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Beautiful Dresser Makeover! [Making the most of FREE furniture!]

Have some dressers that need an upgrade? Here’s how we pulled a modern and beautiful DIY dresser makeover on these two thrifted dressers!

We thrifted these dressers for FREE but they badly needed a DIY makeover

I don’t know about you, but when I see that something is “FREE” I’m very tempted to bring it home with me. Very tempted. A free dresser is just asking for a DIY dresser makeover, right?!

When my husband saw these free dressers online we snagged them up immediately – not quite knowing where they would go yet. We had grand plans for a dresser makeover right away, but pregnancy, sickness and moving delayed our project a bit.

Luckily when we moved to Green Acres, it turns out we needed some new dressers for our Master Bedroom! So we finally finished the makeovers and I can’t wait to show you the results!

We took these free dressers and gave them a beautiful makeover, making them look brand new!

*Materials for this post were provided by Cricut and Hairpin Leg Shop. This post contains affiliate links. When you buy a product through one of my links, I get a commission at no cost to you! For more information, see my disclosure page.*

What should I look for in a thrifted dresser?

The best dressers for makeovers are made of wood. Wooden pieces are by far the easiest to update and refinish. Also, the older wood furniture is made with such nice quality, they tend to last a lot longer than the newer, cheaper made furniture.

When you find a piece that you think is made of wood, you can check inside and look for the end grain of the wood – does the wood warp around the side? You can also look for scratch marks so see if there is wood underneath another finish.

You can also look for pieces with a wood veneer, as you can still easily paint or stain those pieces. You just have to be careful with how thick the veneer is and how much sanding, etc. you will need to do.

These dressers desperately needed a makeover to bring them back to life

How to do a DIY Dresser Makeover

We were so lucky finding these dressers because they in great shape! Just some scraped paint here and there, and ugly legs, but definitely a ton of potential to update them!

Materials Needed for Dresser Update: 

Fusion Mineral Paint – Coal Black
(the BEST paint for furniture!)
6″ hairpin legs (4 per dresser)
Cricut Maker
Gold Adhesive Foil
12″ x 24″ Cricut Cutting Mat
Paint Stripper
Clear Matte Polycrylic

Tools Needed for Dresser update: 

Kreg Pocket Jig & scrap wood (only if needed)

This dresser makeover started with stripping then sanding paint, some varnish, and new legs

Step-by-Step Instructions for this DIY dresser makeover

  1. We used paint stripper on the drawer fronts, then sanded down any remaining paint.
  2. When the drawer fronts were clean, we used a clear varnish to protect them.
  3. We swapped out the not-so-pretty straight legs for some gorgeous powder coated hairpin legs(<– great source for hairpin legs online!)
  4. Because our dressers didn’t have a thick enough base, we added a piece of scrap wood to the bottoms of our dressers, and used a Pocket Jig to attach the wood, so that our new hairpin legs had a good base.
  5. Once everything was ready, we used the best paint for furniture that I know of – Fusion Mineral Paint – and gave the dressers a fresh coat of black paint.

Here’s how the dressers looked when we were done these steps!

This thrifted dresser looks as good as new after a beautiful and easy DIY makeover
This thrifted dresser made a perfect addition to our master bedroom, and all it needed was a good DIY makeover
This dresser makeover got new legs, fresh wood varnish, and a fresh coat of paint

You could halt your makeover there, but I wanted to give the dressers a more modern twist by adding a faux metal inlay to the front. I used my Cricut Maker cutting machine and some adhesive foil to create the look!

I used my cricut maker to add some additional details to my dresser makeover

How to Create a Faux Metal Inlay

I had seen some beautiful dressers with metal inlays, but they were far more expensive then my budget would allow, so I decided to make my own faux version. Adhesive foil was perfect for this because it has just the right amount of shine and is a nice thin material.

Start by opening THIS CANVAS in the Cricut Design Space. Once it’s open, simply click “make it” to print the long adhesive foil lines.

how to make a faux metal inlay using cricut design space

Make sure to search for “adhesive foil” when selecting your material.

I used cricut design space to make a faux metal inlay for this dresser

Once the foil is printed, it will easily peel off in strips that you can add as faux metal to your dresser fronts.

I gave this thrifted dresser a makeover and added an additional touch using a faux metal inlay made with my cricut maker

Place the foil on at any angle you want. I used an x-acto knife to cut the edge smoothly, and a putty knife to help keep my lines straight at edges, and when my foil lines crossed. When cutting on top of the drawers, just make sure not cut deep, the foil will slice easily with just a light cut.

The Finished Thrifted Dresser Makeover

Once the metal inlay was done on the dressers, I was thrilled with the results! Here’s what the shorter piece looks like after it’s dresser makeover:

This gorgeous modern dresser looks as good as new - you'd never be able to tell it was thrifted!
All the little details like a faux metal inlay and hairpin legs gave this thrift dresser makeover a totally new look
This beautiful DIY dresser makeover looks as good as new and makes a perfect addition to our modern style master bedroom

And here’s how the tall dresser looks now…

This tall dresser looks like it came straight from the store - you'd never be able to tell we thrifted these for FREE!
I love the metallic touch of the faux letter inlay on this beautiful dresser makeover
I love the modern look of this dresser - and it was such an easy DIY project!
This thrifted dresser makeover came together perfectly to make this modern, stylish new dresser

BAH! I’m so happy with the end results! They look beautiful in our new Master Bedroom!
What do you think of the new dressers?

If you LOVE furniture makeovers, you might like this side table makeover too!

Modern Industrial Side Table Makeover


Sunday 24th of May 2020

Hi Lindi, This looks great - I really love the foil inlay you've added. About that - do you know if you can add a poly topcoat over the foil? I was hoping to do this across the top of a credenza, so it would need extra protection for the finish and to keep the foil in place.


Wednesday 27th of May 2020

I didn't do that myself, but in theory it sounds like it would work! I would just test it on the underside first and see if it worked :)

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Monday 7th of October 2019

Dear Lindi, Dear Rusell, I really love what you did with the dresser, and thank you for sharing this wonderful idea with us! I hope I will be able able to do the same with my dresser, Thanks again!

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Monday 20th of May 2019

What a great transformation! The dresser looks stunning. Thanks for sharing! Carolina at Hamilton Billiards.