Art Decor

Walmart Dresser Makeover — From Solid Black To Black And Walnut

A few weeks ago, I purchased this relatively inexpensive dresser from Walmart to go in the closet area in our home gym. After assembling it and putting it into place in the room, I wasn’t thrilled with how it looked. The black was fine for the room, but it was so pitch black that it just looked like a black hole in the room. Plus, it looked much shorter than I had anticipated.

So I decided to give it a little makeover using things that I had on hand, not including the new drawer pulls. I had one piece of walnut 1″ x 2″ lumber and a rather large piece of walnut veneer left over from the bathroom remodel, and I thought adding some walnut to this dresser would not only make it show up better and give me the opportunity to raise the height, but it would go perfectly with my whole “black and walnut” plan for the accents in the room.

Once I got all of the walnut accents on the dresser, this is how it turned out…

For a “use what you have on hand” makeover, I was pretty proud of how that turned out! And it was pretty quick and easy, too.

I started by removing the drawer fronts from the drawers. Because of how this dresser is assembled, this was very easy to do without damaging anything.

Then using a 4-inch roller with a 1/4-inch nap roller cover, I put two coats of Weldwood Contact Cement on the drawer fronts, allowing the first coat to dry completely before rolling on the second coat.

I also rolled on two coats of contact cement to the back of the piece of walnut veneer. Once the second coat of contact cement was completely dry on all of the drawers and the back of the veneer, I placed the drawer fronts face down onto the back of the veneer. I placed them in the same arrangement that they are placed into the dresser, leaving about 1/4-inch between them, so that the wood grain would be continuous from one drawer to the next.

Once they were all in place, I cut them apart with a utility knife with a brand new blade on it (very important when working with veneer!), and then carefully trimmed the veneer right to the edges of each drawer front. Then I carefully sanded the edges with 120-grit sandpaper.

Next, I got to work on the legs. I used pine 2″ x 2″ lumber, and cut them to the length I wanted for the legs. And then I wrapped each piece with walnut veneer. You can see the difference here…

To wrap each piece, I started by rolling two coats of contact cement to all four sides of each leg, as well as to the back of the walnut veneer. Once it was completely dry, I placed the leg onto the veneer at one end and pressed firmly to make sure it was stuck really well.

Then I used my utility knife with the very sharp blade and cut off the little excess strip…

And then I just started rolling the leg onto the veneer, putting a whole lot of pressure on it as I went so that the veneer would fold perfectly around the edges.

I continued that until I had all four sides covered…

…and then I cut off the excess with my utility knife.

I trimmed off the excess on the top and the bottom of each leg using my miter saw…

And then I sanded each leg using 120-grit sandpaper. I sanded all of the edges very carefully to clean up any slight splintering of the veneer that may have happened as I rolled the veneer around those edges.

Next, using 1″ x 2″ walnut lumber, I cut and attached a frame around the bottom edge of the dresser. What you see below is me attaching the full width of the 1″ x 2″ pieces. Once that was attached, I decided that it was too wide, so I took them off and used my table saw to rip them down to about a 1-inch width. That looked much better, but I forgot to take a picture of it. But the process of attaching it to the bottom of the dresser was the same as you see here.

And then I attached the six legs. I just attached them using 1.5-inch 16-gauge nails shot through the outside, through the black pieces, and into the legs. And then I just used a black Sharpie to hide the nail holes that showed on the black pieces.

And this is how it turned out once I used Rubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C on all of the walnut, and added new drawer pulls.

I really like how it turned out. I’m very glad it’s taller now (and yes, I recognize the irony that I bought this dresser because it sat directly on the floor and I wouldn’t have to vacuum under it, and now it doesn’t, and I will. 😀 )

But I also like that it’s more substantial, more visible, and not just a black hole in the room. What I don’t like is how it looks against the wall color in the closet. I’ve been struggling with liking that wall for a while now, so I have a feeling that a change is coming. But more on that later.

And as you can see, I didn’t meet my goal of finishing our home gym by the end of the month. But that’s okay! It’s very close, and I’ll just keep chipping away at that final punch list until it’s all done. I have items that I’ve ordered for the room that won’t get here until this weekend or early next week, anyway. So once I decided to order those things, I knew it wouldn’t get finished by my goal date. Oh, well! That’s how projects go, but we just keep pressing on.