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Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

Sometimes you find a piece of furniture you just know needs a make~over with paint. Or maybe you have had a piece for years and just aren’t sure what to do with it ~ leave it as is or give it new life with paint. That has been the case with a dresser that I have had for years. Finally, I decided that this vintage dresser needed a modern touch and a dress up with chalk paint.

I’m sure you’ve seen similar dressers from the 1930’s and 40’s. They have a mirrored back, a ledge on top and drawers and cabinet.

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

O.K. I know that this photo is blurry. One of those situations where I didn’t check the photo for clarity before I started painting. Lesson learned, but you can see the finish and how the drawer pulls don’t align.

I bought this dresser (or chest) in Jefferson, Texas a million years ago. It was in excellent condition. I have no idea what we paid for it. This piece has been in many rooms in different homes: for years, it served as a hutch in the breakfast room, holding extra dishes and placemats and napkins.  Then it served as storage for games and cards in the kids’ game room. After all the kids were grown, I moved it to our younger son’s room to hold extra winter clothes. When we moved to our current home, I placed it in the grandkids’ guest room as a place for them to put their clothes when they come to visit. (I’ll show you the entire room at a later time ~ it’s so cute.)

What finally convince me to paint this piece?

  1. I was just tired of the brown~stained finish ~ which is no surprise, since brown stain is my least favorite furniture finish ~ unless it’s a beautiful antique. We do have several true antiques that Sweet Shark says I cannot paint. And he’s right because painting them would devalue them and destroy the integrity of the piece.
  2. I wanted to add  a sense of fun and more color to the room.
  3. I was ready for another project.
  4. I saw a almost identical piece that Suzanne at The Painted Drawer did and that pushed me over the edge.  Suzanne’s piece, which she calls an Empire chest, has rolled top drawers, whereas mine are flat. Thanks Suzanne for the inspiration!
  5. Jennifer was here to help me. (Remember, we made her DIY Metal and Wood Sign?)

The Color Selection

So once I decided that I was going to paint the dresser, what color? That was easy.

While our home was being remodeled, I was also focusing on the decorating: fabrics, furniture and accessories. One of the first fabrics that I found was this one. I thought it would be perfect for the grandkids’ guest room ~ neither boyish nor girlish, colorful, a fun and funky somewhat paisley pattern and lots of bright colors to work with. So this is my inspiration fabric for the room.

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

Here’s a funny story: I was visiting Jennifer in Atlanta and I brought some of my fabric swatches with me. We made a trip to Lewis and Sheron and there was my fabric ~ at half the price of my fabric store in Dallas. Not knowing how much fabric I would need, I bought 10 yards and carried it home on the plane. Well, I only needed 6 yards. If anyone loves this fabric as much as I do and wants 4 yards, let me know. I’ll make you a great deal!!

Even before we moved in our home, I was painting a few pieces. This stool belonged to my mother. It sat in front of her make~up vanity and I can remember her sitting at it, putting on her make~up before she and my dad went out for dinner. Great memory. It is a French Provincial style and was white with gold trim.  I was just starting my love affair with chalk paint so this was one of my first pieces to paint. I thought Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Provence would look perfect with my inspiration fabric. I painted it first and then had it reupholstered in this fun pattern that paired beautifully with the paisley fabric. It sits in a corner with a big stuffed dog resting on it.


Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

The Process

As with any stained piece, I cleaned it first with mineral spirits and gave it a light sanding just to remove some of the varnish.  Then I sealed it to prevent any bleed~though.

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

The dresser has 3 drawers: 2 small ones and 1 large one below. One thing always bothered me was that the pulls on the large drawer didn’t line up with the small drawers. Now was the time to fix that. I filled in the old holes with wood filler and drilled holes in the correct spot.

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

Because the dresser was upstairs, I brought the drawers downstairs to paint and painted the dresser frame in place upstairs. I decided that for now I was not going to paint the insides, but find shelf liner to compliment the Provence.

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

Fortunately, the Provence covered the stain and there was no bleed~through at all. I used 1 coat full strength and then, using a wet brush and spray bottle to dilute the paint, applied a second coat. Using a wide, flat synthetic brush, I applied the paint with long, smooth strokes.

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

Sealing the Dresser

Since I wanted a more modern, sleek look for the dresser, there would be no layering of another color or distressing. If you have used chalk paint, you know that is sealed with wax. I wanted a shiny finish so I purchased a semi-gloss water~based sealer but I was a little dismayed to read that I needed to apply 3 coats, allow each coat to dry for 3 ~ 6 hours and sand lightly between coats. I applied it first to the drawers and it looked fine. However, when I sanded with a 400 grit paper as recommended, some of the paint came off. So I repainted the drawer fronts, resealed them, but didn’t sand them. What would have taken me less than 30 minutes to apply the wax became an all day ordeal.

While waiting for the sealer to dry on the drawers, I applied the sealer to the dresser base. Coming back later to check, the sealer seemed to have a yellow cast on the dresser. The flat top looked O.K., but all the sides and doors had little dribbles on them (Believe me, I scraped off as much sealer as possible from the brush.). I had to sand them and that took some of the paint away. Really!!! I ended up painting over the entire dresser with another coat of Provence.

I decided just to go with a wax finish and the dresser base.  Within 24 hours, I had the dresser waxed and buffed. I couldn’t tell any difference between the waxed base and the sealed drawers. I use a buffing brush, which produces a shine. (A lot of elbow grease helps, too.) So for me, for now, wax is the way to go.

The Finishing Touches

The next step was to find the right drawer pulls and liner for the drawers and cabinet.  I found the perfect pulls at Hobby Lobby ~ a cute, fun pattern that reflected the colors in the fabric. I used a small cap on the back to cover the rough screw edges.

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

Then, yippee, I found this wrapping paper that I bought months ago on sale at Home Goods in an upstairs closet where I keep wrapping and ribbon. (Have I told you before that I have stuff all over the house, wherever I can find a space?) I couldn’t have asked for a better pairing. I just measured and cut the wrapping paper to fit.

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

The Big Reveal

The final step was to put the dresser drawers back in and place the dresser in place. The dresser looks so much better with the drawer pulls aligned.

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

Then I replaced the lamps that I had found on sale at Target and made fabric~covered shades for. The books were Sweet Shark’s as a kid and I collected the black and white farm animals years ago. The rattle on the books was also Sweet Shark’s.

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

I love how the dresser turned out. Since it’s in the center of the wall when you enter the room, it provides a wonderful focal point.  And the drawer pulls in the large drawer align with the pulls in the smaller drawers. I can’t believe I waited 35 years to fix that.

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint

Do you like my re~do using Annie Sloan Provence? Do you think I did the right thing in painting the dresser? I’ll give you a tour of the grandkids’ guest room soon.

Alfresco Tablescape Blog Hop

Before I let you go, I want to tell you about an exciting event which starts ONE WEEK from today. Hosted by Chloe at celebrateanddecorate, this blog hop features 30 bloggers sharing ideas for creating beautiful tablespaces. Be sure to mark your calendars. I’ll be posting my Romantic Alfresco Tablescape on Friday, August 5th.

The countdown begins.

Vintage Dresser Re~Do with Provence Chalk Paint


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  1. I love this Carol!! We have that fabric in one of our rooms too and I love how so many colors work with it. The knobs and the blue dresser are perfect!

    1. Stacey, I can’t believe you have that same fabric! Well, I don know that we have so much in common. I’m loving it the more I see it.

  2. What an amazing makeover!! Love the knobs and paper, too! You did a fabulous job!

    1. Thank you Kathy, I couldn’t have dreamed those knobs if I tried. I needed 6 and that’s exactly how many there were. Lucky me. Thanks for dropping by Bluesky Kitchen. I hope you’ll come back soon.

  3. Looks so cute!! I was wondering how it all turned out. So glad you tackled that big piece (so glad I got to help, too)!

  4. Carol,
    The knobs and wrapping-paper-turned-drawer-liner say this piece was meant to be! It is nice to know there are others who have craft/sewing/project supplies stored in every nook and cranny. Yours came together brilliantly in this make over.


    1. Judith, thank you for visiting and commenting. I keep hinting (more strongly!) that I really need a designated office. Ask and ye shall receive!

  5. This came out adorable. I love the knobs you picked for it. All the colors are so playful and fun. I have bee thinking about re-doing my scrapbooking buffet since it is now 9 years old and it is missing knobs and showing wear. I will have to investigate chalk paint. I have seen people use it before and I really love the look of your project. Thank you for sharing this it has really inspired me

  6. Chalkboard Dresser. Did you know that 3 coats of Annie Sloan s decorative paint, Chalk Paint, will give you a chalkboard in any one of her fabulous colors! Chalkboard Dresser. Did you know that 3 coats of Annie Sloan s decorative paint, Chalk Paint, will give you a chalkboard in any one of her fabulous colors!

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