Ugly laminate dresser before and after...

Like old maple furniture, they are a dime a dozen...old "laminate" furniture. The pieces aren't constructed near as sturdy as the old maple furniture (Here, here and here are a few maple pieces I have featured) but if you have a "boring" old laminate dresser sitting around or if you stumble across one at a thrift store or garage sale for next to nothing, it takes little time and effort to bring them back to life! 

Like most of these pieces, the top and sides (basically the "box") were all laminate. The drawer fronts were wood veneer.

What is the difference you ask? Basically, laminate is a "plastic" type material over particle board...then a "grain" is printed on to give it a "wood look." Veneer is generally constructed of a real wood top layer glued onto a wood base. It is pretty easy to tell the difference...if it looks and feels like "plastic" it is probably a laminate...if it looks and feels like real wood (but it is not a solid piece of wood) it is probably a veneer.

The biggest difference for me when redoing one of these pieces is I always prime and paint the laminate...usually spray paint. I use a chalk paint treatment on the veneer because I can "distress" it and the "real" wood grain will peek through. 

On this little dresser, both the laminate and veneer were in pretty good shape. Sometimes you will see "chipping" on either the veneer or the laminate. Both are relatively easy to repair. First, scrape away any loose pieces. Apply wood filler with a putty knife and then sand it smooth after it dries. 

Since we are in the heart of "Razorback country" I decided to give it a black and red treatment. I thought it would look cute in a boy's room or maybe in someone's "man cave" as a tv console. 

Again, super simple transformation. I removed all the drawers and then removed the hardware. Replacing hardware can get real expensive, real fast so I decided to give these little pulls a makeover as well. After I removed the pulls from the drawers, I put the screws back in them and stuck them in some old styrofoam (here is a picture example). I primed them with a metal primer and then I sprayed them with the same spray paint I used on the box. 

I sprayed the "box" with Kilz, sanded, tacked and then gave it two coats of red spray paint. I painted the drawers with homemade black chalk paint (two coats) and then distressed them a bit. I sealed all the pieces, including the hardware, with clear spray on poly. 

If you have an old dresser like this and need inspiration for color or styling, check out Pinterest. There are sooo many inspiration pieces. Some even remove a few of the drawers and add a shelf in the space so it can be used as an entertainment center for a tv and video equipment. I have done that with an old maple dresser and it turned out super cute and perfect for a living room.

I had the chest that matched this dresser...I painted the "box" off-white and the drawer fronts a pretty tealy blue. I redid it months ago and it is long gone! This poor little guy has languished in my garage for months and was one of the many projects I managed to get completed this week during our little warm spell...along with cleaning out the pond (AGAIN!) and washing exterior windows!

Good thing I got a lot done the last few days because today it feels more like winter again.