Faux Bamboo Dresser Makeover

It’s time for another furniture makeover!  I found this vintage Omega faux bamboo dresser back in Maryland in early 2016, and I wrote a little blog post about it that you can read here.  For $40 it was a steal, despite desperately needing a paint job and the fact that it was missing some hardware.  I finally got around to painting it in December and photographed it this past week.  I don’t know why these makeover posts take me forever to put together, but that seems to be the trend.

As a reminder, this is what the dresser looked like when I found it.  It was a bit more dingy looking in real life.

First things first, is always sanding.  I used my orbital sander with a course grit disc to remove the slick top coat.  I sanded all the faux bamboo detailing by hand with a course sanding block as well.  Sanding blocks are the way to go when you sand by hand because they’re easier to hang onto and control than sandpaper sheets are.  I didn’t sand the bumpy drawer fronts because I knew they wouldn’t sand well.

After I removed the top coat and roughed everything up I used a fine grit disc to smooth everything out.  I used a fine sanding block on the faux bamboo portion.  Getting the details and edges nice and smooth is really important because once they are painted irregularities can show up like crazy.

Once everything was smooth I wiped it down with wet paper towels and then a microfiber cloth.  Microfiber doesn’t leave residue like a normal towel does, so they are great for these furniture projects.  I also scrubbed the drawer fronts with a course plastic bristled brush and some water to get any dust and gunk out of the little crevices.  I wiped them down with a microfiber cloth after I finished scrubbing.  Make sure to let any moisture dry before you start painting.

I used my trusty Rust-Oleum Universal Paint and Primer in One in White Gloss that I use on everything (like these shelves, this vanity, this campaign dresser, and these dining chairs).  This paint is the best and makes such a nice, shiny finish that is really durable.  After 2 coats of white I used 2 coats of Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch in Gloss Clear.  I make sure to use an attachable comfort grip whenever I use spray paint that comes with a push button nozzle (like this top coat).  It makes it a whole lot more comfortable and your finger gets less tired.

Next, I shined the hardware that came with the dresser with Bar Keeper’s Friend.  

I was missing 4 pieces so I used some glass and brass drawer pulls that I bought for another project.  I found these at Hobby Lobby.

I now have these on the top two drawers, and while I like them, I prefer the ring pulls on this dresser.  I’ve searched eBay for 4 exact replacement pulls but haven’t found them.  Nicole (@_grits on Instagram) told me about these ring pulls from Lee Valley so one day I may just replace all 10 of the pulls.  Until then, I’m pretty content with how it looks now.  The mismatched hardware makes it look a little more whimsical, don’t you think?

When I put the drawers back into the body of the dresser I made sure to use some WD-40 on the slides.  That helped with any sticking or squeaking that comes with an old dresser.  I also lined the drawers to make the inside of the drawers a little more fresh.  Oh and when you take drawers out of a dresser make sure you label the back (A,B,C, etc.) so that you put them back in the right spots.  Little things like that make a big difference in how the drawers function, especially when you’re working with an old piece of furniture.

I use this dresser every single day and I absolutely love it.  I love that it was cheap, that it’s unique, and that it now has a story (and some of my elbow grease) behind it.  Hopefully it survives our move this summer!


rug | heels (I wore these with my wedding dress!) | basket (Target, old) | sheepskin | lamp (Target, old)  | jars and bust (vintage) 

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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Leave a comment

  1. Anonymous
    March 1, 2017 / 4:14 pm

    I love how this turned out! So cute and such a steal!

  2. March 1, 2017 / 4:42 pm

    I love how the remake turned out!!! Great job.

  3. March 10, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    Thank you so much! I love a good thrift store makeover!

  4. March 10, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    Thanks Jen! A little paint can work wonders!

  5. March 17, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    Where did you search for great finds like this while in Maryland?

  6. March 17, 2017 / 9:42 pm

    I found most of the pieces at the habitat for humanity ReStore in Columbia. I also had really good luck at the Salvation Army in Savage. The key is to check the stores weekly, ideally at the beginning of the week because most people drop stuff off on the weekends.

  7. Rachel
    March 26, 2017 / 3:14 pm

    Hi Katie,

    Just discovered your blog! I'm also here in the DC area. I'm a a newbie to doing all of this and I have a faux bamboo dresser (long, low) that I'm super interested in fixing up just like this (in addition to a few other projects that have been sitting around for way too long). Have you ever used a liquid sander for any aspect of these projects? I figured t'd be good for nooks & crannies at least, but secretly hoping it'd be good for broader surfaces, too. On the DeWalt and block sanding: how long would you say it took you to sand this piece? Thanks!!

  8. March 27, 2017 / 2:57 pm

    Hi Rachel, so glad you found my blog! I have a long, low faux bamboo dresser too and plan on fixing it up before we move in a few months. I've had it for 2 years so it's about time I did something with it, so don't feel bad about putting your projects off because I'm right there with ya. I've never used a liquid sander (don't even know what that is so I should google it!), so sorry I don't have any advice on that. As for the DeWalt and sanding blocks, I'd say it took an hour to do it all. I did it during nap time so it's not as slow as you'd think. The orbital sander works so well on the flat surfaces and is really quick. Hope that helps a little!

  9. March 28, 2017 / 4:06 pm

    Where did you search for these great finds while in Maryland?

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