Whitewashed Dresser Makeover

I stepped out of my comfort zone with this one. Typically I keep everything pretty safe & neutral with furniture, especially when I’m refinishing them. There’s nothing worse than putting a ton of work into something and cursing the way it turned out.

I’ve been there. I can still feel the frustration.

Last weekend I was given a campaign dresser. It was in pretty rough shape, but the bones were great and I knew it could look awesome. Problem was, I didn’t feel like keeping it safe. And that scared me.

I wanted it to be a little bit different. Read: I actually felt like stepping out of my comfort zone.

So, with that I jumped on it.

And… it could be one of my favorite furniture transformations to date!

I mean, how couldn’t it be?

Whitewashed Dresser by The Wood Grain Cottage

But trust me, it didn’t always look that great… And this picture actually makes it look relatively good…

step 1 | The Wood Grain Cottage

See the potential? Me too!

First, I started by sanding the top.

step 2 | The Wood Grain Cottage

Then, I removed the drawers and sanded down the drawers and the dresser sides.

step 3 | The Wood Grain Cottage

I went through a ton of sand paper…. Yikes!

step 4 | The Wood Grain Cottage

Once everything was sanded, I wiped it down and stained the top with Minwax Dark Walnut.

step 5 | The Wood Grain Cottage

Everything else was stained with Minwax Golden Pecan.

step 6 | The Wood Grain Cottage

This combination was quite lovely as it was, but I knew I couldn’t chicken out on my vision.

step 7 | The Wood Grain Cottage

I let the stain dry, then gave the entire thing a light whitewash.

No picture for this step, sorry. Totally spaced it.

Basically, I just dipped the tip of my paint brush into plain white paint, then dipped it in a cup of water. I sporadically brushed it on, let it set for a few seconds (just enough for it to dry a smidge), then I gently wiped it off.

I was left with this:

step 8 | The Wood Grain Cottage

step 9 | The Wood Grain Cottage

After that, I took some medium grit sand paper and randomly sanded spots…

To protect the top for regular use, I sprayed it with a couple of coats of water based semi gloss poly.  I let it dry, then gave it a light sanding.

I gave the original hardware a good cleaning and then reattached it. With that, the dresser was done!

I love how the whitewash gives it an aged appearance.

Whitewashed Dresser Makeover by The Wood Grain Cottage

And the combination of the dark walnut top and whitewashed front and sides is lovely.

Whitewashed Dresser Makeover by The Wood Grain Cottage

The original hardware adds that extra bit of character too…

Whitewashed Dresser Makeover by The Wood Grain Cottage

It’s come such a long way, this little farmhouse dresser.

Whitewashed Dresser Makeover by The Wood Grain Cottage

Plus, I’m positive it was meant to go with our new driftwood mirror. They look stunning together.

Whitewashed Dresser Makeover by The Wood Grain Cottage

And there you have it!

See, stepping outside of the comfort zone can be a good thing! I’m so happy I did!

Have a great weekend!

Shayna | The Wood Grain Cottage

Linking up to:

Miss Mustard Seed

It’s Overflowing


  1. They do look great together Shayna! 🙂 WOW! beautiful and I love how you tried something different! we are seeing many painted dressers but yours is different and gorgeous! Did you use a lot of white paint on your brush or did you dip the brush a couple of times on the paint to achieve this look? I love the top too! 🙂 Again Shayna, you impress me with your transformations! 🙂
    Wish you a great weekend! 🙂

    1. Hello Ingrid! So happy you like it… I was ready for something different too! 🙂
      With the white paint, I barely dipped the brush in it and then dipped it in the water. It made a very “watery” consistency. Then, other times I would use a little less water to make the white stronger. It’s personal preference at that point!
      Have a fabulous weekend! 🙂

    1. THANK YOU so much lovely lady! And you were right… a tutorial was coming! 🙂
      Have a GREAT weekend!

  2. dresser redo came out great! I love the vignette you created with the mirror and lamp, etc. Looks like you have collected the pieces over time.

  3. Hello,

    I’m so glad I found your website, it is just so lovely! I wanted to know if you created the driftwood mirror in this post and if so, is there a tutorial for it?

    Thank you in advance! Hope to hear from you.

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