How to Refurbish a Boring Dresser

Flipping a dresser for profit.

[Disclaimer: Finding Mandee is reader-supported, if you purchase through links on my site I may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.]

Earlier this year, I decided to try my hand at flipping furniture for profit. I started with a vintage record player cabinet and was able to make a little bit of money.

I waited until it sold before I even started looking for another piece to flip. (As a military family with a PCS later this year, I can’t afford to be stuck with a house full of extra furniture.) But it took me WEEKS to find an affordable piece.

Eventually, I found this boring gray dresser on Facebook Marketplace for $25. (I had already refurbished one grungy dresser and turned one dresser into a buffet, so I knew it could be done.)

Here’s how we flipped it and how much money we made:

Before picture of gray dresser before it is refurbished.
(The before picture from Facebook, because I never remember to take pictures.)

Dresser Supplies

Citristrip QCG73801T Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel, 1-QuartCitristrip QCG73801T Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel, 1-QuartCitristrip QCG73801T Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel, 1-Quart6 Pack Putty Knife, Flexible Plastic Paint Scraper Tool for Spackling,Plastic Putty Knife, Putty Knife Set, Plastic Spreader, Spackle Tool, Plastic Putty Knife Scraper, Scraper Tool, Putty Scraper6 Pack Putty Knife, Flexible Plastic Paint Scraper Tool for Spackling,Plastic Putty Knife, Putty Knife Set, Plastic Spreader, Spackle Tool, Plastic Putty Knife Scraper, Scraper Tool, Putty Scraper6 Pack Putty Knife, Flexible Plastic Paint Scraper Tool for Spackling,Plastic Putty Knife, Putty Knife Set, Plastic Spreader, Spackle Tool, Plastic Putty Knife Scraper, Scraper Tool, Putty Scraper

 

Step 1: Strip Drawer Faces

The first thing I did when refurbishing this dresser was strip the paint off of the faces of the drawers.

I knew I wanted to use the green paint we had left over from our dining room table makeover and thought that breaking up the green with wood accents would look best.

Little did I know that this one decision to strip the drawers would lead to more work and supplies that would ultimately eat into our profits. (But we live and learn, right?)

I used generous amounts of Citristrip to coat the drawer faces and then covered them with cling wrap. After letting them sit for an hour I scraped the paint off, revealing several more layers of paint underneath.

So, I coated them for a second time and covered them with cling wrap. This time, I let the stripper sit overnight.

I finished scraping the paint the next day.

I tried wiping down the drawers with mineral spirits to get the sticky residue off but it was impossible. It eventually came off when I was sanding, but it was irritating because it gummed up the sanding nets and I had to change them out more frequently.

Stripping drawer faces using Citristrip.
(After applying Citristrip the first time.)
Cover Citristrip with cling wrap to keep it from drying out to strip paint.
(Letting the stripper set under cling wrap.)
Adding Citristrip to dresser drawers.
(Applying Citristrip the second time.)

Step 2: Apply Wood Putty

I applied wood putty to any areas on the dresser’s frame that had holes, cracks, or deep gouges. This will give the final finish a smoother look.

Luckily, this dresser was in pretty good shape and there weren’t very many places that needed filling.

I also filled in the holes where the original handles were placed. Instead of 2 smaller handles on each drawer, I wanted one long pull.

Unfortunately, this was also a bad decision.

Minwax 42853000 Stainable Wood Filler, 16 oz, Natural, 16 OunceMinwax 42853000 Stainable Wood Filler, 16 oz, Natural, 16 OunceMinwax 42853000 Stainable Wood Filler, 16 oz, Natural, 16 OunceHarrier Soft Grip Handle Putty Scraper Knife, Flexible Blade, 1.5-inch Wide, 4-PackHarrier Soft Grip Handle Putty Scraper Knife, Flexible Blade, 1.5-inch Wide, 4-PackHarrier Soft Grip Handle Putty Scraper Knife, Flexible Blade, 1.5-inch Wide, 4-Pack

 

Step 3: Removing Outdated Trim

One thing I love about furniture flippers on TikTok and Instagram is that they remove the trim on furniture pieces that make them look dated.

So, for this dresser, we removed the bottom piece with scrollwork. We replaced it with a straight piece of trim (that was actually a fence picket) to make it look more modern.

Removing outdated trim from bottom of dresser.
(The old trim that we took off the bottom of the dresser.)
Adding new trim to bottom of dresser for a more modern look.
(Adding the new straight trim.)

CRAFTSMAN V20 Brad Nailer, 18GA, Cordless, Bare Tool Only (CMCN618B)CRAFTSMAN V20 Brad Nailer, 18GA, Cordless, Bare Tool Only (CMCN618B)CRAFTSMAN V20 Brad Nailer, 18GA, Cordless, Bare Tool Only (CMCN618B)DEWALT Double Bevel Sliding Miter Saw, 12-inch, Compound (DWS780R)DEWALT Double Bevel Sliding Miter Saw, 12-inch, Compound (DWS780R)DEWALT Double Bevel Sliding Miter Saw, 12-inch, Compound (DWS780R)

 

Step 4: Sand the Dresser

Sanding is always my least favorite part of any project. Not because it’s particularly hard, but because it’s tedious and makes everything so dusty and dirty.

I sanded the drawer faces down to the bare wood using 120-grit sanding nets. Then sanded again with a 220-grit to make sure I had a smooth finish.

The frame of the dresser was scuff sanded with 120-grit. (This means that I just made sure to smooth out rough areas and make the surface rough so that a new coat of paint will stick to it.)

DEWALT Orbital Sander, 5-Inch (DWE6421)DEWALT Orbital Sander, 5-Inch (DWE6421)DEWALT Orbital Sander, 5-Inch (DWE6421)BAIWEN 20PCS 5 Inch Mesh Hook & Loop Sanding Discs 80 120 180 240 600 Assort Grit Dust Free Abrasive Net Sander Disc Anti-Blocking Long-Lasting Mesh Sanding Pads, Sandpaper for Wood Furniture FloorBAIWEN 20PCS 5 Inch Mesh Hook & Loop Sanding Discs 80 120 180 240 600 Assort Grit Dust Free Abrasive Net Sander Disc Anti-Blocking Long-Lasting Mesh Sanding Pads, Sandpaper for Wood Furniture FloorBAIWEN 20PCS 5 Inch Mesh Hook & Loop Sanding Discs 80 120 180 240 600 Assort Grit Dust Free Abrasive Net Sander Disc Anti-Blocking Long-Lasting Mesh Sanding Pads, Sandpaper for Wood Furniture Floor

 

Step 5: Prime, Paint, & Stain

After the dresser frame was sanded, I applied 2 coats of primer. I did a little bit of light sanding in between the coats to give it a smooth finish.

I let the primer dry overnight before painting. After 2 coats and a few touch-ups, the dresser frame was looking good.

Then it was time to stain the drawer faces.

Painting a dresser green.
(The Dark Sage paint looks like an Avacado Green in this light.)

Foam Paint Roller, Roller Frame with 4-Inch Mini Paint Roller Cover Refills with Foam-Covered Ends, High-Density Foam Paint Tray Set for Room Home Repair Mini Paint Kits(12 Piece)Foam Paint Roller, Roller Frame with 4-Inch Mini Paint Roller Cover Refills with Foam-Covered Ends, High-Density Foam Paint Tray Set for Room Home Repair Mini Paint Kits(12 Piece)Foam Paint Roller, Roller Frame with 4-Inch Mini Paint Roller Cover Refills with Foam-Covered Ends, High-Density Foam Paint Tray Set for Room Home Repair Mini Paint Kits(12 Piece)ROLLINGDOG 2.5 Inch Angled Paint Brush - Trim Brush for Painting Wall Cutting in Corners and Edges(Stiff Filament)ROLLINGDOG 2.5 Inch Angled Paint Brush – Trim Brush for Painting Wall Cutting in Corners and Edges(Stiff Filament)ROLLINGDOG 2.5 Inch Angled Paint Brush - Trim Brush for Painting Wall Cutting in Corners and Edges(Stiff Filament)

 

Step 6: Add Trim to Drawer Faces

It was clear that the putty-filled holes were not going to be camouflaged by the stain as I had hoped. This meant more work and money.

To cover the holes, we bought 3 pieces of wooden trim at the local hardware store and cut them to fit each drawer.

We attached the trim to the drawers using wood glue and brad nails. We also stained the trim to match the drawers.

Refurbished dresser.
(The wood pieces of trim on the drawer fronts were added to hide the holes from the old handles.)

Probrico (5 Pack 10Probrico (5 Pack 10Probrico (5 Pack 10Probrico 10 Pack| 2 Inch Flat Black Kitchen Cabinet T Bar Knobs Single Hole Modern Bedroom Dresser Pull Kitchen Cabinet HandlesProbrico 10 Pack| 2 Inch Flat Black Kitchen Cabinet T Bar Knobs Single Hole Modern Bedroom Dresser Pull Kitchen Cabinet HandlesProbrico 10 Pack| 2 Inch Flat Black Kitchen Cabinet T Bar Knobs Single Hole Modern Bedroom Dresser Pull Kitchen Cabinet Handles

 

Step 7: Add Legs to Dresser

After seeing the dresser all put together, it just didn’t look finished.

We decided to add legs and it made all the difference in the world. Not only did the dresser sit an extra 3-4 inches higher, but it looks so much better with legs.

We stained the wooden legs to match the drawers.

The legs we bought at our local hardware store (HomeBase) were too expensive in my opinion. The legs themselves were $8 each, but the hardware to install them was sold separately and cost an extra $5 each. You can order 4 legs with the hardware included from Amazon and it’s much more affordable.

Adding legs to a dresser makes it look so much better.
(Adding legs to the dresser made such a huge difference!)

Premium Square Furniture Legs - Furniture Feet for Couch, Chair, Sofa, Dresser, Bed, Cabinet, Ottoman - Easy to Install Wood Legs With Installation Hardware and Instructions- Set of 4, 3 InchesPremium Square Furniture Legs – Furniture Feet for Couch, Chair, Sofa, Dresser, Bed, Cabinet, Ottoman – Easy to Install Wood Legs With Installation Hardware and Instructions- Set of 4, 3 InchesPremium Square Furniture Legs - Furniture Feet for Couch, Chair, Sofa, Dresser, Bed, Cabinet, Ottoman - Easy to Install Wood Legs With Installation Hardware and Instructions- Set of 4, 3 InchesMaricome 3 Inch Furniture Legs Replacement Sofa Couch Feet Set of 4 Square Tapered Solid Wood Heavy Duty SupportMaricome 3 Inch Furniture Legs Replacement Sofa Couch Feet Set of 4 Square Tapered Solid Wood Heavy Duty SupportMaricome 3 Inch Furniture Legs Replacement Sofa Couch Feet Set of 4 Square Tapered Solid Wood Heavy Duty Support

 

Step 8: Add Drawer Liner

Since we already had more time and money in this dresser than I originally intended, I thought, “Why not just give it an extra touch?”

I had leftover peel and stick wallpaper from another project that I added to the bottoms of the dresser drawers.

Drawer liner in a refurbished dresser.
(A jungle-themed drawer liner was the final touch.)

Livebor Green Leaf Wallpaper Peel and Stick Leaf Contact Paper 17.7inch x 118.1inch Green Peel and Stick Wallpaper Modern Farmhouse Wallpaper Neutral Sage Wallpaper Self Adhesive Decorative PaperLivebor Green Leaf Wallpaper Peel and Stick Leaf Contact Paper 17.7inch x 118.1inch Green Peel and Stick Wallpaper Modern Farmhouse Wallpaper Neutral Sage Wallpaper Self Adhesive Decorative PaperLivebor Green Leaf Wallpaper Peel and Stick Leaf Contact Paper 17.7inch x 118.1inch Green Peel and Stick Wallpaper Modern Farmhouse Wallpaper Neutral Sage Wallpaper Self Adhesive Decorative PaperHAOKHOME 96031-1 Boho Peel and Stick Wallpaper Floral Tulip Leaves Green/White Removable Bathroom Kitchen Contact Paper Home Wall Decor 17.7in x 9.8ftHAOKHOME 96031-1 Boho Peel and Stick Wallpaper Floral Tulip Leaves Green/White Removable Bathroom Kitchen Contact Paper Home Wall Decor 17.7in x 9.8ftHAOKHOME 96031-1 Boho Peel and Stick Wallpaper Floral Tulip Leaves Green/White Removable Bathroom Kitchen Contact Paper Home Wall Decor 17.7in x 9.8ft

 

Step 9: Take Pictures and Post For Sale

After several days of work, we were FINALLY finished with this dresser.

I staged the dresser with some decor items from around my house and posted it on Facebook Marketplace for $400.

Unfortunately, the only people to contact me about the dresser were scammers until I lowered the price. Two days after lowering the price to $300, a real person contacted me and negotiated a deal for $275.

Flipping a dresser for profit.
(The dresser turned out beautifully.)

The Expenses:

  • dresser cost – $25
  • trim – $30
  • handles – $34
  • legs – $52
  • Total – $141

That leaves us a profit of only $134.

This flip was definitely a learning experience for us. Had we painted the drawer faces or opted for handles that fit the original holes that were drilled would would have saved $30 on the wooden trim. And if we had ordered the legs from Amazon, we would have saved another $30, making our profit closer to $200.

Also, I could have held out for a higher offer. But I figure the way the economy is heading right now, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Plus, I’m ready to move onto the next project since this one took longer than expected.

I hope you check back here or my Instagram to see what we flip next!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *