A DIY Dresser Update (Without the Commitment)

Decorating your home while trying to stay on a budget can be tough. Furniture and decor pieces are expensive, so you often have to work with what you already have.

Maybe you’re renting a furnished apartment and hate the look of what’s there, but can’t change it because the pieces don’t belong to you.

Or maybe you got a hand-me-down piece from Aunt Margaret and it’s totally not your style, but you don’t want to tear it apart and hurt her feelings.

Never fear – you can temporarily change the look of your furniture to make it more stylish without permanently altering it.

When starting with a plain piece like a flat-front dresser, it’s extremely easy to create a custom look that fits your design style. This is the uninspiring piece I started with.


Here’s how I transformed it into a custom piece, while making sure I can easily restore it to its original look if I need to.

Miracle material

Enter balsa wood! You can easily cut this extremely light wood with a lightweight blade such as an X-Acto knife – no special tools needed.

I picked up several balsa wood boards from my local craft store and cut them down to size to fit the fronts of my drawers. Once they were cut, I stained them with ‘Early American’ stain from Rust-Oleum. Be sure to weigh down your boards once they are stained so they don’t warp as they dry.


Stick with it

The next step was attaching the balsa planks to the drawer fronts without permanently ruining the original dresser underneath. Double-sided tape and a few dots of hot glue were more than enough to hold the planks in place.

The surface of the dresser drawers is a smooth laminate, so the tape and hot glue will easily peel off whenever I want to switch up the look or pass the furniture on to another family member.

If you’re worried about ruining the finish of your furniture piece, test different adhesives like Command strips, tape, and spray adhesive on a small and inconspicuous area.


Big finish

It’s as simple as that. This quick and easy project makes a beautiful dresser update that varies the look, but let’s you undo the change when you need to.

finished-dresser-2So whether you can’t afford new furniture or are stuck with an inherited piece that doesn’t fit your style, you can still switch up the design on the cheap and create a custom look that’s right up your alley. All it takes is a little bit of craftiness and imagination.


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