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DIY projects can range from simple cosmetic improvements to in-depth structural changes, depending on the skill level of the doer. Dressers are a common furniture piece for both basic and advanced DIY projects because they offer so many possibilities. From refurbishing an older dresser to crafting a new dresser from raw materials, dressers are an opportunity to showcase a variety of DIY skills. The following DIY dresser ideas can inspire projects at every level.


A Lick of Paint

It’s surprising how dramatic even a simple makeover can be. Painting an older dresser is an easy way to change the look, tone, and feel of a piece. Take a midcentury modern piece into a new boho look with distressed paint. Different hardware, whether new or used, can add a striking accent to the refurbished piece.


Repairs and Upgrades

Even an old dresser made of cheap materials, like certain Swedish catalog furniture made of particleboard, can be made whole again. Patching and repairing are two ways to rehabilitate a flagging dresser. Adding veneer or paint can easily hide the repairs. Some DIY projects go beyond simple repairs to install upgraded elements, like additional storage or organization.



A stained dresser can have a more polished result than a painted dresser in many cases. While the skills required for painting are minimal, it doesn’t take many extra tools to stain sand and stain a wood project. First, use paint thinner to remove the old finish. Then, sand the wood. Start with large grain sandpaper and work your way down to a fine grain so that the finish is smooth. Choose a stain that complements the wood. Apply one coat of stain to start with, and add more coats of stain for a darker look. Finally, be sure to seal the stained wood with a shellac or polyurethane finish.


Structural Changes

Dressers are a DIY playground because any element can change. Swap out the legs, hardware, drawers, even the main element. Some artists craft dressers from nontraditional materials like cabinets or car parts. With a few changes, a dresser can also take on a new life as a makeup table, front entry piece, or outdoor patio accessory. DIYers let creativity run wild with the endless possibilities a dresser inspires.