A Chest of Drawers Makeover

Disclosure: I was gifted some beautiful drawer-knobs to complete my chest of drawers makeover. Trinca-Ferro have  so many lovely designs to choose from — pop along and grab some inspiration from their website Trinca Ferro

The Easter bank holiday gave me so many opportunities to roll up my sleeves and get a little creative.

Four lovely long days, where my boy was at home to keep an eye on our tiny sons, which gave me the chance to crack on with some projects I’ve been contemplating for a while.

We made Easter bonnets and Easter salt dough decorations, to hang on a little tree.

Plus I tried my hand at flower arranging for a styling challenge.

But the thing I was most desperate to do, over the four day bank holiday, was a chest of drawers makeover.

We’ve had two  IKEA Hemnes tallboys for more than 15 years now and I love them — because they generously proportioned and can hold a lot of clobber — but they aren’t the most attractive pieces of furniture we own.

They’re pretty enormous, which was fine when we first bought them. Our first home was the first floor of beautiful Victorian mansion block; huge rooms, with 12ft high ceilings, warranted large pieces of furniture to fill the space.

More than a decade on and we live in a tiny cottage — with fairly low ceilings and modest room sizes — and as a result, one of these poor old chest of drawers now lives in the shed!

The other sits in my dressing area and was just looking a bit tired and — dare-I-say-it — orange boring.

chest of drawers makeover
The IKEA Hemnes chest of drawers (ignore the cardboard under one of the legs – we have wonky floors in our cottage!)

Time For a Change

So I figured it was time to give this badboy tallboy a makeover.

Get rid of the orangey pine finish — and dull handles — and treat it to a little up-cycling magic. I’d seen lots of chest of drawers makeover ideas online and dresser painting ideas, so thought I’d bite the bullet and give it a new look.

So this is what I did…

A Chest of Drawers Makeover

chest of drawers makeover
Got myself some paint — Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is fab paint for a chest of drawers makeover.
chest of drawers makeover
And a decent brush!
chest of drawers makeover
Put some floor covering down as I was painting in our dressing room.
chest of drawers makeover
Gave the piece a first coat of paint. Fairly roughly — you don’t need to be too careful for the first coat.
chest of drawers makeover
And a second coat in Annie Sloan’s ‘Paris Grey’.
chest of drawers makeover
Next, I painted the drawers in ‘Old White’ — Annie Sloan again.
chest of drawers makeover
Chalk paint is perfect for a chest of drawers makeover — gives a lovely vintage, matt finish.
chest of drawers makeover
Painting all finished and waiting for drawer-knobs.

For The Love of Upcycling

I was so pleased with it, once it had been painted.

Much fresher than it had looked in years and finally starting to look less like a mass produced piece of furniture and more like a lovely get a personality all of its own.

I’ve up-cycled furniture in the past, using Annie Sloan paint — have a look at my desk up-cycling project — and used the clear soft wax after I’d painted. This time though I left the paint in it’s raw state. I love the matt, chalky finish and didn’t want the sheen that the wax gives.

Also, rather than use the original handles, I’d decided to search for some new ones and came across a fabulous online shop, called Trinca Ferro. They have so many different styles of handle, I was totally spoilt for choice.

Here is a little selection of some of my faves.

chest of drawers makeover
All the pretties — so hard to choose!

So many different kinds, I was like a kid in a sweetshop.

Ceramic, vintage, glass, bone , acrylic — in so many lovely shapes and designs. But I eventually narrowed it down to two that I really loved and kept coming back to.

chest of drawers makeover
chest of drawers makeover

And — as very often happens, in life — I found it just too difficult to decide between them. So ended up having both. Vintage style drawer-knobs in pink and green candy colours with intricate patterns.

They look so beautiful against the grey and old white and, in retrospect, it would have looked a bit bland to just have the same kind of design.

The two different colours and styles sit so nicely together.

chest of drawers makeover
My chest of drawers makeover complete!
chest of drawers makeover
chest of drawers makeover
chest of drawers makeover
chest of drawers makeover
My IKEA Hemnes chest of drawers — post makeover

Please share, if you like this!

About Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

49 thoughts on “A Chest of Drawers Makeover

  1. I love this Caro, so pretty. I painted my solid pine bedroom furniture a matt cream about 15 years ago and have never grown bored of it. I have the original un painted knobs on them now but I am thinking that a change might be nice! However, with so much choice it might take me a while xx

    1. Oooh YES Lisa!!! Another update! :) The lovely thing about changing the hardware is, if you get bored of it after a couple of year, you can choose something else and change it again!! I look forward to seeing what you choose :) xx

    1. Thanks so much Angela! It’s SO much fun isn’t it? I love seeing how something can be totally transformed with a little bit of time and a lick of paint :) xx

  2. Oh my! I love this make-over, so stunning. I love Annie Sloane paint, we’ve upcycled a Welsh Dresser & Sideboard for our kitchen although it was before I started blogging so didn’t take any photos :( #HomeEtc

    1. Thanks lovely — it’s weird isn’t it? I know some people who absolutely hate it and don’t like the finish it gives but I LOVE it!! :)

      Shame you don’t have any before pics of your dresser. I think I was destined to be a blogger!!! I’ve been taking pictures of things — in progress — for years and years!! It’s so nice to be able to finally do something with all these photographs now I have my blog!! :) x

  3. They look lovely! I wish I had the confidence to do this, I have 2 sets of shelves that I want to replace for the lounge, but there is nothing wrong with them (apart from maybe being a big short-but that’s just me being fussy!) I keep thinking about giving them a bit of a makeover but I am so unsure whether I am patient enough! xx

    1. Aaah do it Clare!! You could even make them taller and paint the whole lot so no-one would ever know! I LOVE giving furniture a makeover — lovely to see something get a new lease of life! x

  4. Wow they look amazing! You really did such a great job! Did it take you long? I’d love to be brave enough to tackle my lounge furniture, but it’s mahogany so I expect it will be difficult?! And I’d love to give my dining room table and chairs ago, but really don’t know where to start! Another reason to love this linky! Well done on your beautiful up-cycle :) x

    1. Thanks so much Jess! DO IT!! What’s the worst that can happen? It took a weekend to do the chest of drawers — a dining room table and chairs would take a few weekends but it would be SO worth it :) There are Annie Sloan painting classes around the country to give you the basics — they might be worth thinking about if you’re unsure where to start xx

  5. Aah, that looks so lovely! I haven’t made over any furniture in ages, it makes me want to work on a piece! Paris Grey is a perfect colour, I love it – and French Linen is another gorgeous shade. I’ve got some drawer knobs from Trinca Ferro too, they offer such a nice selection. Anthropologie knobs are always amazing as well. Can you tell I’ve got a bit of thing for hardware! x

    1. Thanks so much :) Funnily enough my desk is in French Linen!! Love Annie Sloan chalk paint — although it does get quite addictive!! Once I finish one piece I’m looking for something else to paint!! ;)

  6. Wow. I absolutely love how this looks like a completely different piece of furniture. A adore Annie Sloan paint, it’s just so simple to use. I’m lazy with prepping so it’s perfect.


    1. HA! I’m lazy with the prepping too Cat!! ;) Chalk Paint is perfect for that isn’t it? Just slosh it on and away you go!! The experts would probably be appalled at my lack of finesse but as long as it looks nice, I don’t need a pristine finish :)

    1. Thanks so much Lizzie. I love the knobs too!! As with the paint, I just couldn’t decide on one colour — so ended up with two!! There’s alot to be said for being greedy indecisive ;) x

  7. WHAT a transformation you VERY clever lady. Want to paint everything I own now! Thanks for hosting with me, loving our linky :) Jess x #HomeEtc

    1. Thanks so much pet! I think that there’s something you can buy to add to make your own chalk paint! Will have to have a think and let you know — you could be the Irish/German equivalent of Annie Sloan ;) xx

  8. Gosh what a difference it makes, you would never know it was the same piece of furniture! I went on an Annie Sloan painting course at the start of the year just to see what it was all about and really loved the finish you can get. Totally agree that matt works well on this without the need for the wax and those handles are so cute! x #HomeEtc

    1. Amazing isn’t it? Gott love IKEA!! I haven’t been on the Annie Sloan course but have used the chalkpaint with and without wax — would like to see how they do the wax themselves because I wasn’t so keen on the finish. Thanks for stopping by! x

  9. Oh my goodness – what a TOTAL transformation! I love how it’s clean and contemporary and cottage-y all at the same time, I’m totally inspired. I’ve heard great things about Annie Sloan chalk paint, I’ve just never had the right project to use it for yet, but watch this space because you’ve got me thinking! xx

    1. Aaah its addictive — that’s the only thing!!! I’ve painted a fair few pieces now — we’ll end up with a house FULL of painted furniture!! ;)

  10. Wow Caro! What a transformation! I love the grey and white together! I would have struggled to choose out of all those beautiful handles too, you made a great choice though xx

    1. Thanks lovely!! Me too!! :) It was a bit of a gamble… I just couldn’t decide which colour I wanted to do it in, so I chose both!! Was never great at making decisions!! ;)

  11. That looks great – I’ve looked at Annie Sloan’s paints before – are they as good as everyone says? I want to paint an old iron garden table, which lives outside most of the year! #homecorner

    1. I love her chalkpaint — my friend absolutely hates it and prefers to paint everything with eggshell! I’s suggest getting a tester jar and trying it out on something small — just to get the feel of it. Personally I love it :)

  12. This is so nice it makes me want to get all creative and start doing something with our furniture x

  13. I am seriously impressed, the finished article as absolutely beautiful hun. What an amazing job you’ve done xxx

  14. Caro this looks so beautiful, I am look for a desk to restore, so excited about it but cant find the right one, love all the door knobs I want blue glass ones I think but need the dest first ha ha, will be referring back to this fab post xx

    1. I bought my desk off Ebay for about £50 Sarah! And funnily enough, after I’d up-cycled it, saw something similar in a lovely vintage shop for about £350!! Amazing what a bit of paint and new handles can do! ;) xx

    1. Thanks so much Angela! Aaaargh — it was SO hard to choose!!! I love the yellow one too!! May need to create another piece of furniture so I can use some more!! ;)

  15. So pretty, I would love to do this with some of our ikea furniture (when I find the time) I’ve found this post so inspiring Caro! How pretty are the handles too? I really would be spilt for choice, I love the clock ones. They are just those little bits and pieces that I love to pick up even if I don’t have a use for them yet :) xx

    1. Thanks so much Hayley! I love IKEA products but these definitely didn’t fit with the style of our house any longer. It’s amazing what you can do with a tin of paint, isn’t it? The handles have really finished it off well too! If there hadn’t been so many knobs on the drawers, I would have chosen numbered ones but sadly they only went up to 10 and I needed 12!! xx

  16. This looks fantastic! I agree that it looks best with both sets of handles, a little variety really does spice things up a little and the two you have chosen are beautiful!
    I’m planning on getting some charity shop chests of drawers and bedside cabinet to revamp for the boys bedroom. Did you need to sand it down at all? Also was it just a wood undercoat you used first or a special type? xxx

    1. Thanks Katie :) If you’re using Chalk paint, there’s no need to undercoat or sand. Any other paint — eggshell or gloss — and you’ll need to lightly sand the surface before you start, in order to give it a ‘key’. I always tend to undercoat pieces with bog standard emulsion (!) this also gives it a bit of a key. The chalk paint gives pieces such a lovely finish but is prone to fingerprints and knocks. If you want a hardwearing finish, you’ll need to wax it — or just use eggshell paint, which gives a lovely, hardwearing, sheen xx

  17. oh I love it Caro! your so flipping good at this stuff I have and awful orange chest of drawers in the girls room that I want to paint I highly doubt it’ll turn out as good as your though! x

    1. Thanks Amy — that’s so lovely of you! Get the paints out!! You won’t regret it — I promise! They do some beautiful drawer-knobs for a little girls room. Butterflies and all sorts! x

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