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Simple Chalk Paint Makeover for Vintage Furniture: Easy Dresser Update

If you want a quick and easy update for thrifted furniture, I’ve got you covered. This simple chalk paint makeover transformed this dresser without removing the original finish. With these simple steps, you can give your vintage pieces a new life.

I recently updated a beat-up dresser and wanted to share these simple techniques with you.

ReStore Dresser for Simple Chalk Paint Makeover.

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Vintage Furniture Find

The vintage dresser was a Habitat for Humanity Restore find that was structurally sound, but the finish had seen better days. I planned to use the dresser in my shop as a display, but I didn’t want to spend much time refinishing the piece. If you find a deal at a thrift store, this is a really easy way to update the furniture without spending much time or money.

Vintage furniture found at thrift store

How To Prepare Dresser For Makeover

First, I recommend cleaning any used furniture with Murphy’s Oil Soap. Remove all the hardware and wash all surfaces with the soap and water mixture. Be sure to squeeze any excess water from the sponge or rag before applying it to the furniture. Rinse with clean water using a damp sponge or rag. Don’t oversaturate the vintage furniture with water.

If the old furniture has any odor, you may also need to use disinfectant soap. Be sure to allow the furniture to dry for approximately 24 hours before starting your makeover.

Supplies for Chalk Paint Makeover

This simple makeover only requires a few supplies to clean and refinish furniture.

Once your piece is clean and dry, repair any holes or deep scratches with Wood Filler. You want to use a stainable wood filler for any area that you plan to stain. Be sure to allow the filler to dry by following the package instructions.

Once the wood filler is dry, lightly sand it with a fine-grit sandpaper. I like to use a fine-grit sanding block.

Damaged Thrift Store dress transformation with Easy Chalk Paint Techniques.

Furniture Makeover Choices

I love the look of a combination of stained and painted furniture, and leaving the drawer fronts stained on this piece was a great option.

As you can see in the image below, the drawer fronts were extremely scratched. I didn’t want to remove the old finish, so I cleaned them and added a layer of gel stain. The right-hand image shows how well this worked.

You will want to add the stain with a soft cloth and gently buff the stain until you have the desired finish.

Full disclosure: I wasn’t sure this would work, but I’m happy to say that the drawer fronts look like new.

How to refresh scratched finish on vintage furniture without removing the original finish.

Paint With Chalk Paint

In addition, you will want to paint the remainder of the furniture with approximately two coats of Chalk Paint. This previous post provides more details about how to Use Chalk Paint. For this project, I used Annie Sloan’s Old White Chalk Paint.

Apply Wax To Seal

The final step for this simple chalk paint makeover is to wax the entire surface with Dark Wax. This includes the stained drawer front as well. If you are not familiar with using wax, refer to How to Use Chalk Paint for tips on applying wax. You do want to be cautious when using dark wax because it will grab the paint. I will mix the dark wax with a clear wax if in doubt. Mixing with mineral spirits is also an option.

Easy Chalk Paint Makeover for thrift store vintage furniture.

Another way to save money on this makeover was to clean and reuse the old dresser hardware.

Thrift Store Dresser transformation with simple chalk paint makeover.

When displayed in my shop, the vintage dresser looked fresh and new. However, I didn’t have a display for long because it sold almost immediately.

easy chalk paint makeover of a thrift store dresser.  Quick and easy tutorial

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

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Easy Chalk Paint Dress Makeover for Vintage Furniture.
Easy Chalk Paint Makeover for a damaged vintage dresser from thrift store.

Wendy McMonigle

Tuesday 2nd of July 2024

I love the two tone look on this dresser! so pretty.


Wednesday 3rd of July 2024

Wendy, Thank you! I appreciate your comments.

Margie Clements

Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

Love it! Like that you left the drawers the same. Thanks for sharing!

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Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

Margie, Thanks so much for your encouraging wors.

Kim | Shiplap and Shells

Tuesday 1st of June 2021

I LOVE this dresser Rachel! You make everything you do seem so easy.

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Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

Kim, Not everything is as easy as this one.

Marlene Stephenson

Tuesday 1st of June 2021

You made it pretty again, so important to make these old pieces shine like they once were.

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Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

Marlene, They don't make them like they used to either.

Cynthia Solomon

Tuesday 1st of June 2021

Hi Rachel...this piece looks amazing! I didn't know you had a you do any online sales? If so, would you mind sharing your web site? Thanks bunches!

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Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

Cynthia, I don't have my cloths online. Just my art and some vintage pieces occasionally. They are listed on this site under store.