Rustic Charmer: From Dresser to Entryway table (Using Americana Chalky Finish Paint!) + An Entryway Reveal!

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A HUGE thank you to Decoart for supplying all the paint used for this fabulous dresser makeover! 

You guys! It’s finished! This dresser makeover and entryway redo has been looming over me since November. It’s been a super slow process because I postponed doing it all until after the Holidays were over. And…well, they’ve been over for awhile. But finally I hammered down and completed it all, and we are SO HAPPY with the results!! Just wait until you see the before and after. You’ll for sure be raising an eyebrow and questioning my decor ideas in the “before.” I totally don’t blame you; I am too. It’s definitely one of those, “WHAT the heck was I thinking?” (or, WTHWIT) moments. Ever have one?

Here’s my dresser to entryway table!

Such a dramatic makeover! A dresser turned into a rustic entryway table, using baskets and Decoart's Americana Chalky Finish paint! | Dwelling in Happiness    #furniture #dresser #redo #chalkpaint A couple of weeks ago I posted about this entryway and some of my plans (you can read all about it here.) I mentioned really wanting to lighten up this whole area AND my entire living room. You see, I had been on a total black furniture kick when we got married. I painted everything we owned black. And not just black, but shiny high gloss black. Why? I have no clue. It really made our whole living space darker. Since we don’t have a ton of natural light in here, I really wanted to try and do what I could to brighten it all up. I think I succeeded!

We started by painting the entryway gray. It was a avocado green before, because I apparently thought it was a pretty color. Again, a “WTHWIT?” moment. So we painted the wall to match the rest of the living room. I also really wanted to replace the shiny black table with something that had more storage. I have seen so many repurposed dressers lately used in living rooms. I had to have one, too! I searched and searched and finally found a dresser for $30 on Craigslist. It was actually a steal, because every other dresser I found was at least $50, and most were way more. Even for the really crappy broken ones. I guess everyone else is redoing furniture, too? 🙂

SONY DSCThis poor guy was a mess. Dirty, scratched, and so sad looking. One of the top small drawers was totally missing its bottom, and the bottom one was missing a handle.

SONY DSCBut, I knew it had so much character. I loved the paneling on the sides and the curves in the front. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, too. AND bonus: the pretty glass drawer handles you’ll see close up later were already on the drawers. Total score!

I really wanted to strip the top and stain it a dark walnut. The rest of the body I wanted to be white with a little chippyness (why isn’t this a real word?). I had painted a few dressers in my day, but never have I stripped, stained, and worked with wood like this. It was a new adventure! Friends, I did not know the horror that was waiting for me under this black exterior.

SONY DSCBecause I had no idea what I was doing, I started sanding the top. For a very, very long time. I only got this far (and only got a tiny little bit of wood to show through on the edge) when I realized this was going to need so much more help.

SONY DSCI did a little research and found that this guy should do the trick. I slathered on a thick coat and let it sit for half an hour.

SONY DSCWhen I went back and started scraping, I found out that this poor dresser had literally 6 coats of different colored paint under the black. I scraped as much off as I could, but realized I needed another coat of Citristrip. And another. And another.

SONY DSCAaaaaaand another. Another 3, to be exact. Yes, 7 coats of Citristrip later and FINALLY I had all the paint scraped off. I don’t know how many hours I actually spent stripping (hm, that could sound really bad if you didn’t know I was talking about a dresser). I even had David help me for awhile, scraping off as much old paint as he could. This poor sad dresser had been used and abused with all the paint. It had been (by order of which we saw) baby blue, green, red, dark blue, white, and black. I actually felt bad that I was going to be giving the rest of it yet one more coat of paint.

When I finally got all the paint off the top, it looked like this:

SONY DSCYikes. That wood had sure seen better days. After all that work, I almost just said “to heck with it” and painted it white, too. But, I had come this far. So, I took out my sander again and sanded for another hour or two. It didn’t get a whole lot better than that, but I decided I liked the old and “worn” look. And I had invested way too much of my time to give up. I’m so happy I didn’t!

I used Decoart’s Americana Chalky Finish chalk paint in Everlasting for the body of the dresser. For the top, I used their translucent Gel Stain in Walnut. I had no idea they even made wood stain, but when I stumbled across it on their website, I had to give it a try!

SONY DSCSadly, I got so into staining and painting the dresser that I forgot to take pictures of the process. But, the after pictures show it off quite nicely! The Americana Chalky Finish paint is amazing. It’s so creamy and goes on smooth. A little goes a long way, and I found doing a few thin coats did the trick. It covered up the black paint no problem, with NO sanding required. Which, won major points in my book considering I literally spent hours sanding the top of that dresser. The gel stain worked beautifully, too. I brushed it on and used a clean dry cloth to wipe it off as I went. I did two coats of the stain for the top, and only used one small bottle! I did a few coats of a polycrylic finish (with a light sanding between coats) as well, to protect the top from scratches. I totally forgot to get wax for the rest of the dresser, so I might have to add that on later.

Now, for the after pictures!

SONY DSCI took out the broken drawers on top and decided to use baskets instead. I think it makes it look less “Dresser-ish.”

SONY DSCThe Americana Chalky finish paint distressed like a dream, too! I only did a light sanding all around the edges and it did exactly what I was hoping for.

SONY DSCAnd these glass pulls; aren’t they perfect? I love the blue tint they give. They’re probably worth about 2/3 of what I paid for the actual dresser! I totally got a deal.

SONY DSCThe side paneling gives it a little extra personality. And those top curves!


SONY DSCThe Americana Gel Stain was exactly what I was hoping for; a beautiful, rich, dark finish. If you look closely you can still see imperfections in the wood, but I love the rustic feel to it. And, it’s a reminder of all the work I put into it! (My chalk painted candlesticks match perfectly on top, too!)

SONY DSCI added some of David’s vintage piano books under the vase for a personal touch.


SONY DSCOk, are you ready for a before and after? These are the best!

This entryway definitely got quite the transformation!

Such a dramatic makeover! A dresser turned into a rustic entryway table, using baskets and Decoart's Americana Chalky Finish paint! | Dwelling in Happiness    #furniture #dresser #redo #chalkpaint Yay! No more green. Bye bye, orange. See ya later, shiny black table! And, adios to those internet cables in that green basket. They are now tucked away in the bottom drawer, never to be seen to the naked eye again.

My gallery wall got a makeover and a new home, too! You can check it out here. (PS: keep an eye out for the tutorial on the rustic clock coming in the next couple of weeks!)

SONY DSCI just can’t get enough of this pretty little thing. And, because before and afters are just fun, here’s one of the dresser itself:

Such a dramatic makeover! A dresser turned into a rustic entryway table, using baskets and Decoart's Americana Chalky Finish paint! | Dwelling in Happiness    #furniture #dresser #redo #chalkpaint And wow, this post got really long! I hope your week is going great so far!

Would you turn a dresser into another piece of functional furniture? If so, where would you put it?

(You can visit here to see some more fabulous furniture and decor upcycles!

(I link up at these fun parties!)

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    • Amanda says:

      Thank you, Erin!! Ahh it was such a task. but I’m SUPER glad I stuck it out, too! I’m so so happy with it all. Thanks for visiting! Hope you’re having a wonderful week! 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks, friend!! Such a better difference, too!! My hubby and I looked at the before pictures and were seriously wondering what we were thinking. Ok, I was wondering…my hubby didn’t do any decorating. 😉 But he likes this better!

  1. Kendra @ says:

    You did an amazing job, Amanda! Definitely worth the wait to see this beauty! The baskets look perfect… the knobs are beautiful!! Love it, girl!!! 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you, Cynthia!! I think the black paint hid all the pretty features of the little dresser. The white really shows it all off! Thanks for visiting! Happy Friday. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Aw thank you, meaghan! Ha, you’re so right!! Had I known how involved this little project would be, I don’t think I would have done it all! I just couldn’t give up after getting so far though. 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend!

  2. Selene Galindo says:

    Your dresser and entryway look fabulous! I know what you mean about wanting to change all the furniture’s color! We bought everything in dark brown when we got married and I’m very slowly trying to brighten things up with paint! Oh, and I love the way you decorated it, too!!
    Selene Galindo recently posted…DIY Wire Basket {for under $6!}My Profile

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you, friend!! I’m not sure why I decided to paint it all dark in the first place! Funny how our tastes can change every few years. 🙂 Thanks for visiting, hope you’re having an awesome weekend!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you, Gilly! Ahhh I never knew stripping could be SO much work! But it was definitely worth it! I want more furniture to strip and refinish now. 🙂 Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

  3. Mary says:

    You crack me up!! I was laughing not at you but the similarities.. avacado wall (yes me too) shiny black painted furniture ( yes me too) i love the way you have gone. Walls and sweet dresser are lovely. Maybe I can cross over and get rid of some of my old color choices. It seems like such a large job. Thanks for inspiring
    Mary recently posted…Pottery Barn Look Alike-Shop My StashMy Profile

    • Amanda says:

      Ha, thanks Mary!! I really loved the color when we moved in, but I think I just got tired of it! And I really wanted to brighten our space up. It’s really doing the trick! If you take one thing at a time, you can definitely do it. Our entryway is done, and now I’ll slowly be painting some other black pieces of furniture here and there. Hope you’re having a great weekend! 🙂

  4. Brenda Young says:

    Love the entryway makeover, it’s amazing what a little paint can do! definitely don’t forget to wax that baby to protect and seal all your hard work! I love the two tone finish.

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you, Brenda! Thanks for the tip on waxing; sadly, I’ve never waxed furniture before!! Any suggestions on if I should do a clear wax or an antique wax? Hope you have a great week! 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Aw, thank you friend!! I’m really happy with the wood top. Halfway through I thought I was wasting my time, but I’m SOO glad I kept on! 🙂 Hope you’re having an awesome (and warmer!) week!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you so much, Carrie! 🙂 It has been such a long time coming, and I’m happy it’s finished. It really looks sooo much better than before! Hope you’re having a fabulous week!

  5. Jamie | anderson + grant says:

    I can totally relate to how you must feel removing that many coats of paint to get to the bare wood. It was so worth it, though, because this turned out beautifully! I love how you customized the dresser by adding the baskets at the top in place of the drawers. It is such a nice look for your entry! I’m sharing this as one of my favorites tomorrow at the party 🙂 Hope you are having a great week, Amanda!
    Jamie | anderson + grant recently posted…Photography 101 | Learning about Exposure CompensationMy Profile

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you, Jamie! Yes, it was totally worth all the hours of endless stripping and sanding! I’m really glad I stuck with it, because I love the end result. And besides, stained wood is just SO pretty! Thanks for stopping by, and thank you SO much for featuring it tomorrow! 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you so much, Emily!! Ha, believe me, I almost DID give up! It was ridiculous the amount of stripping it required. My arm was so sore each day after working on it! But, I’m happy I did stick with it because I love it! Thanks for visiting today! 🙂 I definitely joined your party this morning!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you, Mila! We love how it all looks now, and the dresser is just SO much prettier and functional than the little black table we had. Thanks for stopping by today! 🙂

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