Give a Plain Dresser a Bold, Floral Makeover

We all have that cheap flat-pack dresser that we’ve carried with us from our college apartment to our adult home. Update it with paint and a pretty decal to create a whole new piece that’s perfect for a nursery or kid’s bedroom.

From: Samantha Pattillo

By: Samantha Pattillo

Materials Needed

  • laminate dresser
  • Zinsser Cover-Stain Primer
  • latex paint
  • foam rollers (2)
  • foam brushes (2)
  • drop cloth
  • peel-and-stick decal
  • craft knife
  • rubber spatula

Add Color

Start by removing all drawers and hardware from the dresser. Apply Zinsser Cover-Stain Primer (which will allow you to paint over laminate) to the outer frame of the dresser. I like to use a disposable foam roller brush for a smooth coat. (You won’t be able to reuse the brush you use for this step.) Apply generously; you will only need one coat and it dries quickly.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Use standard latex house paint in any color you want. I chose a pale blush color to complement the decal I purchased.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Again, I used a foam roller for a smooth finish with no brush marks, and a foam brush to get into the corners of the dresser. I ended up doing two coats to make sure I had full coverage.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Apply the Decal

Once the paint has dried, place all the drawers back into the dresser. Don’t attach the drawers to the slides, as you will pull them back out again in a moment.

Now for the decal. I ordered mine from Anewall, which sells a variety of peel-and-stick wallpaper and decals. You can order custom sizes that are really affordable. I sent them the measurements of my dresser and added a few inches to each side (so I would have some room for error when applying).

Peel off the backing from the paper and press onto the drawer fronts. It doesn’t have to be perfect since the paper is repositionable. Peel as you go; I peeled about a foot off the top to start, pressed it onto my drawers, then peeled and pressed as I went down. If you completely pull the backing off immediately, it’s hard to keep the paper from sticking to itself and everything else.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Now you have a full sheet attached to your drawers. Take a sharp craft knife and slice through the gaps between the drawers. It doesn’t need to be clean, just enough to separate the drawers from each other.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Pull out each drawer. You can peel back the decal to reposition and remove any bubbles that occurred during the first application. I pulled back each side and used a rubber kitchen spatula to press the paper down as I went, squeezing out any bubbles.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Once you have the paper how you want it, use the craft knife to cut away the excess paper. I found it was easiest to lay the drawer on its face and use the edge of the drawer to drag the knife against to cut. Make sure you put something underneath the drawer to cut on to protect your floors.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Put It All Back Together

Once you’ve applied the decal to all the drawers, reattach your hardware. I just poked my knife through the paper so my screws could push through. I lucked out that my hardware was already black and worked with my paper color. You could always paint or change out your hardware to work with your new motif.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Reattach all your drawers and voilà, you’re done! Now you have a beautiful, floral dresser perfect for a nursery and it barely cost a thing. Don’t be afraid to tackle old furniture that’s made of laminate – with the right tools, you can transform it into something totally new.

Before

After

From: Samantha Pattillo

From: Samantha Pattillo

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