Dresser Refinishing – Guest Post!

Happy hump day everyone!

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that my friend Jenn was going to be writing some guest posts?  Here is her first one on a second-hand dresser she refinished for her baby-to-be’s nursery.  I love how some paint and new hardware totally jazzes this piece up.  Please take the time to read through her post and show her some love!

Thanks, Jenn for sharing your project with everyone and for also sharing a bit about your journey to becoming a mom.


Hi everyone and thanks for dropping in to read my guest post on refinishing a dresser for my baby nursery. In my first trimester I began preparing a nursery for baby.

Many people struggle at the beginning of pregnancy with when the right time is to launch your excitement and creative ideas into actions (such as painting a nursery, buying a stroller etc.). I actually started the baby nursery on my last pregnancy earlier this year, which turned out to be ectopic (a tubal pregnancy). I have to say that the nursery did not upset me when I lost the baby; in fact, it shone a whole new perspective on the process of pregnancy. Rather than placing the value solely on pregnancies that result in babies, I began to value the process of choosing parenthood; the good and the bad; the pregnancies that produce beautiful babies and those that produce beautiful baby angels. The choice to become a parent is one that an unviable pregnancy doesn’t take from you. And thus it began, the process of becoming a parent, not just the process of becoming pregnant. And so my nursery decorating journey continues.

Now on to the dresser…

My nursery will be mainly white as my husband and I prefer a fairly simplistic and minimalistic design style. We quickly agreed upon fresh white pieces with calming grey on the walls and some colorful accents that will be determined by gender. We live in a cozy two-bedroom bungalow built in the 1940’s so closet space comes as a premium. The nursery has a large double closet that has always been used by yours truly, so when we decided to start a family, I knew I’d have to give it up…just kidding! I knew I’d have to buy a dresser for the baby! (But I will have to give it up eventually, once the baby becomes a child who wants mommy to stop coming in and out of their bedroom).

Mike (husband) and I have a tradition of garage sailing in the summer and on one of our weekly sails (where he was in search of antiques, and I in search of anything baby), I came across a beautiful dresser in a driveway (in addition to garage sales, we like to hunt for furniture in relative’s houses and at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store). It had nice clean lines and looked solid.


$20 garage sale find

I turned around to find Mike hiding behind the bushes motioning me away from the driveway (I don’t know why, but he seems to think I have a ‘see it all, spend it all’ attitude with garage sales). Anyways, I promptly dragged him towards the driveway and as soon as he saw the dresser, he was sold. The seller was asking $25 and we paid $20 on the spot. Once we got it home we saw a beautiful “Made in Canada” marking on the back. The wonders you can find at a garage sale!

Now on to refinishing our newfound dresser. The most important step in refinishing furniture (if you want it to last) is using a product called Zinsser. Zinsser is a particularly unique high performance primer/sealer that allows paint to stick to just about anything (kitchen cabinets, furniture and even gloss faux-tile in old bathrooms and melamine in old kitchens). It can be found at your local Home Depot (or any other home supply store, although Home Depot has the best paint department) and comes in gallon cans for roughly $30-40. With certain projects such as kitchen cabinets, applying the Zinsser right off the bat is perfectly fine, but when given the opportunity, a light sand also goes a long way. Mike sanded down the dresser with a sanding sponge (nothing electric or heavy duty; just 20 minutes of good old manual labor).

Next comes the Zinsser. Applying Zinsser must be done outside as it is a strong chemical (and must be done with a good vapor mask if pregnant). Typically only one coat of Zinsser is required (but follow the instructions on the can) and then let it cure for about an hour before painting.

As for painting…I LOVE spray paint! Although I am quite picky about the brand. For little crafty projects, cheaper sprays would be fine, but when doing a piece of furniture, it’s best to invest the $10 and buy Home Depot’s Universal which comes in a wide range of colors in both matte and high gloss finish. We went with Pure White – High Gloss. It took three coats of paint to beautify this dresser (be sure to dust spray paint very lightly and a good 6 inches from the piece you’re spraying and always make sure you let it cure between coats). All in all, I waited about an hour between each coat (my wait times, along with my patience decrease with each coat, but again, read the instructions on the can). I let the dresser stand outside overnight (no rain in the forecast) to properly cure (24 hours) and air out and voila…a beautiful white dresser for the nursery.


Updated garage sale dresser

In total, we spent:

$20 – dresser
$0 – sand paper (we have lots of them, but $1-3 if you’re in need of some)
$0 – Zinsser (buy it once, store it properly and you’ll have it for a long time…otherwise would have been $30)
$ 20 – spray paint (2 cans x $10/each)

And the reward of refinishing my own furniture… priceless.

14 thoughts on “Dresser Refinishing – Guest Post!

  1. Great 1st post. I’m with you I love garage/ yard sales. This is a new phenomenon for me. Typically I avoided them. But I’m sensitive to my budget when it comes to Upshabby projects! Nicely done.

  2. Jenn I loved what you wrote. As always I love to read your writing. Loved the baby angel part. Mine is with me all the time. I love the dresser and like to see things repurposed or redone. I can’t wait to read your next guest post. xoxo

    • Thanks Su! I’m very excited for this new writing outlet and am enjoying my foyer into the world of blogging. 🙂 Next post coming soon…

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  4. I understand it sounds cheap, but I recently found a beautiful classic outdoor lantern on a hard
    rubbish collection on the weekend! At this time I am trying to find wrought iron outdoor chairs to match.
    You know what they say, one mans trash can be another mans treasure!

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