The Painted Empire Dresser: A Before & After Reveal

Monday, March 18, 2013

Drumroll please......Here it is!! Isn't she lovely?! I am smitten. Definitely my favorite piece of furniture in the house right now! I am so excited with how imperfectly perfect this dresser came out. I fell in love with this beautiful empire dresser the moment I found her on craigs list and I knew she'd be perfect for my first chalk paint project. I got her for $80 which is a steal if you've ever looked at antique dressers like this. They usually run around $300-$700. She came from a historic home in Salisbury, NC. Just look at those gorgeous curvy lines and the beautiful original glass, love, love it! For those of you who have never painted furniture with chalk paint but have wanted to try it...DO! It was an incredibly easy and enjoyable project and I can't wait to do it again. I'm already eye-ing some other furniture pieces in my house that are destined for paint :)

For this piece I knew I wanted something in my signature color...robins egg blue. Anyone who knows me or who has been in my house will know how much I adore this color. Have you seen my kitchen yet? It just happened that Annie (Sloan) had the perfect color for egg blue!! Yay! Here is a reveal of my stunning new (old) dresser. Enjoy!

Here is the dresser before I got started. The wood tones were already beautiful however it had a large crack that stretched completely across the top that required immediate attention. I filled it with wood filler and sanded it down prior to doing any painting.

These are the supplies I used for this project. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg, a Purdy paint brush ( I just couldn't spend $60 on the large Annie Sloan brush just yet), Annie Sloan clear Soft Wax, a bundle of cheese cloth for applying and buffing the wax (the Annie Sloan stockist had these as an alternative to the expensive wax brush) and one coarse and one fine grit sanding block.

The GORGEOUS Duck Egg color! And this paint goes a long way. I only did one coat but barely made a dent in this can. I can do many more projects with this same can of paint!!

I had planned to do two coats of paint however after just one coat I was in love with the way the wood still showed through and it seemed to naturally distress itself. I decided one coat was enough. I then used my sanding blocks to do some additional distressing around the edges. It was super quick and easy. I really don't think you can mess it up. Around the keyholes I did some wet distressing to make it look like the paint rubbed away over time. While the paint was still slightly wet I used a damp cloth to gently wipe some away. Then I dusted everything off and used the cheesecloth to wax the entire piece. You'll get a nice arm workout during this part of the process...bonus ;)

Don't you just adore these original glass knobs?! They were pretty dusty but after a quick wipe down with a damp cloth they sparkled. They still have that aged look to them where the glass has become a little discolored over time...however this is what makes them so pretty.

Another view of the knobs. They all match except for the two on the bottom. Those are each different...another thing I love about them! You can see the one on the bottom right and the bottom left is almost a flower type knob.

Here is the dresser in it's new spot in our living room. There was another piece of furniture here that has now moved to the other side of the room. The framed photo above may or may not be staying but I left it there for now. I have some decorating ideas but they will have to come with time. For now I just used some things I had laying around the house. An old dough bowl and some vintage books.

I love decorating with old books. Here I stacked a vintage edition of Heidi, Puddn'head Wilson (Mark Twain) and the Holy Bible. I placed a little moss and a few eggs on top of the books and covered them with a cloche to give a nice springtime feeling. The little blue duckling was an afterthought...he was sitting on a nearby shelf so I stuck him up there.

A view of the side. She looks like she's got stories to tell with all of her dents and dings. The exact look I wanted. Considering that she really is an old piece the heavier distressing just fits.

Her lovely curvy legs! Funny DH was helping me prep by removing all the knobs prior to painting and I mentioned how much I loved the lines of this piece. He then said, "well if you love the lines why are you painting over them?"... He obviously had no clue that by "lines" I meant the shape of the dresser, not the actual lines in the wood grain, lol! Bless him!! I had to laugh at him a little... but to give him some credit, the lines of the wood grain were beautiful too...just not what the word "lines" means when describing furniture.

Well, there she is! I hope you enjoyed this before & after! Hopefully there will be many more of these! Have you ever painted with chalk paint? Feel free to leave a link to your project in the comments if you want. Happy Monday!


  1. Oh I love this! I am a big fan of Annie Sloan paint!

    1. I am definitely a fan now too! Don't know why I waited so long to try it :)


    1. Hi Lauren :) Thank you! Sure! Would love for you to share it! This was my first time experimenting with chalk paint and I'm in love!

  3. This is SO cute! You could totally start your own business! Love it!

    1. Hi Ali! Thank you so much! Maybe I'll pick up a few more craigslist pieces and then resell them :) I think I could have a lot of fun with this paint! Thanks for stopping by!


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