How to Get This Two Tone Old Dresser Makeover Look by Painting a Dresser Blue

old dresser makeover painting a dresser blue with two tone natural wood drawers

Painting a Dresser Blue with Two Tone Wood Drawers: A Stunning Old Dresser Makeover

Another old dresser makeover for the win! After painting a dresser blue, I turned this Marketplace freebie into the most beautiful two tone dresser. And in this post, I’m sharing exactly how I did it!


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Just a friendly reminder: This tutorial and any opinions or recommendations are genuinely mine, but this is not a substitute for consulting a professional. I also use affiliate links to earn a commission.


How to Create Two Tone Wood Dresser Drawers

two tone wood drawers with a blue painted dresser

1st Step: Prep

For this old dresser makeover, I started with the usual cleaning, removing the hardware and the drawers from the base.

old oak dresser drawers
old dresser hardware

2nd Step: Strip

Next, to achieve the two-tone wood look, I stripped the larger panel of the wood drawer. I decided to strip instead of sand because I didn’t want to risk sanding through the veneer or removing too much wood grain.

To remove any residual stickiness from the stripper, I then wiped everything down with mineral spirits.

>> If you want to learn more about stripping paint then you need this step-by-step guide that gives the best paint stripper and one tool that, when used together, produces mind-blowing results.

old finish remover
old finish stripped from dresser drawers
mineral spirits cleaning dresser drawers

3rd Step: Sanding

I then gave these same sections a light hand sanding with 80 grit sandpaper. I also had the cutest helper for this part!

How cute is he helping his mommie refinish his big boy dresser!

sanding dresser drawers

To get into the groove between each natural wood panel, I folded 80-grit sandpaper and sanded these by hand. Since I was painting these sections, I only needed to give it a light sand, not anything labor-intensive.

>> Need a little more guidance on how to sand your old dresser? Check out my best sanding tips!

Remember, when sanding to prep for painting, you want to do just enough to give the paint something to adhere to. It’s ok to leave some of the existing finish!

After sanding, make sure to wipe away all of the sanding dust.

folding sandpaper

4th Step: Liming Wax

Then, to highlight the wood grain further, I applied liming wax to the drawer fronts.

Apply the wax with an old rag, let it sit for a minute or two, and then buff it out. And do your best to avoid getting this onto the area where you will paint.

The other added benefit to using the liming wax is the added protection it provides to natural wood.

>> Another really gorgeous look would have been to stain the drawers. If you’re interested in a dark wood finish, then start with this helpful staining wood DIY guide.

applying liming wax to dresser drawers

5th Step: Prep for Paint

Since the two-toned wood and painted look I was going for had more wood exposed, I needed to protect this portion of the dresses from getting painted.

To do this, I used painter’s tape as you see here. I took my time and was really careful to be sure my lines were nice and straight!

applying painters tape to dresser drawers
dresser drawer taped ready for paint

6th Step: Painting a two tone drawer

Next, using a brush, I applied the blue paint. Since this area was so small painting these two tone drawers took all of two seconds. I did apply two coats, but I did not prime first.

painted dresser drawers with two tone wood
removing tape from painted dresser drawer

After letting everything dry, it’s finally time to remove the tape. And just look at how gorgeous these turned out!

two tone natural wood drawer with blue paint outline

It is now time to move on to the dresser, which, although larger, will go much faster than this two-tone technique.

Painting a Dresser

old dresser makeover painting a dresser blue with two tone wood drawers

1st Step: Cleaning

I started this project as I would any other furniture refinishing project, and that is by cleaning it with Krud Kutter, followed by removing all the hardware, doors, and drawers.

cleaning a wood dresser with krud kutter

2nd Step: Sanding

Since I’m painting this dresser, I don’t need to strip or sand down to bare wood. I sanded everything with 80 grit sandpaper using my handy re-useable and adjustable sanding block.

sanding dresser drawers
sanding an old wood dresser

3rd Step: Priming

Using a foam roller, I applied the first coat of primer. The key is to apply this in thin layers, let it dry, and then sand it with 220-grit sandpaper.

After wiping the sanding dust away, I followed the same process to apply the second coat of primer.

It’s ok for your first coat of primer to look kind of “bad.” It may be transparent in some spots, but this is why you do two coats.

Do not freak out and apply it thicker! Thicker paint is how you get drips and a less durable finish.

To give you an idea, here is what my dresser looked like after one coat of primer.

dresser with one coat of primer applied

4th Step: Paint

I repeated the same steps to paint the dresser. If it feels redundant, that’s because it is! But know that each coat goes faster than the one before.

I always apply two coats of primer and paint.

painting dresser drawers blue
dresser drawers painted blue
side of a dresser painted blue

5th Step: Hardware

The final step for this dresser makeover was to add new hardware. I had not done anything to repair the small marking from where the original hardware was attached. But looking at the pictures, I see no signs of the old, outdated handles.

Know that this is not always the case and depending on how particular you are, you may need to pay more attention to his detail.

The hardest part about the hardware was finding the exact pull I wanted with the same original spacing. I could have filled the holes and drilled new ones, but at the time, I didn’t feel like messing around and taking the extra time to do that.

painting a dresser blue with two tone natural wood drawers and black hardware on the top right drawer
old dresser makeover painting a dresser blue with two tone wood drawers

>> I have a complete tutorial on furniture painting that you should also check out. Here I share all of my tips and tricks that I use when painting wood for a smooth and lasting finish.

Painted Dresser with Wood Drawers FAQ:

What type of paint did you use to paint this dresser?

Behr Ultra Scuff Defense in a satin finish

What is the name of this blue paint color?

NYPD Blue by Behr

How much paint does it take for a dresser makeover?

I purchased a quart and have a bunch left over. It really depends on how large your item is, but I’d say a quart is plenty enough for most dresser makeovers.

Did you paint the inside of the drawers?

Nope! I simply cleaned these thoroughly and left them exactly as they were.

What about the sides of the drawers, did you paint those?

I did not paint the drawer sides, only the entire drawer fronts, not the box of the drawer. If you’re looking to add extra pizzazz to your painted dresser makeover then adding wallpaper to either the inside or sides of the drawers is the perfect secret detail!

Should I apply a topcoat?

The only topcoat I applied was the liming wax, which I applied to the natural wood drawer fronts.

I will say as I’m writing this, my little guy has been using this dresser for 2 years now, and it’s still in just as good of condition as the day I gave it to him.

And that’s not because he’s gentle. This painted surface has certainly been put to the test. I’m confident enough in my furniture painting process and in most furniture makeovers, don’t apply a topcoat.

Where can I find the liming wax?

This product is a bit tricky to find in stores so order this ahead of time. Unless you like waiting, which I don’t. When I get the inspiration to refinishing furniture, there is no waiting. Here is the liming wax link.

Painted Dresser Before and After

old wood dresser
old dresser makeover painting a dresser blue with two tone natural wood drawers
old oak dresser drawers
two tone natural wood drawer with blue paint outline
old dresser makeover painting a dresser blue with two tone natural wood drawers
blue painted dresser with hardwood drawers and black hardware
old dresser makeover painting a dresser blue with two tone natural wood drawers

Next Steps


What started as a super sad outdated piece of furniture, finished up as one of my favorite old dresser makeovers. Painting a dresser blue is easy and would have been enough to make my son happy. But I’m so glad I took the extra time to create the two tone dresser drawers. I love the character and warmth the wood drawers provide and how it contrasts so nicely with the blue.


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