How to Turn an Old Dresser Into a Farmhouse Buffet

A farmhouse buffet made out of an old dresser.

When we took a trip to the Bragg Boulevard Flea Market in Fayetteville, we expected to mark an item off of our Fort Bragg Bucket List. What we didn’t expect was to bring home an exciting new project.

When I saw this old dresser among the dusty flea market furniture, I KNEW I had to have it. I didn’t care that it was missing it’s mirror and most of it’s knobs or that it was scuffed along the bottom, water damaged on the back, or grimy and sticky to the touch. Thanks to my Pinterest addiction, I saw endless possibilities.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this diamond in the rough. I was going to turn this beat-up old dresser into a farmhouse style buffet that would double as a charging station.

We turned this old dresser into a farmhouse buffet.

Thankfully, my husband is pretty handy and willing to help me with all of the projects that I drag home. (No matter how ugly and nasty they initially seem.)

This is how we turned an ugly old dresser into a buffet to brag about!



  • screwdriver
  • hack saw
  • orbital sander


  • 60-grit sandpaper for sander
  • sanding sponge
  • paint brushes
  • primer (Zinsser Bull’s Eye 123)
  • paint (Sherwin Williams Showcase Stain-Blocking Paint & Primer)
  • stain (Minwax Gel Stain)
  • 1/4″ plywood
  • handles and knob

Step 1: Remove Damaged Parts & Drawers

First, we had to remove the wooden backing of the dresser, since it was badly damaged and falling apart. Held on by a couple of small screws, it was easy to remove and throw in the trash.

Next, we took out the four bottom drawers, revealing more damaged particle board underneath. After removing that, we cut out the wooden supports between the drawers with a hack saw.

The first step in this dresser refurbish was to remove the drawers and damaged pieces.

Step 2: Start Sanding

Then came the REAL work of any furniture refurbishment…..the dreaded sanding! Sanding is my least favorite part of the whole process. It’s messy and tedious, but it has to be done.

We removed the door and the remaining drawers to make them more easily accessible. Then went to town with an orbital sander and 60 grit paper to smooth our surface for painting. We used a sanding sponge to really get in the corners and for all of those little beads.

After sanding till our hands hurt, we took a damp rag and wiped the whole thing down.

Step 3: Prime

Finally, we were able to start painting!

There are many paints and techniques that say that you don’t have to prime or sand anything before you start painting. However, I believe that anything worth doing is worth doing right, so I don’t skip these steps.

I plan on keeping this thing for a long time. So, it’s definitely going to need paint that is going to hold up to rambunctious kids and Army movers.

The primer we used was Zinsser Bull’s Eye 123 Primer.

The girls were so excited to help mommy paint!

Step 4: Paint

After 2 coats of primer, we let it dry overnight. The next day, we started painting.

We opted to use Sherwin Williams Showcase Stain-Blocking Paint & Primer in Origami White (semi-gloss).

This paint and primer combination has held up really well on my desk for over a year, so I have high hopes that this buffet will hold up well too.

After the paint dried, we nailed a thin sheet of plywood to the back and replaced the drawers and door. It was finally starting to look like the farmhouse buffet that I had envisioned.

Step 5: Stain

One of the last steps to this process, was to add stain to the top of the dresser.

We tried something new with this project and used a gel stain for the first time. This Coffee-colored Minwax Gel Stain was easier to use than I expected. The pros of using the gel stain was that it only took one coat and that it didn’t have hardly any odor.

The downside, however, was that you have to wipe off the excess stain with an old rag, which was a little messy.

The farmhouse buffet after painting.

Step 6: Add Handles & Knobs

After staining, we added handles and a knob that we found at Hobby Lobby (40% off!).

Step 7: Cut Holes in Back

Since we want to use our buffet as a charging station for our tablets, my husband cut holes in the plywood on the back of the buffet. The holes are placed behind the top drawers to allow a short extension cord to run from the wall outlet to a power strip inside the drawer.

Now, we can charge all of our tablets at the same time, in the same place. No more lost cords or fear of stepping on an expensive iPad because the kids are charging it in the floor of their bedroom.

Step 8: Decorate

Finally, we were done and I was able to start decorating our new farmhouse buffet!

Using pictures of the kids, a flower arrangement I made myself, a table runner, and baskets I found at Wal-Mart, I didn’t spend too much money decorating the new buffet. (I was excited to find picture frames at Marshalls that matched the buffet so perfectly. They even have round beads around the edges, just like the buffet does.)

The final product when we made an old dresser into a farmhouse buffet.

We are slightly obsessed with our new (to us) farmhouse buffet. It’s both functional and beautiful!

From an old dresser to a farmhouse buffet! See the tutorial at Finding Mandee
How to turn an old dresser into a farmhouse buffet | Finding Mandee


  1. June 12, 2021 / 1:51 pm

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post. Many thanks for providing these details.

    • findingmandee
      June 12, 2021 / 6:47 pm

      Thank you! It’s one of my favorite pieces of furniture!

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