Let’s face it, shopping for furniture can get really expensive really fast. As fun as decorating your space can be, spending the money can be unnerving. With all the low-quality and mass-produced furniture suppliers on the market, it can be a challenge to find affordable, sustainable furniture. So before you hit that ‘Add to Cart’ button for your next furniture purchase, I want to share a cost-effective, eco-conscious way to decorate a stylish home of your own.

Flashback to 2012: Neijah is driving to work and stomps on her brakes after seeing an abandoned vintage dresser on the sidewalk. After pushing the dresser into the back of her car, she gives it a fresh coat of white paint and puts it to use in her studio apartment. Made of solid wood, the dresser has withstood rough conditions and takes on a stable form. Now, having recently moved into a 1-bedroom in Mid-City, Neijah asked me to help salvage her dresser to complement the rest of her decor.

Here’s how it went down...


Sand down the surface of the furniture to leave a smooth matte finish. No need to sand all the way to the original wood—the purpose of this is to help your fresh layer of paint adhere better. To save myself time and elbow grease, I’m using a palm sander with 180 grit sandpaper.


Holes, bethefuckgone. Use wood filler or spackle to fill any holes. For the sake of time, I’m using Bondo, a 2-part medium that includes a base and hardening agent. This stuff cures in just a few minutes, making it quicker to get on with the rest of my day. To apply, you’ll need a putty knife and mixing board, which could be found at any hardware store. Sand down for a smooth surface.


The last thing you want is an uneven colored piece of furniture. Using a damp rag, wipe down all the dust particles before you slap on your first layer of paint. Primer will help your top coats look consistent and feel like a baby’s bottom. Invest a little more money on the good stuff, and don’t hesitate to layer on a double-coat. You’ll thank yourself later.


Once the primer has completely dried, sand the surface once more using 220 grit sandpaper. Don’t forget to wipe away any dust before moving onto the next step.


Roll the surface with two even coats of paint. Hit the edges and brush in between crevices. Voila!—now you finally get to see your old piece of furniture transform into the bad bitch it really is.


Scavenge hardware supply stores to find handles/pulls/hinges to complete your work of art. When finding replacements for handles, be sure to measure hole-to-hole. I like to think of hardware as the jewelry of the furniture. Like icing on the cake, this should make your piece look and feel like a million bucks.

Words & imagery by Melissa Ver

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