I wouldn’t say I’m the world’s best painter or upcycler, in fact I can be a bit slapdash at times. But what I do love is seeing the potential of an old, unloved piece of furniture being given a new lease of life. I enjoy the thrill of going to a charity shop or car boot sale, wading through all the old DVDs, moth eaten clothes and unwanted glassware and finding a beautiful piece of mahogany furniture crying out for a new home in the corner.
I picked up this mahogany welsh dresser from a charity shop for £60 around 3 years ago and it was still in really good condition. The wood grain and varnish were like new and it had detailed engraving on the drawers. It had just fallen out of fashion and as the colour scheme in our kitchen at the time was white and grey (you can see what our kitchen looked like originally in this blog post), I decided to upcycle it by painting it grey with a wallpaper background.
The thing with grey though, and especially on a dresser in the kitchen, is that it totally lost the battle with all the stains and general grime that comes with a busy kitchen! It was upcycled in a chalky colour as well which made matters worse and I was consistently repainting it.
That was until Dulux got in touch with me and asked if I had any potential upcycle projects I could work on for their Wood Trim campaign. I had toyed with the idea of painting my kitchen units’ dark blue numerous times (and as we have now sold the house, will never get round to doing), so I knew the upcycled dresser would be the perfect project to please my darker unit obsession.
I also felt a darker blue colour would look better with the B&Q wallpaper I had fixed to the back of the dresser.
After trying a few sample pots of Dulux colour on the dresser, I decided to go with their Satinwood in Sapphire Salute. I love the richness of the dark blue and it wasn’t too dissimilar to the walls so it helped tie the colour scheme together. But, with painting the dresser dark blue, I realised I needed to paint the wall behind it white or it would have just blended into non-existent.
Dulux also provided me with a large pot of pure brilliant white and after painting this corner of the kitchen, I realised how much fresher and lighter it made it feel. This corner had always felt quite dark, and a little grubby in all honestly, so it had vastly improved the space already.
So, with this corner of the kitchen painted, I set about prepping the dresser ready to be upcycled, round 2
What I used to upcycle
- A welsh dresser
- Paint (I used Dulux Sapphire Salute)
- Paint brushes (I used a wide paintbrush to do the majority of the work and a very fine paintbrush to go around the hinges I couldn’t remove. The dresser is extremely old!)
- Sugar soap
- A screwdriver
- An old sheet or dust sheet
- Gorilla super glue
- Tape measure
- A really sharp pair of scissors
- As with all upcycles, patience and a vision!
Plan your upcycle
Before you start the upcycle, you need to decide where it is going and what is the colour scheme in that room. As my dresser was already in the kitchen, I decided to go with dark blue and originally, I was going with the same geometric wallpaper. Unfortunately, when I went to B&Q to get some more wallpaper to finish the dresser, they no longer stocked it.
I ran a little poll on my Instagram stories asking people which wallpaper I should go with and the majority of people went for the GoodHome Ferula Blue tropical leaves wallpaper. The blue in the botanical leaves is perfect for the room and I love the hint of mustard and gold.
It’s all in the prep
As I’d already upcycled the dresser before, I didn’t need to do much prep. Originally, I removed the hinges and door knobs (the ones I could remove, some of them were properly welded on and not much use removing) and then sanded the dresser down so it was smooth and the grain of the wood would be able to hold the paint.
Personally, when it comes to upcycled wood, I don’t think you need a primer but it all depends on how smooth a finish you want and most paint companies do advise to use primer when you are painting onto bare wood. A primer will give you a cleaner finish as it will fill in scratches and dents, but I didn’t use one with the dresser.
After sanding down the dresser, I gave it a thorough clean with sugar soap to get all the grease and dirt off and then you are ready to start painting.
As with painting the wall, if you feel the need to use frog tape to prevent you painting over a different section, then go for it. Again, I personally don’t feel the need for frog tape as I use a small paintbrush to slowly paint a line along the border.
I started the upcycle by painting the big sections with Satinwood Sapphire Salute and finished with a very fine paintbrush to go around the handles and hinges that I couldn’t take out.
It only needed two coats of Sapphire Salute and as the paint is water-based, it dried in no time so was quick and easy to transform the dresser.
The wallpaper part
Once it had completely dried, I started on the wallpaper. I stripped back the old wallpaper first and measured out the new wallpaper. It can be a bit tricky as you have to make sure the pattern matches up and cut out different sections to fit, but the result is worth it.
Once I had all the sections cut out, starting from the top left-hand corner, I applied Gorilla super glue to the back of the wallpaper (around the edges) and then stuck it into place. I find this suffices and you don’t have to use too much super glue.
Once I had painted and wallpapered the dresser, I loved how sleek and royal it looked! However, the worktop was still a little grubby and the handles and hinges looked lacklustre.
I used some old rustoleum paint to freshen up the worktop and gold paint to brighten the handles and hinges. It was something I wasn’t considering to do to begin with but I think the gold handles and hinges really give the upcycled dresser a fabulous finishing touch.
I’ve upcycled for about 7 years now and no longer do I look at an old piece of furniture with sadness, thinking it is destined for the dump. I wonder what it could be turned into, you can create your very own unique piece of furniture for your home.
It really doesn’t cost a lot and with a bit of creativity, imagination and a paintbrush, you can pretty much do anything to it! What do you think of my new upcycled kitchen dresser?
Although I wasn’t paid to write this blog post, I was paid to use Dulux paint on my social media feeds.
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