Friends!! Thank You SO much for all your kind remarks about the new antique dresser in our kitchen I shared with you yesterday!! Isn’t it crazy, when you change up a space or look at an area in a new way in our homes how refreshing it can be! It was bittersweet for me to swap out the beloved bench we had there for so many years, but the truth was it just wasn’t serving our families needs the best anymore. I no longer needed a spot to be able to sit my two toddlers to help with their shoes, and was in desperate need for some more storage, and this antique dresser provided all of that. As promised, I’m back today to share with you just how I gave this dresser a makeover to get the look you see today. Just wait until you see the Before!
I mentioned in yesterday’s post this dresser had been gifted to us by an older couple in our church who are in the process of down-sizing. It was a bit wobbly, and had some stains on the top, but I loved the structure of it, and it was solid wood.
I think that’s key when it comes to decorating with antique furniture. You can change the finish, but you can not change the structure of it. Meaning, if you don’t like the legs on a piece, or the shape of it, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to fix that. So don’t settle for an antique that doesn’t have all the qualities you are looking for.
I had contemplated just painting it and reselling it, because at the time I didn’t have an immediate need. Thankfully, I was too busy with the holidays I didn’t have any time to do either, so in our basement it sat. Until my “AH-HA” moment last week!
It was dusty, and the top had some deep stains in it. Of what I don’t know, but since it was solid wood, my first inclination was to sand it down. I figured if I couldn’t get the majority of the stains out of the top, then I would paint it.
I started with a 60 grit sandpaper, and thankfully the finish on the dresser had pretty much already worn off, so it took no time at all to start revealing that beautiful original wood tone.
To my surprise, the larger circular stain came out. There were some smaller stains on the other side, that could have possibly been bleach, I will point out in another photo, that didn’t quite come out all the way, but close enough. Then to give it that butter-smooth finish so it feels like it’s been professionally refinish, you give it a light sanding with a 220-grit sandpaper. You can run your hand over the area you had just sanded, and after you use the 200-grit sandpaper it feels silky-smooth, compared to the rest of it.
Once I was finished sanding the dresser, I took a clean rag and wiped down the entire piece, to ensure there was no dust or residue still on it from the sanding process. I loved the color of the unfinished wood, so I opted for Annie Sloan’s clear wax to seal it in, so it would stay like that.
There are two things to remember when applying wax. First, it’s going to look “wet”, but don’t worry as it dries it cures to the piece, and that “wet” look disappears. And second, you only need a tiny bit of wax, and apply it in small areas. It should be dry to the touch right afterwards, and that’s how you know you rubbed it in enough, and there is no access left over.
You can see on the top, left hand side where I mentioned it looks like some bleach spilt on it and dripped down the front. I lightened the stain by about 50%, and may have been able to get it a bit lighter, but it didn’t bother me as much.
To some it might, but I just look at it as character, and it’s part of the history that comes with the piece.
Here is one last Before & After for you to be able to compare side by side the difference in the finishes.