Vintage Dresser to Living Room Storage

See how Jen of the blog City Farmhouse turned an old dresser into stylish storage that keeps away clutter in her living room.

See how Jen of the blog City Farmhouse turned an old dresser into stylish storage that keeps away clutter in her living room.

Every parent knows this story: Kids' toys start in their room and somehow take over every room of the house. For blogger Jen of City Farmhouse, this was an all-too-familiar refrain when her kids were young. Her living room was littered with toys, and she wanted a place to quickly stash these items when guests came over. She was also on a tight budget, so she sought out a thrifted piece that would suit her needs.

The Find: Dated Dresser

Jen found the storage piece she was looking for in a dated vintage dresser. The wood sported the blah brown finish of many inexpensive thrift store finds, but the construction was solid and the drawer pulls were still in good condition. She took it home and geared up for a major furniture makeover.

Tip: When scouring resale shops and flea markets, examine a piece of furniture carefully before you buy it. Is it structurally sound? Are any pieces missing? Will it be worth the cost of updating it? Check for any unpleasant odors, water damage, mold, and bugs. If anything seems suspicious or raises red flags, it's best to skip it.

The Makeover: Fresh Paint

Jen went with a classic creamy white to match her other living room furniture and decor. She removed the hardware, then got to work on the painting process. Note: Depending on the finish, some pieces may need to be stripped before they can be painted. If you aren't stripping the furniture, the basic steps are as follows. Always wear a protective mask and work in a well-ventilated area when priming and painting.

Step 1. Clean and wipe down surfaces

Step 2. Apply primer and let dry

Step 3. Sand and wipe with tack cloth

Step 4. Paint and let dry, applying additional coats if needed

Stumped on a design? Try one of these furniture painting ideas

The Details: Revamped Drawer Pulls

Although she liked the handles the dresser came with, Jen wanted a different look. She coated the existing hardware in a glass spray paint to give them the appearance of vintage mercury glass. The reinstalled pulls pop against their white background. Now, the finished dresser-turned-storage-unit sits on one side of the living room as a place to display a piece of abstract art, add additional lighting to the room via a pair of lamps, and of course, stash any stray toys.


  1. Looks great. Most 'wood' furniture is laminate. A great update to a thrift store find.

  2. Heartbreaking. Though the idea of using this beautiful dresser for storage is a great one, I have several throughout our home for just that, none are painted. I will never understand the need to paint well made beautifully grained wood vintage furniture, other than it being a quick fix. They lose their character. Not to mention how much harder it will be for someone in the future to restore it.

    1. personal preference!

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