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Updated Dresser with Pulls, Paint, & Stain

Do you find stress relief in work? I’m one of those the will clean my house lickety-split when I am one hot mama. hahaha… That’s kinda how I feel about furniture and my creative projects too. There are times when I am downright frazzled and wore to the bone, then when I go get creative my woes are gone. I talk to God during that time, and it feels so good. We’ve had some major setbacks in the last few weeks, and I decided to take it out on this piece today. Let me show you how I turned it into an updated dresser.

Vintage Dresser Before Updating | Prodigal Pieces |

You might be wondering what’s wrong, well we’ve found a pest in the wood we are using for our kitchen countertops. No big deal, just treat and move on, but that set us back 3 weeks finding the source, the solution, and waiting on it to arrive. Then our vehicle had issues and when they were supposed to be fixed the dude who repaired it caused more damage. We even had good stress such as having more orders than we could handle…still stress though, right? There are other problems too, but that’s a sampling.


I liken it to being a pumped race horse sitting at the gate and I am ready to fly through the track! I can’t work on our kitchen until our counters are in and it’s killing me. First-world problem, I know. But…living out of boxes for over a year is too much for me. All I want is my house back. God is good and I know without a doubt He will see us through this. I must be patient though I feel like an impatient toddler. Do you ever feel like that?

So, when I found this dresser on Craigslist, I thought it had potential and would help me get my creative juices flowing. It had pretty good wear to the top…

Damaged Dresser Top | Prodigal Pieces |

…damaged front skirt, missing pulls, and some issues with the side planks. Even the mirror was horribly mottled, and visibility was nil for daily use.

Front of Damaged Dresser | Prodigal Pieces |

*product provided by Hickory Hardware. (see full disclosure)


First order of business is to get that top sanded off. I started with our belt sander to get off the chunky protective coating. That made the job easier and revealed a gorgeous maple. Mmm…. However, I didn’t stop there. I decided to use a trick that I often do to create a rustic look. Likewise, I want a sort of rustic sawn effect to this updated dresser. In order to do that, I used my orbital sander to mimic the look. It’s in these times I think and pray.

Using Orbital Sander to Create a Rustic Sawn Effect to Dresser Top | Prodigal Pieces |

There are a couple of ways to do this. First, you can use an old sandpaper disc that will actually make markings in the wood. Or I also offset my sandpaper so that some of the teeth of the pad are sticking out of the holes to scratch the surface. I have found this works the best for the effect I’m after. The idea is you want to swirl the sander in sweeping motions to create a sawn look. (like the saw blade left marks in the wood and time has weathered it)


After the surface is prepped, I chose to use my favorite Early American stain. You can see it in action on these makeovers too. Once the stain has penetrated, I wipe off and let dry. After that, I use a matte poly to get a final topcoat to my updated dresser.

Applying Poly Topcoat to Update Dresser | Prodigal Pieces |

Now that the top is done, it’s time for the cabinet. I need to create a new skirt for the front using a basic board, cut it to length, and then routing the edge. For added appeal, I use a jigsaw to create a simple skirt with feet.

All I had to do was attach it with some wood glue and my nailer and we’re ready to roll. This is where the work pays off and I feel the stress relieving, as well as I pray for the person that will be receiving my work.

Adding Dresser Skirt | Prodigal Pieces |


Oh, and I because I am changing out the pulls, I cut pieces of dowel to plug the old holes and glued them in. Then, once everything is dry, I cut in and keep my lines clean on the drawer faces.

Painting Dresser Drawer Fronts | Prodigal Pieces |

Next, I’m using a basic paint & primer paint in eggshell for the finish in Pebble Gray by Glidden. Only takes two coats and I’m done. Yay!

Though typically I try to save the original pulls, I decided to replace these. Look at these beauties from Hickory Hardware. They’re making me wish I had chosen these for our kitchen remodel. I chose this knob and these pulls in rose gold.

Hickory Hardware Bin Pulls and Knobs | Prodigal Pieces |


Finally, with the hardware added, this part of the project is now done. I must say it looks much better as an updated dresser than in the before. Stick around and I’ll show you the mirror in a bit. You’ll love it!

Vintage Dresser Gets Modern Farmhouse Makeover by Prodigal Pieces |

An outdated dresser gets modern farmhouse makeover by Prodigal Pieces |

Likewise, don’t the pulls look fantastic against that gray? I’m seriously in love.

Gorgeous bin pulls on gray vintage dresser. By Prodigal Pieces |

Modern Farmhouse Vignette on Vintage Dresser Makeover by Prodigal Pieces |

Here is a closeup of the top so you can see my sawn effect. It makes for nice texture and adds dimension.

How to Get a Rustic Sawn Look on Furniture by Prodigal Pieces |

Top View of Updated Dresser by Prodigal Pieces |

I created the wall art in honor of my mother, and my grandparents from the song, “You are my Sunshine”. My grandfather would sing it to my grandmother. My grandparents have passed, but I miss them so. I now sing this same song to my children:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

You are My Sunshine Wall Art by Prodigal Pieces |


As for the mirror, I chose to use it in a different way. I actually love mottled mirrors as they tell a story and give that timeless feel. However, I like to jazz them up a bit too. For this project, I used two coats of Vintage by DecoArt on the frame, a whitewash glaze, and an etched glass kit.

Etched Glass Kit for Mottled Mirror | Prodigal Pieces |

Just peel and stick and away we go!

Old Dresser Mirror Gets Facelift with Etching. DIY details by Prodigal Pieces |

Blue Ball Jar on Rustic Farmhouse Mantel for Summer by Prodigal Pieces |

Now, doesn’t that look lovely? I seriously have an addiction to mirrors and would love to keep this one but have over a dozen already.

Vintage Dresser Mirror Upcyled by Prodigal Pieces |

This updated dresser, the wall art sign (as well as a smaller version), the mirror are now available in my online shop. We do deliver to your door and can ship several furniture items (and anything smaller) for the same price. Just message me for a quote.

  • Magic Linen Beige Waffle Blanket available at Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #bedding
    Magic Linen Waffle Blanket ~ $130


Additionally, to inspire others, do pin and share this updated dresser. You never know when that one project will change someones life.

Outdated becomes 2 new projects with a bit of DIY style. See it here by Prodigal Pieces |

Up next, my oldest son,  Mr I, will be showing you what he chose to do with the doors off of his buffet makeover (truly a makeover to see!). Any guesses? Take a peek HERE.

Cupboard Doors Before Repurposing | Prodigal Pieces |

Guess what?!? You can get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox. Woot! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop.

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Also, more projects like my updated dresser:

Build a Mud Bar Play Station out of Reclaimed Wood by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comHow to Achieve a Factory Finish with a Paint Sprayer by Prodigal Pieces |


  1. ColleenB. ~ Texas says

    I have large dresser and matching bed frame to paint.
    Thank U 4 this giveaway opportunity

      • Robin Carter says

        I would sand and paint my end tables. I like the colors you chose for this dresser project.

  2. Susan says

    I soooo go down to my workshop and create to relieve stress! There is no better stress relief than to fire up the power saw. When the teens are fighting I go downstairs and run a few power tools to drown it out! And btw those brushes look awesome!

    • Larissa says

      I know what you mean. ha! I hope you like my projects for today. 🙂

  3. Sue says

    Larissa, I know just what you mean about heading to a project to blow off steam – and like you say, you talk to God – it is like a quote I love “everyday life has become my prayer”…would love to use the brushes on my baskets that I paint.

  4. Sandra says

    Those drawer pulls are beautiful!!! Love the way to look next to the gray.

  5. Alison S says

    I have a couple of dressers waiting for me to paint them.

  6. Christina Kintyhtt says

    Wonderful job as always! Have a blessed day

  7. Cindy says

    I have almost the exact same dresser (it survived my childhood..
    Lol) and I’ve been mulling over a face lift, this will be perfect! Love your posts Larissa, keep ’em coming! 🙂 ♡

    • Larissa says

      You have a gem there! I hope it has all it’s parts. 😀

  8. Davonne davis says

    Love your dresser makeover. I too love going to the garage and talking to God while I work. all of the issues of life seem to disappear for a little while. Thanks for your inspiration. Have always wanted to try zebra brushes.

  9. Helen Boltin says

    I love these projects. I am glad that you separated the dresser and mirror. I really didn’t think that they went together. Now they are both spectacular! If I win the paint brushes, I will be painting lots of things. I am remodeling my home. Right now, I am working on bathrooms and I have a vanity to paint so it would probably be the first thing.

    • Larissa says

      I couldn’t get how imbalanced they were. The mirror was huge!

  10. Becky says

    I really like the top of the dresser! Nice job! The first thing I’d paint are some of the shelves we’re adding to our house this spring.

  11. Anne says

    Beautiful job on the dresser Larissa! Love the colour and those pulls! Sigh…

  12. Laura says

    Love the etched detail on the mirror.

  13. Laura Werley says

    I love your posts and really learn a lot – especially about repairing furniture with special needs! I totally understand your frustrations on the kitchen update, I have lived through 3 house remodels and there is no stress like coming into a house in chaos, that’s supposed to be your ‘happy place’. And yes, I love to upcycle furniture and all sorts of little things like trays, picture frames and wooden boxes so the garage and paint are my stress relievers.

    • Larissa says

      Yes, indeed. Plus, we are here 24/7 with our homeschool stuff in boxes for over a year and I have forgotten where much of my things are. A silly frustration, but still….

  14. Patti says

    The dresser is beautiful. Putting creativity to work is the best stress reliever, especially when praying while working. I would be so thankful to win the brushes.

  15. Donna Gonzalez says

    I love hard rock maple. The dresser is beautiful!

    • Larissa says

      This piece is solid and was sad to see the busted skirt, but also glad to give it new life. Thanks, Donna!

  16. Rebecca says

    Because I was affectionately called Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm my Dad used to sing, “You are my Sunshine,” to me also, so that song is special. Sweet memories 🙂

  17. Judy Burnside says

    The dresser is beautiful. I love the gray color – that’s the colorI have gone to for a lot of the things in my home. I would use the brushes to paint my built-in “hutch” that has 6 glass doors above, and 6 paneled doors below. Part of my living room – and the color will be….gray!!

    • Larissa says

      Wahoo!! You are too funny, Judy. Sounds like a perfect project!

  18. Cathy says

    Fantastic! I gotta tell you, that mirror sure looks nice on your mantel next to the other items there. The colors are in the same family. Beautiful job as always. I would use these brushes to paint my kitchen cabinets…

    • Larissa says

      Thanks for saying so, Cathy. Tempting to keep it, but I already have a mirror I love on my mantel. I actually have dozens! hahaha…

  19. Jane says

    Love all your rescued works. They are all truly works of art. Keep doing what you do, we love it! Where did the etching kit come from?

    • Larissa says

      Thanks! I got it at JoAnn, but the link in my post offers it much cheaper. (live and learn)

  20. Laurie L says

    Lovely as always! Your makeovers are inspiring!

  21. Jessica says

    I would finish the book shelf I have had sitting around since December.

  22. Michelle G says

    A dresser for my bedroom!!?

  23. Patty Soriano says

    I love vintage mirrors and really like the mottled glass…. kinda gives the reflection the look of a masters’ painting. Cannot guess what the makeover will be with the doors, but I would love to see what they came off of ! I have much painting to do in many projects, but one of the first things is a table that was started and never finished. Good brushes truly make the difference! Thank you for this giveaway, Larissa!

    • Larissa says

      I do too. It creates that time-worn feel. You can see they came off his last project in the link above. What fun!

  24. Carol says

    As always, really nice job on all pieces, Larissa. I love that song, too. Thanks for the great tips and ideas. I would love to try out the brushes. I am a stickler about painting the inside drawers of my pieces and am curious about the square brush works. Thanks for the giveaway!

  25. maureen says

    I really enjoy your FB page and your blog! I would use the Zibra brushes on all my projects. Thanks for the chance to win.

  26. Sue Pagels says

    Thank you so much for the giveaway – your blog is always a favorite and I love what you do with all the furniture pieces! I haven’t had time lately to work on anything, but I hope to get back into the groove again soon!

  27. Renee P says

    I absolutely love that dresser! In fact, I think I am going to do my grandson’s dresser the same way! He has a dresser that is very similar to yours so I know how beautiful it would be when it was done. I do have a question for you Larissa; did you put any sort of finish on after the paint? I always feel that I like it with out finish but I feel I have to put a finish on so it doesn’t chip off. Thanks and again, I just love that dresser!

    • Larissa says

      Wonderful! I typically don’t use a finish if I use a sheen of eggshell or more. If flat, yes, I do a wax or poly coating. However, the top gets several layers for wearability. Hope that helps!

  28. lizliz says

    You are my sunshine always made me cry when I was a child. It seemed so sad. I cried when I heard Puff the Magic Dragon too. I had a lot of feelings. But your creativity always makes me smile. If I won the giveaway, I’d work on my baseboards – the paint on them is peeling off in big chips.

    • Larissa says

      It did for my daughter too, but I always tend to hear it as a happy song. Sounds like a good project!

  29. Kim says

    You always do such a lovely job! I’m thinking that a set of those brushes should be in my future.

  30. Sherry Fram says

    Love the dresser & mirror! Those pulls are gorgeous! I would use the brushes to makeover my coffee table! It’s looking a little sad & needs updating!

    • Larissa says

      Thanks! Those coffee table take so much wear. I love a good update!

  31. Marie|The Interior Frugalista says

    I love that song – used to sing it to my kids and now to my grandson! Beautiful makeover, as always and took notes on how to achieve the rustic sawn effect. As for workshop stress therapy – it’s the best! Hope everything gets sorted soon and admire your positive spirit in spite of it all.

    • Larissa says

      What a treat for you all. 🙂 Thanks for the love, Marie. I needed a hug. 😀

  32. Jane says

    Can’t wait to try more zibra brushes. I bought the Rd and it is incredible! Painting furniture is addicting as part of a nonprofit benefiting our local rescue mission

    • Larissa says

      You are so right. It made my spindle work so much faster! And that’s awesome that you do that kind of work.

  33. Lynn Crider says

    You so inspire me. You’re work is absolutely lovely every time. I am also a furniture flipper and have copied your pieces many times.

    • Larissa says

      Thank you, Lynn. It’s been a long day already with a naysayer on my painting this (even though I had to make repairs…?) Ah well. 😉

  34. Rebecca Drake says

    I would finish my buffet I started for my dining rom.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  35. Mary-the boondocks blog says

    I see lots of painting in my near future! Larissa this dresser turned out great! Love the contrast between the wood and the grey. I’ve actually been crushing on this combination for weeks now. As for the song, I used to sing that same exact song to my kids to help put them to sleep. you brought back so many memories.

  36. Nikki says

    L?be the brass hardware with the grey! I have the exact same paint on my walls! Thanks for the opportunity to win the brushes. I’m currently doing a bedroom makeover for my teenage niece who is essentially home bound while she battles Leukemia. We’re creating a sanctuary for her and the brushes would be awesome to help complete projects! Keep up the beautiful work!

    • Larissa says

      Great minds choose gray alike! 😀 hahahaha… Though I’m so sorry to hear of your niece. I will add her to my prayer list. Hugs to you all!

  37. Melinda says

    You are such a creative soul:) I like the picture of the before,because of what was in the background! All those little scooters lined up! So sweet:) I do like the finished result though! Nice job as always. Love having a little talk with Jesus when I work as well Have a blessed day ,Larissa!

    • Larissa says

      You wouldn’t believe how many comments I get on that scooter holder. Ha! Thanks, Melinda.

  38. Cindy Downing says

    I have a very similar dresser i want to paint. I have a question too. I am having trouble fonding a true matte top coat. Does the one you use have an actual dull/matte finish or a slight sheen?

  39. Laura says

    Love all your work. My favorite blogger. I have a garage full of projects. At the moment I am in the process of finishing a twin bed . Have been curious about these brushes for awhile. Thank you.

  40. Kimberly says

    Working with your hands does bring so much stress relief. Great job! I’ll have to look into the press on etched effect.

  41. Fran says

    Always love your make-overs! Timing is perfect – downsizing and lots to do to get home ready to sell/show.

  42. Karen Baumgardner says

    Very pretty! You certainly don’t choose the “easy” pieces, lol. My dad always told me if you always choose the easy route, you’ll never learn all you can – to this day I think of that so many times. As with others, I am very curious about that square brush and would love to try it. Hoping that April will be a better month for you all around.

    • Larissa says

      Yes, I’m a nut like that. I just can’t paint good wood…most of the time. 😉

  43. Regina says

    Beautiful paint & stain combo!

  44. Kay Walsh says

    I just found a similar dresser and was about to seek out ideas for how to refinish it when your post came up on my FACEBOOK feed. All in God’s timing! You even chose the new hardware I was envisioning. Here’s hoping my project, but in red, with burnish brown drawer pulls and a stained top, turns out as well…my first “Prodigal Project!”

  45. Elaine Butler says

    I would use the brush to paint my bathroom vanity, thank you for the chance to win!

  46. Jenny peickert says

    I am finding that i am loving gray more than ever. It looks fantastic on your dresser & the sign is the icing on the cake. If i won the brush set, i would use them to paint my kitchen cabinets in gray?blessings 2 u, jenny

    • Larissa says

      It is definitely one of my favorite neutrals. Goes with anything!

  47. Melissa Anglin says

    Your projects always amaze me. I have a buffet I would like to redo with those brushes. Thanks for doing a giveaway.

  48. Leisa says

    I have an antique china cabinet that is in desperate need of a make over. It has so many tiny details on it, the brushes would help tremendously. Thanks for a chance to win!

  49. Catherine Cooper says

    Oh Larissa, that dresser is just ACES! You couldn’t have picked more perfect pulls, either.
    I just recently retired and those brushes would be a big boon to my now new/old hobby of restoring wood pieces. Just like you, I pray for the person(s) who will receive my pieces, and I thank whoever released them so I can revive them. I bless all the tools I will use for the current restoration as well.

  50. Sandy says

    I do love how you updated the dresser, and the hardware does look great with the gray paint color. If I win the brushes I want to work on a piece of furniture that I will be on the look out for tomorrow.

  51. Jenn Dynys says

    My kitchen stools. I paint them frequently…I think it’s a problem Ha!

  52. Lisa Cullett says

    What a lovely makeover! My next project I’m planning to work on is my Dad’s old dresser. I just haven’t figured out if I want to paint the body of it or restore it to its original finish. Either way, good quality brushes will make all the difference!

    • Larissa says

      Yes, indeed the do. I wish more would restore, but I tend to paint the damaged ones. 😉

  53. Gail Ebeling says

    This update really changed this old dresser from old to very cute and current in its style. Amazing transformation.

  54. Leighanne F says

    We are in the midst of a major remodel and your posts stir up the DIY Momma in me! Ive never done furniture before but i think im going to dive in and give it a try!

  55. Maria says

    I recently completed a vintage door turned barn door project and on your recommendation I bought my first Zibra brush (the square one with triangle top) to use around all of the panels and around the glass top. It worked fantastic! I would love to add more of their brushes to my arsenal! Thanks for the opportunity….

  56. Charlene says

    What a beauty! I think you could make a silk purse from a sow’s ear!!! I would probably redo my desk from my school days. Then I could have another layer of memories from it!

  57. Pam says

    I love the sawn effect on the top thanks so much for sharing this! It really does make it look like a well used and loved dresser.

  58. Karen Simon Peterson says

    I love your makeover, especially the mirror – sooo pretty! If I won the brushes I’d paint my old bookcases. Thanks for the giveaway.

  59. Sherry says

    Amazing makeover! It doesn’t look like the same piece of furniture. The mirror looks so good with the new etching. Have a great weekend 🙂

    • Larissa says

      I’m so glad you think so, Sherry. Thanks for the love!

  60. Kaycee says

    Larissa, your an amazing, inspiring, and talented woman. I am in awe of your and your families creativity with these projects and “trashure” transformations!!! I pray your kitchen remodel moves forward with less “interruptions”! Thank you for the opportunity to enter the Zibra brush giveaway too!

  61. Karyn says

    Love the makeover! Do you ever use milk paint on any of your pieces? I’d use the brushes to transform our hall table.

  62. Erin B says

    An old dresser that I would like to move into our new home!

  63. Carolyn Akin says

    Hi Larissa, I just love the finished dresser. I have the paint but would like to know the color you choose for the handles. I am flipping a similar dresser and would like to do it like yours. Love it, thank you.

    • Larissa says

      Thanks so much, Carolyn. I have added the links to the post above. Hope that helps! 😀

    • Larissa says

      Hi Carolyn! I just updated the post with the links. Thanks for asking!

  64. Carolyn Akin says

    Thank you Larissa, you are truly an inspiration. I appreciate your sharing with me.

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