DIY : Furniture Makeover (Upcycling my Chest of Drawers)

December 7, 2017

When I moved out of my mums house she gave me this little chest of drawers which she bought years ago from a carboot sale. Featured in my ‘Buying home wear on a budget’ post. The drawers were originally a dark brown wood which Mum decoupaged with pink and gold patterned paper that you can buy from Hobbycraft by clicking here.

Anyway, after talk of some negative energy in my house I decided these drawers weren’t doing it for me any more. For me they were clashing too much with the fireplace and just about everything else. They are cute as they are but pink is just not my colour. I thought about selling them and buying something more colour coordinated and then I had an idea…

When something is broken I don’t just chuck it away, I fix it. So if something isn’t looking good any more then it only makes sense to make it pretty again!

First of all I set off to Poundland and purchased this pack of sandpaper and wallpaper scraper from the fabulous Tommy Walsh’s DIY section. I then headed over to Wilko and found this bright orange paint for £7. Little did I know just how bright it really was…

I then bought these knobs from E-bay from a seller named Knobbles and Bobbles. They offer a massive range of different colours, sizes and patterns and you can buy them individually or in sets. With the colour orange in mind for my drawers, I wanted knobs that were going to give the perfect contrast. As blue is the complementary colour for orange, I chose the blue and green patterned knobs pictured above. They cost £1.79 each and 30p extra postage for each one.

I began by rubbing the drawers with a cloth in warm, soapy water and left them to soak for about 15 minutes. Then I used the wallpaper scraper to remove all of the pink and gold paper.

After that I used sandpaper to smooth over all the rough bits and then wiped down with a cloth.

I thought at this point I could just start painting the drawers orange but oh no, I was wrong. I tried two layers of orange until I realised that I probably should have put a base coat on it, so decided to go over it all in white.

So obviously this gave me a better base coat. After the white, I did another layer of the ‘bright orange’ and then thought ‘My gosh, this really is bright!’.

I then thought by mixing the bright orange with white paint would calm it down a little. I was wrong again. Without noticing that it was hardly ‘calmed down’, I painted the whole lot fluorescent orange…

It doesn’t even look half as bad in this photo but by this point I was pretty pissed off with myself. It looked like I had coloured the whole thing in with a ghastly orange marker pen… (I should have just left it pink!)

I obviously already knew orange and blue complemented each other, but after some research I found that if I actually mixed the two paint colours together, I would get an overall better orange that wouldn’t be so offending to my eyes.

Luckily I had this blue in the cupboard that I had already painted my kitchen chair with. I thought it could be a fun idea to put some light blue streaks on the drawers. I had a funky, abstract look in mind.

So I started with this technique and thought ‘Hmm yeh, this looks cute, this will work!’

Then I went absolutely mad and ruined the whole bloody thing. Next thing I knew my drawers looked like a cubed shape blue, brown and orange tiger. I didn’t even take a photo because well you can just imagine. By now I was pulling my hair out and just wanted to shove the whole lot in the bin.

After some more research and more mixing, I found by putting a dash of the blue paint in with the original bright orange paint (and not the mixed fluorescent white and orange) it made the perfect colour… Finally!!!

Another thing I should have done first was remove the original knobs. I couldn’t unscrew them at first and was so excited to paint I just went over them in orange. This looked pretty ridiculous when I got round to taking them off and ripped all the paint off at the same time. Let the touch up commence!

It’s still a pretty bright orange, but compared to the paint colour in the ‘bright orange’ tin, it’s rather toned down.

I wanted a mixed colour for drawers so that they would fit in with the rustic looking fireplace. You can just about see the faint shadows of the dark blue streaks under the orange. Wasn’t such a disaster after all!

I think the random knobs and the colourful embroidered fabric work really well with the orange. But next time I will do my research before literally diving into the paint tin and wasting hours trying to paint in a billion different shades.


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