Zero Budget Project: The Dresser


I finished the dresser. It’s been nearly a year and a half since I bought it with the intention of revamping it. I knew if I wanted to get it done, I had to do it before the cold set in and I’d only be motivated to cuddle in blankets and drink a cup of hot abuelita (I’m hooked thanks to Celeste).

This dresser was originally going to be stained yellow like my rocking chair, but I kept feeling a nagging feeling that I’d be falling back on a crutch. I tend to fall into color ruts from time to time. In high school it was burgundy and navy. In college it was red and black. When I first got married, it was just black and tan. When we moved to Utah, it was yellow and black. Then it moved to yellow and orange.

Picking this color was a huge risk, because the guy behind the paint counter just mixed a bunch of colors and I went for it. There were no samples to go by (besides the paint stick he stained). I knew the wood on the dresser would take the stain differently because it’s not pine. It’s a veneered redwood or something warm like that. Maybe cherry?

I’m glad I went for the stain as opposed to an opaque paint, because the color and grain of the wood really shows trough to add a lot of dimension to this piece.

Also, I never consulted Chris on this color. I knew I was taking on a big risk by not asking him what he thought. While I was mid-job, he rolled in from work and I got more than a bit nervous for his reaction. Turns out he loves it! Bullet dodged. I do need to be better about communicating my home decor plans with him, though. He, too, bought this house.

Chris lets me use this dresser just for my clothes. He’s really nice about that. Atop the dresser I have a little ikea runner I made (fabric I scored for $1 a yard at a garage sale) to protect the finish from my accessories. My accessories are stored in Spice of Life jars and on an old 1950s lunch tray.

I’m proud of how this dresser turned out. Now I need to get our bed situation figured out. It looks like we’re going to buy a new bed for our room soon. And I want to make my first quilt for our room, too.

So have you ever stained wood a color before? I definitely think I’ll be doing that again with any other wood rehab projects I work on in the future.

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    1. amy h says:

      It turned out great! I love the idea of colored stain.

    2. Kristin says:

      I love it! I have a dresser that was my hubbys namesake that needs attention in the worst way. I was planning on staining it a mahogany, to match my high boy dresser, but that colored stain looks so lovely, i may change my mind….

    3. phil says:

      i did a lot of wood staining and painting ( less painting ) and i know it could be tricky !!!!
      i also like the details on the legs ( floor protection ???? )
      nice job mrs esplin :-)

      • Melissa says:

        Exactly. The legs were making really deep indents in the carpet so we adde those little rubber stoppers. You can get them from Home Depot. They’re great!

    4. Erin R. says:

      Yes. My dad made me a gorgeous sofa table and I chose a black stain (technically a color) rather than a paint. The wood grain showing through the black stain is fabulous. I also bought Ikea spice racks to use a book shelves for my son’s room and I stained them with a blue stain. At our previous house we also did a red wash on the kitchen cupboards (not technically a stain as it was watered down paint, but it had a similar effect).

    5. Jeannie D says:

      Wow! Gorgeous piece…love the color!

    6. Lindsay says:

      Hey sister, I love the blue! And I can’t wait to see what quilt ideas you come up with. I’ve made a few baby quilts recently and am currently sitting on a pile of fabric rolling designs around in my head.

    7. Lindsay says:

      Hey sister, love the blue! And I can’t wait to see what quilting ideas you come up with. I’m sitting on a pile of fabric and could use some inspiration.

    8. Excellent work! Furniture projects are my favorite thing to do. I stripped down our dining room table several weeks ago. and now its naked. Still. Must…..stain…..and finish….soon. You motivate me!
      I’ve never stained wood a color before. But I am thinking about staining one of our wood dressers white….instead of painting it white. I’m indecisive. And I have to make myself finish what I started first. Ha! What do you think is harder? Painting or staining?

    9. Excellent%20work!%20Furniture%20projects%20are%20my%20favorite%20thing%20to%20do.%20I%20stripped%20down%20our%20dining%20room%20table%20several%20weeks%20ago.%20and%20now%20its%20naked.%20Still.%20Must…..stain…..and%20finish….soon.%20You%20%20motivate%20me!

    10. MaryKay Larson says:

      I adore this! I married a man with Swedish ancestry and have researched decor styles. They freely painted their furniture to combat the drabness of long, dark winters. I’m inspired now. I have a coffee table, a wood frame chair and a secretary desk that all are crying out for paint.

    11. Mugsy says:

      Wow! I remember those “Spice of Life” sets of containers – my Grandmother used to have those.
      Thanks for the refresh of my memory, and I think the dresser turned out terrific!! :)

    12. […] 30 hours to rework. The spindles were definitely the hardest. Perhaps that explains why I went for a dresser with such clean […]

    13. Jess says:

      So, can I ask – did you just go to a paint store and tell the guy you wanted a colored wood stain? I’m thinking I want to do this with my new spinning wheel and a purple stain; it’s a natural unfinished wood so I’d like to stain it a color instead of just sealing/waxing it.

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