Ideas for Painting a dresser

mzdeeJune 8, 2007

In a recent move, I inherited some furniture; a dresser/mirror, chest, and night stand. All pieces are really sturdy and drawers (insides) are heavy wood. In really good condition.

The finish is some kind of melamine wood finish. I'd like to take a crack at painting one of the pieces. Maybe start with the night stand.

Any ideas about colors other than white? Stenciling or other painting ideas? Type of paint?

I thought maybe I could start with the nightstand and repurpose it to holds a plant etc. on my landing.

I'm anxiously awaiting your ideas!


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Hi mzdee~ I've read that melamine is pretty hard to paint unless you use paint specifically for it. I think Walmart carries a melamine paint now so I'm sure your hardware store would too. Can you post a pic? Being able to see the lines of the furniture might inspire more ideas. Also what is your decorating style? I like prim so I really like black furniture if it has simple lines. That's kinda the same as just painting it white. ha Sounds like you may want to do something a little more decorative. ~Anj

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 10:49AM
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Hi, I like Zinsser primer. The label says it will stick to slick surfaces like paneling and glossy paint, and vinyl or aluminum siding. I would sand it slightly first and try it. Any leftovers can be used on other projects. Do a search for painting melamine. There are some different websites with advice. Please post a picture. Linda

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 6:05PM
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Hi! I agree with Linda about sanding the piece slightly first. I've heard that before in reference to painting slick surfaces.
I think you should paint it an accent color that goes with your decor. In my living room here, I'd probably paint it pink because I have slight shades of pink in some of my accessories. And most plants look good with pink. (Unless they have orange flowers!)
If it's standing on a plain carpet or plain floor, I might add a few flourishes to the piece. But if you've got designs on your walls or carpet, then just keep it plain and let the plant be the decoration.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 11:07PM
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You really don't want to sand something made of fake wood because of the crap they put in it to make it and also it can actually peel up any of the "paper" if any was used to cover the piece.

Are you sure that it's melamine? It seems a lot of people are calling all of the fake stuff melamine these days. Melamine is the stuff that you find some of the closet organizers and things like that made of. You know the white stuff and it's a harder sort of textured surface than the other stuff.

I have painted over numerous items in our house that were fake wood and have never sanded! Most of the house is fake wood because it's a trailer so we have lots of paneling and what not. I just prime with Kilz and paint and if it's going to get moved and used a lot, I put a coat of poly over top to make sure it's good and protected. That's it!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 7:48AM
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Hi mzdee,
I have never posted before. In fact I just came across this forum yesterday. I was wondering how your dresser painting project was coming along. I painted a bedroom set last fall for my daughter. My craft is painting old chairs. I agree that you shouldn't sand it first. Just prime it. I use Zinsser. Then you should be able to paint it any color you want. Have fun with it. I would post a picture of mine but I can't figure out how to. Maybe someone can help me out with that. Anyway let us know how your project is doing. Gail

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 12:23PM
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Hi Gail, so glad you found this forum. Welcome.

We have some good picture posting directions here. I'll bump them up to the top again so you can find them easily. Credit goes to Anjabee for the directions.

Would love to see pics of your painted chairs. And please join in anytime. We love comments on all our projects, and love to get new inspiration from each other.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 12:39PM
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Thanks for the help on posting pics. After some frustration and many attempts heres a picture of the nightstand. I painted the whole set bed, dresser,armoire and nightstand. I hope this works.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 2:08PM
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Hi Gail~ It worked great and your table looks wonderful. That should be a good inspiration pic for mzdee. Did you paint the top with the vines too? It's just beautiful and I bet the set together is stunning.
Welcome to the forum. I hope you'll keep coming to share you other creations! ~Anj

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 3:46PM
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That is so pretty. What a beautiful addition to a bedroom. I love the shape/style of the table too.

So glad the picture posting worked for you. Now we hope you will keep coming by and sharing ideas, experience and projects with us.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 10:32PM
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Hi All
And Hello Gail!!
Thank you for posting such a beautiful picture. Tell me more about the colors you used. And do tell how you did the leaf design.
I haven't started yet. Had hoped to get the dresser out of here by listing on craigslist, but no luck...even with it being free.
So, I am planning to paint it and incorporate it into my rec area.

I am still toying with color ideas. I don't want white or black. Ideas?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 10:41PM
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Hi mzdee,
I painted the bedroom set a sage green and a creamy white. I did not paint the tops because it's formica and in good shape. The top is all ready a cream color. The leaf design is a variation of a one stroke design. Here's some more pictures of all the pieces. Good luck with your project. Gail

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 11:10PM
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The color choice really depends on the room you are putting the furniture in. Like are you adding it to a room that is already done, if so you want to use what will match that room the best.

To choose a color, you just need to look around the room and see what you've already used. Decide if you want to use an accent color and make the piece pop or a more neutral color like say the trim color so it blends.

There isn't anything wrong with white or black. If you're going to do decorative painting, the extra color can come from that:)

Awesome job, Gail!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 8:39AM
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Gail~ I thought the set would be stunning and WOW!! it is! Gorgeous!

mzdee~ If you like the romantic, then something like Gails furniture or one stroke roses would be pretty. Creams instead of whites and pastel colors. If you like a more country look then reds, blues, mustards and darker greens. And if you like a funky look then go for bright colors of purple, orange, yellows, blues, reds and greens. It really all depends on your style.
If you do a google image search of painted furniture you'll get tons of ideas. ~Anj

Here is a link that might be useful: Check out this fantastic furniture....

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 11:39AM
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Wow, what beautiful work!
And thank you for the link anjabee. My goodness, I was just hoping to get a great finish on the paint job. I'm overwhelmed by the artistry of all of the pieces. An artist I'm not. So maybe I'll try stenciling :)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 6:08PM
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