Cottage Green Dresser Makeover

Adding classic vintage style to a dresser with wood panels, a fresh coat of green paint and cottage style cup pulls

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Hello friends, are you ready for a furniture makeover?

I used to paint furniture all the time and have a 3-part series on chalk paint. If you're new here or haven't read these articles, I think you'll find them helpful.

Chalk Paint Series

There is something so satisfying about reimagining a piece and then making it fit your style with a new paint color and hardware.

We had this dresser made when I was expecting our daughter. It is based on the very popular Madeline 4-drawer dresser by Pottery Barn (see similar here). It was over $1100 and that was 18 years ago, which is why we had it made for a fraction of that price.

The dresser has gone through a few transformations over the years, notably the hardware.

The one thing that stayed the same throughout the years was the color. I repainted it white about 11 years ago because it needed a fresh coat.

How to add vintage charm to an upright dresser with new paint, hardware and side panels

If you're like me, sometimes you're just ready for a change! Whether that's a new rug or light fixture, or something simpler like a new paint color on the walls or a piece of furniture.

In our Mississippi rental, our daughter's room is tiny. It's not a problem because she's at University and she gave me full decorating privileges to do whatever I wanted in her room (thanks Abby ❤), which will also function as the guest room when needed...which it was just this past week as Mr DIY's parents stayed here for our son's wedding!

I'm working on refreshing the space and adding lots of charming vintage touches, and one thing that just needed an update was the white dresser. It was looking too bland, the knobs were uninspiring, and it was begging for a change.

Vintage dresser side panels

As I was pondering what to do with this dresser, and scrolling images online, I kept seeing vintage upright dressers with side panels. I loved this look and knew we could fake it with our dresser because it already had one large panel on the sides.

Mr DIY measured and then purchased and cut 1/4" plywood into the sizes we wanted. We glued the pieces of wood in place and added some finishing nails to keep them secure. We added two pieces to each side and it adds that vintage charm that I was wanting!

Prepping the dresser for paint

Once the side panels were up, we had to add a little caulk around the edges to fill in the gaps.

We removed all the drawers and hardware, and patched the holes to ready the drawers for the new hardware. Once the spackling dried, we went over it lightly with a sanding sponge.

I cleaned the dresser with Totally Awesome, which is a great spray to degrease and remove stains and  messes.

Painting the dresser

I already knew that I wanted to paint the dresser green. Normally things get painted blue or white over here, but like I said, I was ready for a change!

I didn't want sage green or hunter green or emerald green. I was after the perfect cottage green color similar to this. I have so much paint in my stash and wanted to use up what I had. I went to the Dixie Belle website and used their custom color mixer to achieve the exact color I wanted! This is a great tool when you already have lots of paint and want to see what a custom mix will look like before you paint!

I mixed these two colors (green and blue) to make a custom cottage green and the results were just what I was looking for. Isn't this the perfect cottage green?

The dresser needed two coats of paint for full coverage, but it dries so quickly that I was ready to move on to the second coat right after finishing the first!

Aging the dresser

Usually when I paint furniture, I'm painting over a wood finish so when I distress it, it's very easy to reveal the dark wood beneath in select spots.

With this dresser, it was raw wood painted white. There was no dark wood to reveal. Rather than distressing the dresser with a sander, I aged it with dark wax. My process was to apply clear wax in small sections, just rubbing on with a piece of old t-shirt. Then I immediately brushed on a little dark wax and rubbed it well, mostly around the edges. I gave it a few minutes and then buffed it was a clean cloth.

If there were any areas that got too dark, it was easy to apply a little more clear wax to remove the excess dark.

The results are a cottage dresser that looks aged rather than brand new!

New Hardware

The finishing touch to any furniture makeover is new hardware! I knew right away that I wanted to use matte black pulls on this dresser. Upgrading from all knobs to cup pulls adds grown up vintage style to the dresser. 

The finishes in this home are matte black (door knobs, light fixtures), so going with black dresser hardware just seemed the logical choice. Cup pulls are an easy way to add that classic vintage style. The cottage style cup pulls I used are from Hickory Hardware as are the black knobs that I chose to use for the top drawer. The top drawer is a single drawer, but has divided panels so it gives the look of two smaller drawers. I thought using smaller knobs would mimic some of the old timey dressers I've seen. These cottage style cup pulls are available in multiple colors and finishes!

I've used Hickory Hardware for many of my furniture and cabinet pieces and always appreciate their value, quality and amazing customer service! If you're looking for new hardware for your home, I highly recommend them. You can use my discount code DIYB10 to save 10%.

Mr DIY marked and drilled new holes to fit the new pulls. They were easy to attach to the drawers and it was so fun to put them back and see the updated dresser complete!

Cottage Dresser Reveal

I love when my vision for a piece of furniture, or a space, becomes reality! This vintage style cottage dresser turned out even better than I was hoping! It's such a great color and is the perfect accent piece in this small bedroom.

If you look closely, you can see the aging that I did with the dark wax. It slightly darkens the dresser and does just what it says - ages it!

The green paint really highlights all the vintage charm of this dresser that kind of got lost when it was all white!

And you can see the black matte cottage pulls and knobs are just so perfect on this painted piece!

Here's a little peek at the direction I'm going with the rest of the space. I'll be sharing this room, all decorated for the holidays, soon! Did you see the fresh cedar and rosemary wreath that I made for above the bed?

If you're a lover of vintage cottage style, I hope this dresser makeover inspires you!

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As a Hickory Hardware affiliate, I received product and/or payment
for this post. My opinions are always my own.

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  1. Beautiful. What type of brush did you use to paint the dresser that beautiful green?

    1. Thank you! I used a Purdy 2-1/2" Cub brush - my favorite!

  2. That is absolutely stunning!

  3. Hi! I want to paint a dresser too, I was wondering if I should use a primer and if you recommend a specific one?

    1. Hi, I prefer to use chalk paint because the priming step is not necessary! I have lots of posts about chalk paint if you're unfamiliar with it! Just type CHALK PAINT into the search bar.

  4. Ohh..this is a wonderful transformation! the dresser looks all grown up now! Love it!


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