Painting (Gilding) Ugly Furniture

When I realized that Rob and I needed a sideboard/credenza for our dining room to hold serving pieces and extra dishes, I began looking at all our options. I quickly realized that I didn’t really want a sideboard enough to part with hundreds of dollars. I wanted a stopgap sideboard that would suffice until I could afford the sideboard of my dreams.

Enter ugly dresser found from Craigslist:
Ugly Dresser 1
Ugly Dresser 2
This dresser had 4 things that made it the perfect temporary sideboard:
1. Cabinets with doors in addition to drawers. Drawers can be useful in a dining room (hello silverware storage), but for the most part they become unwieldy when filled with heavy dishes. The cabinets with doors are perfect for large heavy stacks of plates and other china. (The drawers are perfect for bulky large platters or those over-sized chip/dip trays that won’t fit anywhere else in your house.)
2. Interesting Hardware. The drawer pulls had some spunk.
3. Interesting Architecture. The cabinet doors had some intriguing ornament to them. Don’t get me wrong; it’s definitely UGLY — late 70’s/early 80’s plastic-glued-to-manufactured-wood furniture. However, when looking at the pictures of the dresser on Craigslist and later in person at the thrift store, I saw some potential.
4. Cheap price. I’m not going to euphemize this one; the dresser wasn’t affordable or cost-efficient. It was cheap. And at a fraction of the cost of my other options, I pulled the trigger.

Fast forward through the horrible difficulties of transporting over-sized, manufactured wood furniture (thanks Mom for letting me borrow your Envoy!), and I had to decide how to make this ugly dresser fit in our cute little home. I did some research online & decided on spray paint, but not just any old color. I chose silver spray paint with gold for the handles. We lugged the monstrosity outside, gave it a good cleaning, and 3 coats of spray paint later, Voilà!:
Painted Dresser/Sideboard
Painted Dresser/Sideboard
Painted Dresser/Sideboard

Gilding (silvering) makes it all look ok!

4 thoughts on “Painting (Gilding) Ugly Furniture

  1. Just rediscovered your page! I love this look…..do you think spray paint would work on an old particle board dresser? Is the paint holding up?

  2. The paint is totally holding up, and I think it would look great on an old dresser. I think the key is just going slowly and using enough to get an even finish. We’ve even spray painted some metal lawn chairs, and they look great. Use a glossy color or overcoat if you want a slick finish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *