Painting A Dresser And Planning A Pocket

Remember that $40, oh-so-cute, but badly-water-damaged dresser we got at a flea market a while back?

If so, then you probably also remember that we initially took the top part of it off, painted it white, sanded back the drawer fronts for a super-distressed effect and added cute little blue-painted knobs and pulls…

Welllllllll…I saw a really cool $998 dresser on the other day and was immediately inspired to give our little flea market find another facelift.

I started by sanding the drawer fronts completely down…

But because they were a bit too “orangey” for our room, I picked up some Monterey Gray-colored stain (Olympic) from Lowes…

…and mixed a half of a foam brush full of it with a little bit of water in a Frog painters tape container….

Then I brushed the stain/water mix onto each drawer front in the direction of the grain…

…and let it sit for about 20 seconds. Then I wiped it off with a paper towel (also with the grain)…

Once the stain was completely dry, I used the largest drill bit I had to route out the drawer pull holes a little more…

(You can really see how much better the gray-stained drawer fronts match the bedroom floor in this shot!)

The reason I needed them to be bigger is because I used rope (from Lowes) to create new drawer pulls on the two big drawers…

I used plain wood knobs (Lowes), also stained Monterey Gray, on the two smaller drawers up top.
After that, I used Photoshop and a font called Gunplay to print out some numbers for us to choose from…

We tried out a few different combinations, and finally settled on our wedding date. Kev used a pencil and the “rub-lead-on-one-side, then rub-lead-onto-the other-side” method to transfer the numbers onto the left side of three of the drawer fronts. Next, I mixed up a little bit of left-over Rice Grain-colored sample paint (Sherwin Williams) with a little bit of left-over mocha-colored Valspar Translucent Color Glaze to create the color I filled the numbers in with…

Last but not least, I gave all four drawers a quick coating of Deft Clear Wood Sealer (Lowes) and ta da!

I’m not super confident about arts-n-craftsy kinds of things, so these types of projects tend to really intimidate me. But we’re lovin’ the way it turned out, and since it sits against the wall that’s opposite our bed, it’s been fun to wake up to each morning too.

Hi. I’m Layla and I’m mushy.

Next up, a wall pocket project on the wall space above the dresser. And by “wall pocket”, I mean “niche” (for our TV). But because Kevin gets the willies when I say the word “neesh“, I’m gonna try go with “wall pocket” from now on.

I can’t wait to show you what came inside that little box back there…

Stay tuned!


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  1. says

    Darlin’ how on EARTH can you not feel confident about your crafty abilities?! You blow my mind on a regular basis, and if I had a “I’m a Layla groupie” tee shirt, I would wear it! You rock the craft department my friend. The entire thing turned out gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing the whole process with us!! Love it!


  2. says

    It looks *fabulous*! I am so glad you tried the rope for the pulls! And here I was thinkin’ you thought I was totally cRaZy when we talked about that this past summer! ;o) I think they look fan-tas-tic!!!

    Love those special numbers, too!

    You always amaze, me Miss Layla. Your talent has no end!

    Happy week to you!


  3. says

    I’ve spied that dresser at Anthro you’re referring to and it always leaves me longing. Layla I love your take on it. It turned out super fabulous. And I completely adored how you personalized it with your wedding date. Guess I’m a little mushy too..


  4. says

    What a great find in that dresser! I am loving the mirror part and wonder if you have any plans for it?

    bee blessed

  5. says


    I’m in love.

    Way better than that podunk anthro job! :)

    You are a genius. Are you tired of me saying it? No?

    You are a genius.

    And those tulips + the twine + the aqua chair = perfection.

  6. says

    So cute!! Love it you mushy gal!

  7. says

    Your project turned out way better than the Anthropologie inspiration! I’m digging the gray-stained drawers, translucent numbers, and rope pulls. Very beachy… or maybe it’s seashore-chic? Either way, I love it!!

  8. says

    Layla, love how the dresser turned out. I especially love the numbers and the rope drawer pulls. Such a clever idea!!! Love & blessings from NC!

  9. says

    Love this transformation of the dresser! I’m totally going to remember that font one day when I number my stairs. Do you think you can post a template??

  10. says

    Layla, it is too cute. The numbers make it so special…and so romantic! I love your blog! You and Kevin are so adorable, and I enjoy reading about a young couple starting a family together. My DH (dear husband) and I are still totally in love and mushy after almost 23 years of marriage. Our 18 year old daughter says that our mushiness has given her an eye twitch :D

  11. says

    Nice job, Layla! I especially love the rope “knobs”.

    You are so good at making everything in a room go well together where I seem to have a mismash going on!

  12. says

    Ooooo, nice! You’re super talented!!! My girls have a nice dresser that’s in need of a makeover it still has nursery theme paint job and the oldest is 12! I think I could handle this (and then keep it for myself!) ☺

  13. says

    This is adorable! I’m going to be getting married soon and we have to get all new furniture-this is an awesome idea!

  14. says

    Ok, I know we’re all drooling over the dresser…it’s beautiful! BUT… what really caught my eye was the simplicity of the “vase” of tulips! Totally going to steal that one. Thanks!

  15. says

    Layla, I absolutely love the way your little crafty project turned out! It looks beautiful. I bet it is a fun piece to wake up to in the morning. :)
    Great job, girl!

  16. Mandi says

    LOVE it!! So cute! And I espescially love the numbers…. our wedding date is 6/2/2007! I’m inspired – gotta go search craigslist for something to paint! : )

  17. says


    Love that you’ve incorporated your anniversary on a piece in your bedroom. Love the dresser more with your second refinish. The color, personalization and rope handles — now it looks “LAYLAIZED!”

    Your Friend,

  18. Julie says

    LOVE your site – I am totally addicted and completely inspired!
    If you want your tulips to stand upright in the vase, drop a penny in the water. Not sure why it works, but I have some tulips on my kitchen window sill that have been there for a week and they are still standing tall.

  19. says

    I love it! I actually really liked the “before” (not the before before, but the before after you’d sanded and distressed it) so I was surprised when you were going to redo it again (if it ain’t broke…). Anyway, I LOVE the new “after”! It’s amazing because with the new treatment and rope handles, it doesn’t even look antique anymore. It looks totally modern. What a great way to completely transform your piece! Can’t wait to see the “wall pocket” :)

  20. Rachel Carey says

    Anyone who would pay $998 for that from *A* needs a good kick in the head. I think yours is really much better. I’m giving you a 9.5 on the 1-10 scale!!!!!

  21. says

    I have had my eye on the Ordinal Dresser for a while now. I have thought about redoing it with one of the ikea unfinished nightables, but I like your weathered look better. Great job! By the way, we are 6-24!

  22. julie says

    Great project, but please lose the fingernails. You are too pretty and down-to-earth for that fussy look. No anthropologie model would be sporting a french manicure.

    • Layla says

      Hey Julie,

      Truth be told, I had them put on for a special event I went to- but only the thumb and pinky nails were still hangin’ on by the end of this post! LOL!
      I sort of like ripping them off as much as I like getting them put on! :-D


  23. Mindi says

    I have a photo in my “wish book” of a dresser like this with numbers! Yours is too cute! You’ve inspired me to get goin’ on my project!

  24. Allison A. says

    Love the new look. You guys are so talented in what you do and can I just say…

    Every time I see in my inbox a new thing from y’all I get so dang excited! I come and read and see the awesom-ness that is you and Kev and just smile. SO much of what y’all have done inspires me, as well as others, to pick up that dang recipricating saw and tackle that job we’ve been to afraid of.

    Also, I’m a bit older then 2-3 yrs old but I’m up for adoption. lol I just want to sit in that reading nook of yours and well, read!

  25. says

    Oh, you should NOT be intimidated! It’s perfect. Anthropology owes you an APOLOGY! (for trying to charge out the wazoo for something you created at a fraction of the cost) Ok. That was dumb. And I know it. ;-)

  26. Yaya says

    Hi Layla,

    I am so happy that you are more regular with your posts , I love them. I know that you guys have a lot of things going on but you got me used to the daily posts.

    By the way I love the dresser makeover.. :D

  27. carla raney says

    I love your dresser , it is sooo much better then the $998 one! You did a great job. I love it when i see on my reader that you have a new post, its like getting a new mag in the mail . A good day. :) Thanks keep up the great work.

  28. says

    love the dresser redo.
    It’s uniuqe and so you and Kevin.
    Those tulips are so pretty and making me thing of how ready i am for spring.

  29. says

    This looks so great. The dresser just keeps getting better and better. I especially love that it is your wedding date – I am totally mushy like that too! :)

  30. Kim in MD says

    Your blog is amazing!

    What a brave/creative thing to do to your dresser! I love that you used your anniversary for the numbers…I am mushy like that, too! I wish I had that kind of decorating confidence! Hopefully I will get it from reading your blog! :-)

  31. says

    Awesome project. When I saw the first picture, I thought, “That looks just like an Anthropologie dresser. I have to see how she did it!”

  32. says

    I love how that stain knocks back the orange! It makes it look just like old scrubbed wood. I love that. I am guessing that because you said you mixed the stain with water it was a water-based stain, but just to make sure (before I go buy some), can you confirm? Is it water based stain? Transparent, not opaque, right?

    And I think everyone should get to enjoy a pretty manicure from time to time, just to feel special.


  33. says

    That is the cutest diy I have seen in a long while. Love, love, love those stenciled numbers. As I was reading I was expecting to come down to a painted dresser with white architectural features like you see in blogland all the time but this was a delightful surprise. Job well done!!

  34. Wendy says

    I just love your dresser too! Did you just tie the rope together inside the drawer? Was it hard to get it tight enough?

  35. says

    Found you through Twice Lovely. Wow, this turned out so beautiful! Love to find two toned finishes that inspire me. This is such a wonderful alternative I want to try when I find the right piece. Thanks so much!

  36. says

    Hi, Layla and Kevin! It’s been a long time coming, but I recently revealed the “Ordinal File Cabinet” I created before I started blogging. I love seeing different ways people interpret the lovely Anthro Ordinal Dresser, so I did a roundup of all the ones I’ve come across. Yours is included, of course. Hop on over and check them all out if you like!

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