Pine Chest of Drawers Makeover

The chest of drawers is finally finished – hooray! And I have to say I’m very pleased. I’ve learnt a few things from this project and had a few minor disasters along the way (of course) but this is how I did it…

The chest of drawers is made of pine, which scratches so easily that I will be tiptoeing around it very carefully now it’s finished. Because of this it had quite a lot of big scratches on it already, especially on the top, so I decided it was the perfect time to get out my husband’s electric sander. After lots of fun feeling like a DIY pro with my mask and power tools the chest looked like this…


It was at this point that I realised I should maybe have used wood filler on the biggest cracks as I intended to varnish the top and didn’t want a patchy look. I ended up having to do quite a lot more sanding to even it out a bit more (creating a LOT of dust!)

After sanding the top I roughly sanded down the rest of the chest and filled in some cracks and dents with wood filler (see orange patches in the picture above). This project ends up involving quite a lot of sanding as you will see! Then I got started on varnishing the top with Ronseal interior varnish in ‘Satin Medium Oak.’

I ended up doing 3 coats of varnish after mistakenly painting against the grain for the first coat (faint stripes still visible in the wrong direction). In the end it wasn’t perfect but still looked pretty good so it was time to start painting.

My struggles with chalk paint are outlined in my last post How to paint without leaving brush strokes and bobbles. I have since learnt that it also helps to add a bit of water to chalk paint to make it go on more smoothly. Anyway, for a smoother finish I ended up doing a light sand in between coats (of Rust-oleum chalk paint in ‘Winter Grey’) with one of these amazing things…


Two coats was enough for most of it and the chest now looked like this (minus the drawers)…

Check out the fitted wardrobes in the background – definitely a future project.

Now it was time to put the new handles on. I wanted shaker-style drawer pulls and chose some from Screwfix in ‘antique brass’ because they looked nice, weren’t too expensive and were fixed with screws through the front (I thought I might have a DI-Why?? moment if I tried to drill through the back of the drawers). Because the wood was so soft and I didn’t want to scratch the new handles I did some careful measuring and used a manual screwdriver. I then forced myself to get on and cover the whole chest with one coat of Rust-oleum furniture finishing wax for protection. Here is the finished result…


I love it! And here’s another photo now it’s back in place in the spare room…

And a close up of the varnished top…

Unfortunately all pictures are slightly ruined by the hideous decor that is still in every room of the house (but hopefully for only a few months longer.) Here’s what I used for the project…


I’m still deciding on my next project but if the weather improves I might move outside and try out spray paint for the first time (very excited about this!) Watch this space…


13 thoughts on “Pine Chest of Drawers Makeover

  1. WOW! All your hard work really paid off! It turned out beautiful! Now that you know all the “do’s & Don’t’s” you will have waaaay more fun on your next project! Thinning chalk paint first and doing multiple thin coats with a light sanding in between is the way to go and makes for less elbow work indeed! I hope you have a great week!
    The Curator’s Collection & Making Broken Beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there your project looks lovely I’m just started my bedside tables but not sure how much sanding is needed do you take it right back to bare wood or just top coat x


  2. Hi! I love the look of your new drawers.

    I’m currently working with a pine tallboy, but the handles are glued in – were your original ones glued?

    If so, how did you get them out?


    1. The original ones weren’t glued no, they were screwed in. I did need to make new holes for the new handles but they covered the old holes which was fine. Do you feel like you will damage the chest in removing the handles?


  3. Hey, i love the chalk paint and have used it with this was before but i found it didn’t protect it enough as after time it was marking. How else could it be protected? Not sure if id want to put a varnish over the top.
    I’ve got a full bedroom set that is like to do. Seeing this i want to do it now. Thanks for the kick to get started.


    1. I have found a lovely wax-effect varnish recently which I really like, it protected a bed I painted (yet to post) really well. It’s called wax finish varnish by polyvine (clear dead flat finish). Good luck with your project, hope it goes well x


  4. Totally inspired to revamp our chest of drawers almost identical but with 1 more drawer at the bottom. I’m wondering if you can advise the paint brushes you used for the varnish and furniture paint? Have purchased the door knobs from Screwfix. Fantastic work!


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