Painted dressers are a fabulous way to upgrade old furniture and add style to your home. Discover and be inspired with these three curated DIY projects with mood boards and before and after photos. And step-by-step instructions!

1. Project Charming Chinoiserie

This beautiful dresser has a special style that can be described as modern meets chinoiserie.
green dresser

The bright green has white detailing and adds a sense of history to your traditional or modern decor. Check out our mood board for this look!

Tools + Materials:

  • Drop cloth
  • Sanding block
  • Screw driver
  • Straight edge
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint roller (large + mini)

  • Medium-small paint brush
  • Small detail brush
  • Green enamel semi gloss paint, or other bright color choice
  • White enamel paint
  • Paint tray


1. Remove the hardware or, if you are unable to do so, cover it with painter’s tape.

2. Sand areas of imperfection or chipped paint (lacquered surfaces can be sanded more).

3. Clean dresser with damp rag and allow to dry.

4. Tape areas off (drawers and details, including drawer gliders).

5. Using a small to medium brush, carefully paint areas like molding, corners, and grooves.

6. Using a larger roller, apply one coat of paint (allow 12 hours for drying).

7. After a 12-hour drying period, re-tape details and hardware as needed and use your large roller to apply the second coat of paint.

8. Use a small roller to smooth out imperfections.

9. Remove tape from detail areas, pulling up and away.

10. Allow the dresser to dry at least 72 hours.

Now it’s time for the pretty details! Use a small paintbrush to carefully paint the edges of the drawers and the white detailing paint around the edges of drawer fronts and decorative details (you can also use a paint pen). After the furniture is completely dry, re-attach your hardware! Congratulations on your work of art!  

Tip: In general I recommend letting the furniture dry for at least 4 days. It can still be sticky even when it feels dry, and this means the surface will be prone to nicks, scratches, and peeling.

2. Project Decoupage Delight

Decoupaging a dresser is so fun and relatively simple! Follow my instructions below and achieve the look of this whimsical dresser.

Painted Dresser
 Soft Warm Colors and natural woodland Mood Board

 Tools + Materials:

  • Tape measure
  • X-Acto knife
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Screwdriver
  • Straight edge
  • Small detail brushes

  • Craft paint acrylic or other
  • Paper plate for palette
  • Paper, lace, or fabric elements for your pattern (pre-cut)
  • Brown paper or scrap paper to lay out patterning
  • Painter’s tape
  • Decoupage finish


1. Measure the space you intend to cover. Will you cover only the top of the dresser or the entire piece? An easier way to achieve this look is to decoupage the front of the drawers only.

2. Chose your paper. Print out a favorite image on card stock paper or other similar paper, fabric, or lace that is pre-cut.

3. Cut with very sharp scissors, layout on brown paper, and label the drawers 1, 2, 3 etc.

4. Place your images on the drawer, arrange and refine the composition, and secure with painter’s tape.

5. Fold your paper in half onto the board and paint a very thin layer of decoupage finish onto the back.

6. If the paper is wrinkled, you can smooth it out very gently with a straight edge.

7. Once the finish is dried, trim with your X-Acto to refine as needed. Use one to two coats of the decoupage finish.

8. Add touches with craft paint and a small brush, like Lindy’s beautiful branches pictured above.

9. After about 8 hours, you can reattach your hardware.

Thank you for the inspiration, Lindy, Cottage Hill, and for the advice and instructions from Emma Chapman with Laura Gummerman from A Beautiful Mess!

3. Project Stunning Stencils

A stenciled piece can make a strong impression or add a soft feminine touch. We love how the white stencil on turquoise is paired with deep tones in Mrs. Jones’ special painted dresser with stencils.

painted dresser

Here’s our mood board for these delicious turquoise, blue, white, and soft saturated pinks.

Stenciling is fairly simple if you follow the directions and have time to plan. This age-old method takes old drab furnishings headed for the curb to heirloom quality in these remodels. Our special thanks to the inspiring talent of Mrs. Jones’ team and Danielle for their visions and awesome designs.

Tools + Materials:

  • Denatured alcohol
  • Chalk paint
  • Drop cloth
  • Re-positionable spray mount
  • Clear shellac
  • Chalk paint or other furniture paint of your choice

  • Craft paint for stenciled areas
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint rollers
  • Foam roller for craft paint
  • Clear shellac (optional)
  • Soft wax (optional)
  • Stencils


1. Lay out the drop cloth and remove and clean drawers with alcohol.

2. Paint with brush using clear shellac (shellac is optional, but keeps original finish from showing).

3. Lightly sand for a smooth finish.

4. You can paint with any tool you prefer, but first paint hard-to-reach areas, like molding, corners, and legs, with a brush. You may use a roller, brushes, and paint sprayers for the first coat.

5. Allow about 6 hours for the first coat to dry.

6. Apply the second coat and, using a re-positionable spray mount, attach your stencil to the front of your drawers.

7. Using a small foam roller, fill in the design with your craft paint.

8. Remove the stencil while the paint is still wet.

9. Repeat on your other drawers.

10. Allow to dry for about four to six hours.

11. Add sealant, such as water-based urethane, soft wax, or stencil cremes.

12. Reattach hardware after dresser has dried. Delightful!


About The Author

Art+Design Consultant

Art historian by training, curator, writer and design lover. Principal of Art +Design Consulting. Lover of all things well made.