Painting the dresser | How About Orange

April 23, 2014

Painting the dresser


I've finally gotten around to painting the Craigslist mid-century Drexel Touraine dresser for the dining room. It looked like this before:


I primed it with Zinsser Cover-Stain oil based primer and then tried out Sherwin Williams ProClassic Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Enamel. It's one of the new "hybrid" paints that acts like oil, but is actually water based. The paint store assured me it has great leveling properties so brush strokes will disappear, but that didn't prove to be the case for me. The surface looks quite brush-strokey despite my efforts to lay it down quickly and not over-brush it. It's driving me crazy, but maybe I'll forget about it once the dresser is in place in the dining room. I tried researching online whether I could add Floetrol to a water based alkyd to help it level and gave up in confusion— and, let's be honest— laziness.

I'm moving on.

I want to spray paint the hardware.


Should I make it look brassy? Pretend this statue lady's arm is a drawer handle.


Or let's get crazy: Hot pink.


Here's a hasty Photoshop mock-up with brass.


Here's a hasty Photoshop mock-up with pink. Heck, let's paint the fancy trim around the bottom, too.


But remember, it's going to live in this room with nutty fuchsia wallpaper. A vintage lamp with a sleek brass cylinder base will sit on top.

My gut tells me it would be pink overkill. After all, a respected colleague once informed me that restraint is the second rule of design. But man, that pink is FUN. Maybe in a room that wasn't already swathed in pink.

I was going to use the original hardware, but the mocked-up rectangles are making me want something simple, modern, and less fussy. I wonder if I could find something like that.

What to do, guys?

UPDATE: I couldn't find new drawer pulls, so I tried for a brass paint job and didn't like the spray paint I used. So they're navy.

75 comments:

Nicole said...

Do you think the brushstrokes were a result of the type of paint used? Would you recommend another brand in that case? Also, what color is this? It's lovely!

Amy said...

Love it! I say brass hardware. It will still look fabulous. The pink is fun, but I do think it would be too much, plus if you ever wanted to move it to a different room, the pink may not work. And I like the original handles, but rectangular ones like you mocked up would also be fine. Excited to see the finished product!

Cindy deRosier said...

Brass yes, pink no. As another option, perhaps a glossy black?

Loren said...

Brass pulls will look amazing!
I do also love the pink trim at the bottom, but I think that will only work if you do not put it in front of a pink wall. Either way, looking great.

Jessica Jones said...

Yeah, I'm thinking brass, too.

Nicole, the color is Sherwin Williams Rare Gray. I've since looked up reviews on the paint, and some people have no problem and like it, and some said they hate it. So.... not sure what to make of that!

Benjamin Moore makes a comparable water based alkyd, I've read.

I really liked the Ace Cabinet, Door and Trim paint I used here:

http://www.howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2013/12/cheap-table-makeover.html

It leveled WAY better. I assume it's tintable? I just used white from the can on that project. But when I went back to my Ace to get some for this project, they didn't have it in stock anymore.

Jessica Jones said...

Cindy, black DID cross my mind, too. Hmm....

Monica said...

Nah, do the brass, you'll tire of the pink. It'll be overkill against the wallpaper.

Donna B. said...

I would argue that you'd be showing restraint by painting just the trim pink, as opposed to the entire top, or the entire dresser. (I'd probably paint the top in addition to the bottom trim, but I'm going a little crazy with color right now.) It's fun, creative, and you're a designer; you should definitely have bright, colorful, furniture in your house. In fact, I think it's a law. ;-) I vote pink + simpler handles.

Jessica Jones said...

Donna, that's the spirit! Yesterday I announced to my husband that I wanted to wallpaper one of the non-working fireplaces. This idea was not received well. But I know you will back me up.

rebecca said...

Maybe the primer has something to do with the brush strokes? Fountation is everything, right? The pink seems rather matchy-matchy. I like brass or black.

Grandma G said...

How about navy to go with the navy in the wallpaper?

Mum

Jessica Jones said...

You mean in the curtains, right?

Anonymous said...

I like the hot pink handles but the trim being pink as well is a bit much, imo. Leaving it plain would be boring, though. Maybe pink handles and white trim?

Erin said...

I vote brass! You can get some cool rectangle pulls at a home improvement store, similar to this: http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2013/12/how-to-spray-paint-hardware.html but maybe thinner for the dresser?

Grandma G said...

Well, no... I meant the wallpaper, 'cause that's what I thought it looked like in the pictures. But getting out my "stationery", I see that it's purple. So yeah... now I mean the curtains. :) Or go purple. ;)

Sorry... in a hurry and not paying attention very well. ;( I have sewing to do.....

Mum

Neal Crosson said...

I'll post another vote for brass. The pink is probably too much with the wallpaper.

I've used the ProClassic for trim and doors. I found that a small roller with a low nap gives the best finish on on broad flat areas but smaller areas will require a brush and you'll need to apply lightly and quickly to get the self-leveling. I hate to wrench this but I was disappointed in that paint for the mantle top. I let it cue for 2 weeks before setting things on it and they still stuck and marred the surface. A coat of "crystal clear" polyurethane will help. It comes in several finishes at most hardware stores. Just be sure to get "crystal clear" because regular polyurethane is yellowish.

jen beatty said...

I've used the Ben Moore version of this paint with the same primer. I recommend using a foam roller with both the primer and paint to avoid brush strokes. perhaps if you do a top layer of color with the roller you'll hide the strokes? if not, it's probably not worth sanding down to reapply with the roller.

I agree that you'll tire of the pink. but then, you could always paint it new at that point.

love the piece! nice work.

Jessica Jones said...

Neal, you just answered a couple questions for me--it's been a couple days and the top still feels sliiiightly sticky to me. I'm going to wait longer to set stuff on it, but was wondering about a clear sealer.

Can I use polycrylic, or does it need to be oil based?

Jessica Jones said...

And I'll add, I pressed the SW guy on the stickiness point, and he assured me nothing would stick to the finish. Lies, apparently! :)

Dawn Renee ' said...

I agree, black handles and trim (like the pink demo) though am not sure whether to use glossy black or matte.

Jean said...

What about white handles? Just a thought. Reuse the original handles and spray them.

Mimi said...

LOVE IT! I am hoping to create a kitchen island out of such a piece someday (creating shelves out of 1 or 2 of the drawer spaces) so you are beta-testing this project for me, thanks!

Was the primer brushed or sprayed on?

How about different (pink w-brass) hardware on the top smaller drawers and all-brass on the lower ones?

Jessica Jones said...

Brushed and then lightly sanded.

April said...

I vote brass! You've got enough pink in that room, plus if later you decide to move the piece somewhere else it'll blend better (no need to repaint; yay laziness). ;)

Denette said...

Can you do a photo shop with just the handles pink? Maybe that would be enough of a fun punch yet if you tired of it or moved the piece all you would have to do is respray the handles and not repaint the bottom color. Although it is very fun with the handles and bottom in pink.

shelley said...

i love the pink!

Anonymous said...

How about yellow handles? It would give the space a different pop of color.

Jules

Graphic Anthology said...

Brass hardware all the way! The pink would just be overkill and seem too matchy-matchy.

I thrifted a dresser like this once, painted in bright yellow and mixed it in with my mid century decor. I got so many compliments! To this day, one of my favorite projects.

Hayley Fortner said...

Lovely! What about navy (or whatever that deeper color in the wallpaper is) hardware and trim? The brass seems so light, but the pink is too much.

Lynn Butler said...

I'm for modern hardware. I like keeping the metals in a room similar. So go with the brass. I love the original handles but they really date the dresser. Since you went to the trouble of updating the color a more streamline handle will really transform it to NOW. Save the handles for another piece.

Jessica Jones said...

Love your comments, guys. Jules, I'm planning some yellow and chartreuse stuff in there to mix in with the pink and navy and gray. Tray, artwork, etc.

I briefly considered painting the whole dresser a yellowy chartreuse but decided it was too big. Better stick to little pops here and there.

RevAnne said...

Top & trim, as well as hardware, in a dark color in the room...black, the dark color in the wallpaper (navy? purple?), or from the drapes. Get simple cheap modern handles and paint them. That's my vote!
But whatever you do will be beautiful...I don't think you can lose with any of the suggestions...can't wait to see what you decide!

Lynda said...

I think you should mix styles up a little and go with a new sleek stainless or silver that matches your light fixture - modern vrs midcentury

Jessica Jones said...

I should clarify--the fixture is actually brass, though it looks more silvery in the photo.

The Needle Shop said...

Haha! Grandma G and I agree on something! Navy for contrast.

I always use a spray paint as the last layer. I've never achieved the desired smoothness with any kind of brush or roller.

The Needle Shop said...

PS. Silver leaf the whole thing and distress, then navy contrast.

Christina said...

I vote modern-y brass!

Becca said...

brass handles, contrast trim in pink or another color for fun-you can always repaint it.

Jessica Jones said...

Wooo, then I'd have a silvery fireplace, silver mirrors, AND a silver dresser. It would be like the inside of a treasure chest in the dining room. Hee!

Jessica Jones said...

Oops, my comment was in reply to The Needle Shop's.

Maggie said...

Brass for sure! I think you would get sick of the pink too soon, even though it would be a fun pop of color.

Gayle said...

That's a very nice dresser. You may want to try a mini roller next time. When I paint furniture I follow up with 3 coats of water base polyurethane with a fine sanding between coats. I use the satin finish and it softens the finish and gives it a more professional and less DYI appearance. Water base is key as it dries clear. Sometimes I lightly sand the painted surface first to knock off the lines. It can be difficult if you are not going for a rustic look to avoid exposing wood on the sharp edges. Plus, some paints will pill if they have a rubbery finish.

Katy said...

Brass, and line the drawers in pink if you're pining for a little more pink in your life!

cindyetta said...

I love the pink contrast on the dresser - but then I love color and may tend toward overkill too. What about chartreuse accents instead of pink since you will use that color in the space?

annie dee said...

Go pink on the handles but not trim. Pink handles look amazing!

FrancisMoore said...

No more pink, please.

Kathleen said...

Pink would be overkill but how about black trim?

Emily Camfield said...

Since the dresser is fairly pale, I think a dark color is needed for the handles to give it some contrast. Maybe a navy or glossy black?

I like the pink, but not with that wallpaper. Line the drawers with hot pink instead. :)

Jenny - AKA - frogmama said...

I think the dresser needs the borders back on the drawers. I liked that with the original piece -it played nicely with the wall paper. Perhaps a deepened fuchia/burgondy color? And add that to the tabletop as well. And brushstroked would add to the distressed value of the piece.

Madame Bazaar said...

I vote for brass!! definitely!

Katharine said...

Brass for sure. Modern ones I think would match the modern-color paint.
Love following along your home transformation! You have great taste.

Anonymous said...

Brass for sure. I love a pop of color but I like the brass better on this piece in this room.

chelle said...

Another party heard from. I vote black, too! Iron handles, maybe, and black trim.

Bridget said...

Love the pink... wow you should do that!! I have a similar dresser in my bedroom and this gives me some ideas...

Anonymous said...

Pink handles definitely, but get something totally out there, some kind of rococo nuttiness with lots going on. I love the pink legs on the piece and I think they actually will help anchor it in the room.

bastelschaf said...

Brass handles, pink trim!
Dark blue would be a bit on the dark, and white handles combined with the grey could look a bit hospital-ish, I think.
Here's another thought:
How about neon-yellow?

Best wishes
Bastelschaf

lp said...

So, I love the pink the most in the piece if it was standing alone, but in that room, the brass will probably look better. (The pink and gray is SO COOL, though! Maybe you have to incorporate that color combo elsewhere.)

Jenne said...

Brass handles, but paint the sides of the drawers pink! Then you'll only see it when the drawers are open, but it will still be fun.

Donna B. said...

Wait, wallpaper a fireplace? Genius! Are you talking about the surround or the INTERIOR since it is unused? Crossing my fingers that you mean the interior because I'm totally stealing this idea. I have two unused, read: ugly, fireplaces that I didn't know what to do with. Problem solved! Of course I've got your back on this; I can justify just about anything. ha ha

Neal Crosson said...

Jessica, yes, I used Polycrylic clear semi-gloss on mine. Again, I stress, get the one that says "crystal clear". I used it over white and it was just fine, in some light I felt like it made the white just a hair off, but no one else seemed to be able to see it even when I pressed them to be sure they were telling the truth. LOL.
It's excellent paint otherwise. I loved how easily I could scrub the baseboards and the doors took many beatings when we moved furniture around. Just, for some reason, you can't set things on a horizontal surface.

Jessica Jones said...

Neal, terrific. Good to know.

Donna, I mean BOTH. We've hit some snags with putting in a gas fire (though I've still got a little hope left), but if I can't, I have a dream of wallpapering the tile surround, which in my case is only 6" wide, AND the entire interior of the firebox. Ours has crumbling mortar and nasty brick I want to hide, so I'm thinking I could make a "box" insert that fits right inside, and the inside of that box would be wallpapered. The box would be removable, and the wallpaper on the tile would just be attached with double stick tape or repositionable spray adhesive if I wanted it to be temporary.

Donna B. said...

Jessica, I like where you're going with the box idea. That would eliminate the texture problem, and keep it from looking janky.

Jenne, I forgot to mention earlier, I really like your idea to paint the sides of the drawers. I love secret pops of color like that!

Grandma G said...

Sooooo.... do they make wallpaper that looks like a fire???

Mum

Laurinda said...

I LOVE the pink! But it would be lost in that room :-(
Have you considered brass 'gilt' along the bottom, like the mock-up with the pink? I think that would give a nice pop, without being overbearing

Heidi Hein said...

The brush stroky thing makes me crazy too. Think of it as "that expensive hand-painted look".
I will try that Sherwin Williams paint though.
The special cupboard and cabinet paint I used on my dresser (very similar to yours) was a big disappointment, it's peeling off like a bad sunburn. And I did Zinzer it in advance even though I was told it wouldn't be necessary.

Julie said...

While browsing Designsponge.com today, I spotted some lovely brass hardware that made me think of your dresser. Schoolhouse Electric makes some beautiful things! http://www.designsponge.com/2014/04/schoolhouse-electric-spring-2014-collection-weekly-wrap-up.html#more-196089

Jessica Jones said...

I'll take a look! I went to 2 hardware stores yesterday in search of modern pulls, but none came even close to fitting the existing holes-- which are quite big, since part of the handle fits inside the hole. I guess I’ll use the original ones and just paint them.

pak said...

You could putty the holes, sand and paint - then drill new holes for modern pulls.

kim snedden said...

having painted a similar dresser (from Craigslist), your hardware is not the place to show "your creativity". It will distract. Make it work for the room, but add color in more important ways.

Anonymous said...

I had that same dresser set, growing up mid-century. They were the epitome of little girl princess-ness. Not so much teenage girl hippie-ness. I like your transformation.

Stacey from Total City Girl said...

I HAVE that dresser! Or at least one that looks almost exactly like it. It's been through a million transformations already. It was my mom's when she was a kid. Then my sister and I used it growing up, then after college when I got my own apartment I took it with me. Now that I have 2 girls, they use it in their room. It's been repainted and restained so many times! I had the hardest time finding new handles for it as well because the holes are further apart than normal. I got it in some catalog but I forgot the name. If I find it I will let you know. I would like to reclaim the dresser for myself and get them a new one. Would love to do it over yet again! :)

wilifred said...

I went to an estate sale several years ago. One of the bedrooms had similar dressers & matching nightstand & headboard.

It was a special room. Hardwood floors & the walls were covered is mirrored tile with turquoise veining. The trim on the furniture was also turquoise.

I've always regretted that I came after the bedding had sold. I really wish I'd been able to see the room in all its glory.

Jessica Jones said...

Wooo, that sounds glorious indeed!

Mindy@FindingSilverLinings said...

I found a desk on craigslist in the exact style and painted it turquoise! I kept the original hardware because the 80's brass started to patina with some funky greens in it. I thought about painting it but kept it in the end. I think the key with painting old fashioned shaped furniture is to give it a modern twist. Check it out here if you'd like: http://www.findingsilverlinings.net/2011/04/18/how-to-spray-paint-wooden-furniture/
Love the pink by the way.

yours truly, melissa said...

What a great Craigslist find and I love the color you chose. Very pretty. My vote is for the brassy hardware.

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