A couple months ago I found this beat up and dirty french provincial dresser on the side of the road. I was having a bad day, I don’t remember why, but I just remember thinking that I needed some kind of “win” to get me back on track. Then I found this lovely little dresser on the side of the road, and I felt that spark of excitement. With the van full of kids I managed to stuff this dresser in the back and happily take it home.  With a little bit of paint and stain I knew I could give this curbside french provincial dresser an amazing transformation.

curbside french provincial dresser makeover

This dresser sat in the basement for a while, but I finally got around to refinishing it a few weeks ago. It was pretty dirty, but I saw a lot of potential. The top of the dresser had a lot of chipping paint, but that’s an easy enough fix.

curbside dresser makeover

Refinishing the top of the dresser

To refinish the top, first I sanded off all the old paint using my palm sander to reveal the bare wood. I usually start off with 60 grit sandpaper, and do several different grits ending at 180. This gives a nice smooth surface for staining and finishing.

vintage french provincial dresser makeover

I conditioned the wood using Minwax pre-stain wood conditioner. Next I stained the top using my favorite, Minwax Jacobean stain. I applied it in a circular motion using a white rag, then wiped off any excess with the same rag. I finished off the top with several coats of high gloss spray can polyurethane to give a beautiful finish.

minwax jacobean stain

Painting and distressing the dresser

For the rest of the dresser I used a mix of General Finishes milk paint, which I also used for this dresser makeover for the girls’ bedroom. This paint is not like other milk paints in that it doesn’t chip and peel. It’s a water-based paint that self levels and dries very hard, but you can also sand and distress it to give it a farmhouse feel. And another bonus, it’s very durable so you don’t need to seal it.

light blue french provincial dresser

For this dresser I did about a 1:1 mixture of Persian Blue and Snow White. Actually, I had planned to paint it white, but after two coats I just didn’t love how it was looking. So I changed my mind and did two coats of light blue over top.warm brown dresser top

To paint the dresser I used a regular paintbrush, and then smoothed out any brush strokes with a foam roller.  I also sand with 220 grit sandpaper in between each coat to get rid of any flaws.

vintage french provincial dresser makeover with general finished milk paint

I like to very lightly distress the paint by using 220 grit sandpaper and knocking off a bit of the paint on the corners and high points. It really brings out the details and accentuates all the curves, especially with the white paint peeping through.

general finishes milk paint dresser

I updated the original hardware by spray painting them with Rust-oleum oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

vintage french provincial dresser hardware

The dark hardware pops so nicely against the blue paint. I absolutely love this style of dresser lately, the curves and details of a french provincial dresser are so beautiful.

general finishes light blue dresser

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custom mix of general finishes milk paint, persian blue and snow whiteAnd in other news, Tony and I are dabbling in a little custom cabinetry and furniture refinishing on the side of our actual jobs. This is our first piece of furniture that we refinished and sold as part of the side business.

Pin for later!

french provincial dresser makeover using general finishes milk paint persian blue and snow white



6 thoughts on “Curbside French Provincial Dresser Makeover”

  1. I admire how much love you gave this piece of furniture!!! I mostly skip a lot of steps, but as I really like the stained top of this beauty, I’ll make notes for my next project!!! Also good luck with this enjoyable side business!

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