser. Gently wash away all the dirt and grime until the piece is crystal clean. Once that’s finished, let it dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Get to Sanding

The bulk of what you will be doing when refinishing an old dresser is sanding. Start with the coarse sandpaper and sand until you start to see the original wood poking through the paint, stain, or anything else that is in the way. Once that happens, switch to a finer sandpaper and sand away until all you see is the original wood.

If you are having trouble getting rid of the old finish, you may have to use a chemical stripping agent. Be sure to follow the instructions and safety guide when using these products.

Step 4: Paint or Stain

Once you are down to the original wood, it is time to give it a new stain or paint job, depending on your preferences. Paint is perfect for older pieces that still look a little worn, while stain can bring out the classic beauty of those old pieces. Despite your preference, the process remains mostly the same: use a brush to paint on your coating, let it dry, and put on another layer. If you are painting, be sure to start with a primer.

Buying brand new furniture can be very expensive, but refinishing old furniture is an excellent way to update old pieces and save money at the same time. Just remember: refinishing can be time-consuming and dangerous. Always follow the safety instructions of any products you use and wear all of the appropriate safety gear, including goggles and gloves. If you take your time and are careful, you could very well get decades of renewed use out of your old dresser, and have it fit into your current decor.

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