5 Darling Ways to Dress Up Old Dresser Drawers

Transform old dresser drawers into designer accents with these smart ideas.
By: Briana Mowrey

Sometimes nothing but (nearly) instant gratification will do when it comes to craft projects. So, here are some super easy things you can do with old dresser drawers. Guys, you don’t even need the whole dresser. Less muss and fuss, but with all the crafting rewards! Don’t say I never did anything for ya.

Old Dresser Drawers = New Bathroom Storage

Contain Bathroom Clutter With Vintage Wooden Drawers

Contain Bathroom Clutter With Vintage Wooden Drawers

It's easy to spot vintage wooden drawers everywhere these days — antique shops, vintage Web shops, flea markets, you name it. Little wooden drawers make a great storage solution in the bathroom to organize and display your collection of perfume bottles or must-have toiletries. The drawers, originally part of a hardware store cabinet and a sewing desk, now contain the bottles to keep your bathroom counter clean and clutter free. Design by Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

Photo courtesy of Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

This bathroom storage idea from Jen Jafarzadeh L’Italien could not be easier. Here’s what you do: Find an old dresser, yank out some of the drawers and use them to corral your toiletries. Everything is tidy, but still accessible. Genius, I tell you.

Clever Uses for Everyday Items in the Bathroom

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Multipurpose Muffin Pan

Vintage baking pans come with a pretty patina that makes them a favorite find at flea markets, though a pan dating back to the Mad Men era may be better suited for display rather than Sunday's blueberry muffins. Here's a new use for that old pan. Repurpose a muffin pan in the bathroom as a handy tray for toiletries that you can bring by the tub for at-home pedicures, or place a few tea light candles inside to set a serene mood for a bath. Design by Kimberly Ludy

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Kimberly Ludy

Rolled on a Rack

Think outside the bottle with this accordion-style rack that's typically used to store wine or bottles of Pellegrino. A wine rack in the bathroom is a clever way to keep a few towels right at hand. It's a perfect solution for a guest bathroom, so friends don't need to hunt down a clean hand towel. Simply roll up towels and place bath towels on top and smaller hand towels and washcloths in the spaces below. Design by Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien. Photography by Charlotte Jenks Lewis

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Charlotte Jenks Lewis

Wine Crate Shelf

Once you finish off that crate of wine, reuse it as stylish shelving in the bathroom (or ask your local wine shop for an old wine crate to use). The wood crate will add a rustic style to your loo — and create an open shelving solution for bath salts, big bottles of shampoo or even a pretty vase of fresh market flowers.

Mounting Tips: On the bottom of the crate, drill two holes in the middle of each side. Use a level to make sure it's sitting straight and mark where the holes are on the wall. Drill in the anchors using the markers as a guide. Add screws to mount the crate into the wall. Design by Kate Antoske

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Kate Antoske

Drawers of Lotions and Potions

It's easy to spot vintage wooden drawers everywhere these days — antique shops, vintage Web shops, flea markets, you name it. Little wooden drawers make a great storage solution in the bathroom to organize and display your collection of perfume bottles or must-have toiletries. The drawers, originally part of a hardware store cabinet and sewing desk, now contain the bottles to keep your bathroom counter clean and clutter free. Design by Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

Test Tube Grooming Rack

An old chemistry rack of test tubes makes the perfect storage spot for grooming supplies in the bathroom. True, you probably don't have a vintage test tube rack lying around the house, but chemistry racks are easy enough to find browsing the vintage selections on Etsy. Your brush, concealer, lipsticks and makeup brushes fit neatly inside the test tube holes. Place eye and lip pencils in a test tube. You'll feel like you're shopping in a fancy boutique rather than grabbing your old $2 lip balm with this pulled-together look. Design by Melissa Hruska

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Melissa Hruska

From the Office to Your Hair

Raid your desk for an everyday office supply that will make it easy to have hairpins on hand for your next updo. A paper clip holder makes a clever magnetic container for storing bobby pins. Add fabric to the outside of the paper clip holder using Mod Podge. Then, simply wrap the fabric around the container like you would wrap a present (but skip the top). Fold the fabric on the bottom like the end of a present, and add Mod Podge under the fabric to keep it in place. Design by Kitty Vogt

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Kitty Vogt

The Makeup Julep Cup

Any cup-shaped vessel can hold your stash of makeup brushes. But not every cup will be the right height so you can see what's inside or sturdy enough to handle a blush brush without toppling over. A silver plated julep cup is just right. Try a julep cup in the bathroom as a shiny storage solution for the top of your vanity. Design by Laura Fenton

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Laura Fenton

Hung Up on Jars

Mason jars are a pretty and practical solution for organizing cotton balls and Q-tips, but glass in the bathroom is a risky matter and counter space is always at a premium. Here's a solution for getting everything up on the wall in style. All you need is a piece of wood, paint, pipe clamps, wide-mouth Mason jars, screws and picture hangers. Paint your wood board the color you want. Once it's dry, screw the pipe clamps onto the wood (be sure to measure out how many Mason jars you'll be adding and space them out on the board). Add picture hangers to the back of the board to hang it on the wall. Then, slide the Mason jars into the pipe clamps. Be sure the pipe clamps are tight enough to catch the lip of the jar. Now you have all your essentials within reach, and they look good, too. Design by Liz Marie Galvan

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Liz Marie Galvan

Old Dresser Drawers = New Stationery Solution

Small Drawers Repurposed as Desk Organizers

Small Drawers Repurposed as Desk Organizers

Not convinced your dresser is worth salvaging? Give the drawers a chance, at least. Use them to house craft supplies, your rubber-band collection or other free-floating desk clutter.

Here’s a similar idea. Instead of organizing your lotions and potions, swap in some stationery and stamps. Your correspondence will be top of mind and you may even get those thank you notes out in record time. Hey, it could happen!

Hate Your Dresser? 21 Ways to Make It Amazing

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In an Hour: Add House Number Drawer Pulls

Give your dresser a dose of street style by replacing run-of-the-mill drawer pulls with sleek, modern house numbers.

In an Hour: Add: Building-Block Drawer Pulls

Sick of stepping on the tiny knives that are building blocks? Immobilize a few as playful, bold drawer pulls.

In an Hour: Customize Drawers With Decals

HGTV Magazine has a perfect dresser dress-up for dorm dwellers or indecisive decorators: easy-stick contact paper. Cut out a pattern with a paper punch, or find a chic pattern to cover the whole drawer front. When you're ready for a change, these designs peel off without leaving gunky residue.

Photo By: Philip Friedman

In an Hour: Use the Drawers

Not convinced your dresser is worth salvaging? Give the drawers a chance, at least. Use them to house craft supplies, your rubber-band collection or free-floating clutter.

In an Hour: Turn Drawers Into Shelves

Create art that doubles as storage and storage that doubles as art. Find a mini dresser and a few old black-and-white snapshots. Mount the drawers on the wall and tack a picture in each one using photo corners. Use the drawers as shelves, or hang earrings from looped pieces of wire.

In an Hour: Gain Instant Bathroom Storage

Here, mismatched vintage dresser drawers store the scourge of bathroom counters everywhere: makeup and hair products.

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

In an Hour: Turn Rubber Toys Into Drawer Pulls

Kids' room clutter is no match for T-Rex. Make cleaning up (a little) more fun for little hands with these toys-turned-drawer pulls. Have a little more time? Paint the dresser reptilian green to match.

In an Hour: Add Drawer Liners

Once you've decked out the dresser's exterior, don't forget inside those drawers. Line them with complementary shelf paper, wallpaper or contact paper.

In a Day: Add Paint + Vintage Pulls

This dresser has some serious personality, no? Design on a Dime host Casey Noble made it one-of-a-kind by painting one drawer front bright yellow and adding vintage pulls.

In a Day: Wrap It Up

Wrapping paper isn't just for gifts. Here, HGTV Magazine used a floral roll to transform this basic furniture piece. A stenciled monogram sends it into the uber-preppy zone.

Photo By: J. Aaron Greene

In a Day: Paint On Cheerful Stripes

Follow these steps from HGTV Magazine to update your plain dresser with cheerful stripes. Use up leftover paint from previous DIYs, or buy affordable sample-sized containers.

Photo By: J. Aaron Greene

In a Day: Give Your Dresser Retro Swagger

Use a patterned decal sheet and vintage-inspired knobs to create a retro-cool dresser like HGTV Magazine did here.

Photo By: J. Aaron Greene

In a Day: Wallpaper Your Dresser

Stylish wallpapers are making a huge comeback. Not ready for all that paste? Install a wallpaper you covet atop a basic modern dresser for a not-so-permanent dose of pattern.

In a Day: Outline Your Dresser

Any dresser looks modern with a silhouette of bright white. Here, HGTV Magazine editors stained the drawers and added white hardware to pull the look together.

Photo By: Lara Robby/Studio D

In a Day: Add a Chevron Pattern

There's a reason chevron mania is here to stay: This pattern packs a serious visual impact. See for yourself by creating your own pattern on a basic flat-front dresser.

In a Day: Make a Chest of Dirt

Dressers truly past their prime can find new life in the garden. Stagger the drawers and fill with herbs, greens or small flowers. The top is a great place to elevate potted plants.

Photo By: DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

In a Day: Turn a Dresser Into a Chalkboard

A coat of chalk paint turns an eyesore into an artist's canvas. Or, for the super-organizers among us, another way to label every single drawer. Use chalk pens to avoid smudging and dust.

In a Day: Turn a Dresser Into Open Storage

When revamping used furniture, imagination is key. A dresser with missing drawers might seem like trash, but if it still has shelves, it can be a treasure. Give it a fresh coat of paint and you've got a whimsical bureau for your boudoir.

In a Day: Turn a Tall Dresser Into a Changing Table

A tall, basic dresser becomes a bohemian changing table with the addition of mismatched knobs and a cheery aqua hue.

In a Weekend: Turn a Dresser Into a Vanity

That dresser stashed in the garage can have a new life as a retrofitted bathroom vanity. Here's how to create your own.

In a Weekend: Turn a Dresser Into Open Storage

Put a fresh new spin on an old wooden dresser with open shelving, unexpected hardware and a playful use of color.

Old Dresser Drawers = New Shelves

Wall Storage From Mounted Miniature Dresser Drawers

Wall Storage From Mounted Miniature Dresser Drawers

Create art that doubles as storage and storage that doubles as art. Take the drawers out of a miniature dresser and mount them on the wall to create a unique shelving solution for any room in the house. Designer sisters Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil suggest adding a favorite picture in each drawer for embellishment and even attaching looped pieces of wire to hang jewelry. They're thrifty and space-saving! Photo courtesy of Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil

Dresser drawers can easily be repurposed as shelves and arranged in all sorts of interesting configurations on your walls. If you really want to get creative, adorn the backs with decorative paper or photos and add trinkets for a shadowbox-like effect.

Decorate Your Bathroom With Thrift Store Finds

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Drawer Buster

Create art that doubles as storage and storage that doubles as art. Find a mini dresser and a few old black-and-white snapshots. Mount the drawers on the wall and tack a picture in each one using photo corners. Use the drawers as shelves, or hang earrings from looped pieces of wire.

Jam Packed

Coordinated bath canisters are expensive and don’t bring much to the party. So go for classic Ball jars instead. They're cheap, shabby-chic and available just about anywhere you shop second-hand. Label them with mismatched house numbers and give the cotton balls their own address!

Grand Stand

A footed dish elevates the mundane and frees up counter space to boot. Fashion a pedestal for your powder room out of a china plate and a short crystal candlestick. To give your soap a lift, flip a fancy teacup upside down and top it with the matching saucer.

Smart Cookie

People just can't throw away cookie tins. They feel solid, can still store plenty of goodies, and are just so pretty. Save those printed packages from the landfill and put them to work in your loo. Line them up on an etagere for a delightful display. Who would guess this stylish macaroon tin hides a roll of paper inside?

Changed Purse

Once a container, always a container! And an unexpected container, such as a cigar box purse, makes a clever caddy. It's nice and sturdy, plus it's just the right size for small sundries like lipsticks, nail polishes, and compacts. Regular cigar boxes work, too: they stack nicely and cost about a buck apiece.

Rack 'n Roll

Some thrift store finds don't need a new mission, just a new room. Wine racks hold rolled-up hand towels as well as they hold bottles. Shoe racks are really just shelves, perfect for folded towels. And an old-fashioned hat rack is designed for hanging things, whether they are top hats and cloaks or bath sheets and robes.

Merci Bouquet

There's nothing like a lovely vintage vase to turn ordinary items into extraordinary displays. For the bathroom counter, choose a little vase with big personality. Use it to arrange a whimsical bouquet of makeup brushes. Or fill it with toothbrushes for a toothbrush holder worth smiling about.

Straw Market

A tisket, a tasket, thrift stores have a million baskets. Pick up an unhandled one to hold your blow dryer under the sink. Get pint-sized baskets to tuck into a drawer for toiletries. (Sharing the washroom? Find one for each family member.) Dress up a flower-picking basket with a floral scarf to collect magazines while adding a dash of color.

Old Dresser Drawers = New Dog Beds

CI-Susan-Teare_Dog-Bed-Made-From-Drawer_s4x3

CI-Susan-Teare_Dog-Bed-Made-From-Drawer_s4x3

Photo by: Susan Teare ©Susan Teare

Susan Teare, Susan Teare

Even your dogs can appreciate old dresser drawers. (Unless you’ve got a Great Dane. Sorry, Marmaduke! These pet beds are probably best for small and medium dogs.) 

Old Dresser Drawers = New Planters

Photo by: Image Courtesy of Kelley Coy/HGTVGardens.com

Image Courtesy of Kelley Coy/HGTVGardens.com

These beauties I spotted on HGTVGardens are just more proof that if you use your imagination and add proper drainage holes, you can turn practically anything into a planter. You can add legs to the drawers for some height or keep them right in the dresser or desk, if you’d like. 

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