31 Days of Character Building: Thrift Store Furniture

Welcome to Day 17 of my 31 Day Series, Building Character.  One of the easiest ways to give a space a unique personality is by bringing in a unique piece of furniture.  



Not only is thrifting an economical option for me but,  it's the best way to find unique pieces.  I found this dresser at the Goodwill for $12.  The finish wasn't very attractive but I loved the shape of it and the feet.  Here is what it looked like when I brought it home...





***Tip: Furniture that has feet or legs works the best in a small room.  It takes up less visual space and makes the space to appear larger.***

$12 is an unbelievable buy even in a thrift shop.  The drawers worked perfectly and aside from a few chips (which I like because it adds to the character) I could not figure out why this solid wood, vintage, brand name piece was so cheap. 
Well, once I got it home and brought it inside my "furniture studio" I figured it out.  
It smelled!  It smelled like an old ashtray.  I wasn't willing to give up on it.  It was perfect for my dining room.  So, I removed the drawers and sprayed the inside of the dresser and the insides of the drawers with spray primer.  Not only did it completely eliminate the smell, but it looks great!

After I got rid of the smell, I gave it the Potterybarn Black Finish Treatment from my video tutorial.  
If you haven't seen it, here it is:
(You can click on the frame to view it larger)


I went easy on the distressing on this piece.  It was going into my formal dining room so I wanted it to look more formal than my usual pieces.  


I use the drawers for business papers and supplies.  This room is actually my double duty office space and formal dining room.  You could use the drawers in your dining room for entertaining supplies, silverware, table linens and even plates or serving pieces.  It never ceases to amaze me how bringing a dresser into any room amps up it's character.  



Thanks for visiting!  See you tomorrow!
To view the entire 31 Day Series, Click Here. 
For information on my affordable online design services, Please click here.  

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53 comments:

  1. It is a gorgeous piece!

    Jenny
    www.simcoestreet.blogspot.com

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  2. Just a quick question for you...I have recently redone the hutch in my kitchen black using your tutorial. So far we've done all the steps and we are just waiting to decide if we need one more coat of paint or not. However I have noticed that the top of my hutch has gotten what looks to be fingerprints and even a couple of spots of water on it (I have three young children who like to throw anything and everything up there).

    So I'm wondering if the wax that you use at the end will be sufficient protection for the piece or if I should use something else like water based polyurethane? I don't plan on letting the kids continue to pile stuff on the hutch a anymore but I'm still worried about it showing every little thing. Any suggestions? Thanks for such a great site I LOVE what you do!

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    1. Was reading your post have u thought about getting a thin piece of glass cut to go over the top.

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  3. My Mom gave me a wonderful old trunk. I plan on re-doing it, but haven't been able to get rid of the stink! Not smoke, but just old nasty trunk. I am going to have to prime/paint it like you did. I hope it works for my piece too!

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    1. Ozium in the car aisle at Walmart gets rid of about any smell

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  4. So glad you posted this...I have a dresser in my foyer, that we painted on the outside and love it, but the inside smells like an old attic. I was wondering if spraying the inside would eliminate the smell, thanks Sarah!

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  5. Distressed black furniture is my favourite look. Your dresser looks perfect in your dining room- love a great remake.

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  6. Looks beautiful. Great tip on spraying the inside with primer to eliminate smells.

    Visiting from Tutes and Tips and may stay a while. :-)

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  7. Amazing, I love it all, the rug, the dining room, the black, so chic. Great piece! And a terrific price too. I'm going to read more about your 31 Days series :-)

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  8. Jami, please email me at theyellowcapecod@yahoo.com. We can talk about your hutch a little more. You should be able to wipe fingerprints away with a rag. As far as the water spots, I would not let anything wet sit directly on the piece. One thing you could do is put something on the top to protect it, like a table runner or placemat. Best regards, Sarah

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  9. Gorgeous and perfect in your dining room/office. Excellent tip on getting rid of the funk :)

    Your entire home oozes style and class and is one of my favourites. I've loved reading your entire 31 days series, I don't want it to end.

    Thanks for linking to the party Sarah! Greatly appreciated.

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  10. Chic, modern and sophisticated and all for just $12! YOur newest follower

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  11. I love it!!! I recently just purchased a similar 9 drawer dresser....haven't done anything with it yet though. Such a great find and for $12, more than worth it!! Instant follower.

    xx Patience

    http://whitelacquer.blogspot.com/

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  12. This is just what I've been looking for! love how it turned out and wow what a find!

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  13. what is the color of your walls? I love it against the black!

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  14. Could you please let us know the paint color of the walls? I have been looking and looking for this and have not been able to find it. Is it a Benjamin Moore color? Thank you!

    Deanna

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  15. Hi, love it! I'm also wondering about the color ob the walls!

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  16. I have this dresser! Bought it in 1990 from our neighbor. It belongs to my daughter now. I just suggested painting it black to her. Going for supplies tomorrow! Thanks for the post!

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  17. Sarah, it looks like one drawer pull was missing. Am I wrong or were you able to find a replacement?

    Beautiful job!

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  18. Libby, LOL how did you notice that? Yes, the pull was missing. However, it was tucked away in one of the drawers. It was really only missing the screws. Thanks for stopping by. Sarah

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  19. I have been looking for a dresser that I was willing to spend the time refinishing. I found one this week for $40 at goodwill. It is in such great shape, I'm kind of afraid I will ruin it! Hopefully it will turn out as nice as yours! Love it.

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  20. Love! And love your blog! Is your dining room table from the thrift store too? If not, how were you able to match the black paint/finish on the dresser piece? Thanks!

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  21. Sarah, I just inherited a vintage writing desk from my grandmother. It is a very well-built piece, but it is HIDEOUS! I'm in the middle of trying your technique on it (I have developed a deep-seated aversion to sand paper now...) but I have a question about the stain pen. Might be silly, but is the color of the stain just a personal preference?

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    1. Yes, I like the darker tones, they show up a little better :)

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  22. Beautiful piece of furniture!! And I love the wall color. Do you know the name of the paint?

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  23. I just bought the exact same dresser from a thrift store. Mine was a bit more pricey at $45 though. I didn't mind since it was in pretty good condition minus a few chips and dents, and it's solid! I'm in the process of painting it white for my daughter's bedroom. I wanted a more modern look so I removed the medallions and hardware. I also filled in the lines of the drawers with wood filler, not sure if that was a mistake yet :/ did you put a protective clear coat on it? If so, which one? I love the look of yours in black...that's what I was thinking as I was working on it, wishing I had a formal dining room to put it in with it's original hardware. I hope it turns out as nice!

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  24. Love the piece and love the background music on the tutorial.

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  25. I. Love the way the black looks. I have found that it gets really dusty and it shows up daily after I dust. Do you have this issue or maybe it's something I've painted with.

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  26. really beautiful transformation. you did a wonderful job

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  27. She really wants that paint color to be a secret!

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  28. I really love that wall Color... what is it called? Thanks! Sarah. Sdjager @msn.com

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  29. Greetings! I LOVE your work and am in the midst of sanding/painting a desk I pulled away from my landlords curb! Very solid and I'm hoping it looks as good as the pieces that you've done. Two questions though. First, when I'm sanding some of the lines/corners towards the end, they don't look like a clean line. Is that ok? Second question, what is the name of your BEAUTIFUL wall color??! I LOVE IT!

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  30. Hi there, thanks for the kind words on the dresser and wall color. The paint is Martha Stewart "Crevecouer". Thanks again, Sarah

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  31. I also love this piece of furniture, I have the same type of furniture in my bedroom. When I redid the walls in my room my brother thought my furniture was so dated, and thought I should get rid of the furniture,I told him he was crazy, I love my furniture. I did not redo the pieces yet, but I plan on it someday!

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  32. I just did the same exact dresser in a burnt orange! Took top drawers out and will be using as a TV console. DVR stuff fits perfectly in the top drawer spaces!

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  33. can you tell me what color and brand the wall is in the background?

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  34. Oh my gosh. I honestly thought you bought that from a store, I have been trying to look for it. It is amazingly beautiful. Love it.

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  35. I wonder if running a wax candle along the edges of the piece (where the bare wood will be exposed) will block the white primer showing through.

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  36. Your dresser really turned out great! I have some bedroom furniture that I may have to try painting black. Thanks for the tutorial.

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  37. Do you also paint the sides and insides of the drawers?

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  38. The music cracked me up! Beautiful job.

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  39. I have a tip for those of you who purchase treasures that have an unpleasant odour. Spread fresh, dry coffee grounds all over the inside of the drawers and in to each nook and cranny, then shut the drawer and walk away. Leave it for a few days, then dump out the bulk and vacuum the rest out. I have done this for numerous pieces and have never to date had any of the odours return. Even items rescued from barns and basements are odour free! You will be able to smell the coffee for a few days, then nothing. My latest find is about to benefit from this awesome tutorial! Thanks for sharing.

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  40. I redid my bedroom furniture using your tutorial and it is absolutely gorgeous!!! Thanks for helping me update!

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  41. What is the name of the green paint, I love it?

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  42. What is the name of the green paint?

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  43. she responded about the paint color above. I love that paint too. martha Stewart "Crevecouer"

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  44. Just clear spray works to get out stink just as well.!

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  45. Clear spray works just as well to mask as moke smerll!

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  46. Just clear spray works to get out stink just as well.!

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  47. It's beautiful! I have an old dresser that I want to refinish in black. I can't wait to try this out!

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