Gray, blue, and white dressers are always on trend. They’re great neutrals that fit in almost any room in a home. But sometimes we need to break out of the basics and try a new color and texture. That’s why this week I experimented with purple and refinished a purple lavender dresser with a denim texture top and I’m going to teach you exactly how I did it.
A friend of mine was making space in her home for her three college students, a high school student, and a husband to all work from home this Fall. I was actually fascinated by her story of re-arranging the entire house, some of them even trading rooms, to make space for everyone. Desks moving in meant that a few dressers had to move out.
This white-painted, solid wood dresser was one of the dressers she moved out of the house. When I first saw it, I thought… “Oh, that will be an easy makeover. I could just layer on a fresh coat of white enamel paint and add some champagne bronze handles.”
Unfortunately, or fortunately, that’s not the way it turned out.
At some point this dresser was painted with white latex paint. As soon as I hit it with the rotary sander to clean up the chipped paint, the paint started peeling off in sheets. You see, some latex paints, if they do not contain a primer or you do not first prime the furniture, will eventually peel. And when latex paint peels, it’s like peeling off strips of plastic wallpaper.
The good news though is that the paint was very quickly removed with the rotary sander. Then I used a flat screwdriver to scrape the remainder of the paint from the crevices. What I was left with was a blank slate of solid wood.
It seems like every piece of furniture I’ve been refinishing over the past two years has either been blue, gray, or white. I was stuck in a rut of using the same colors over and over and I wanted break out of that. So I walked into my local paint supplier and ask the girl behind the counter to choose a color for me.
She chose Camelot by Benjamin Moore.
According to the color chart, Camelot is a very deep, rich purple that borders on wine. But as you can see in my photo below, it’s very different for the color chart above. It may be the lighting in my workshop or the type of paint I had mixed. Regardless, the final product still turned out much prettier than I expected. So let’s continue on…
The original plan was to paint on two coats of the enamel paint and call it a day. But, when I get to this point, a single color always looks flat to me. It was time to take this dresser from ordinary to extraordinary by adding white glaze.
To add glaze to furniture, brush on a small amount, working in small sections (1 panel at a time). You do not need to cover an entire section with the glaze. I usually brush the glaze into the grooves and along the edges and that’s enough to then take a damp cotton rag and spread the glaze. Wipe the glaze off in long even strokes while at the same time spreading the glaze.
The result… is a cloudy, feminine, romantic finish. The glaze softens the color underneath. The final finish now reminds me of an old world French dresser.
But there’s one more surprise to this dresser that I love. The top.
In addition to the unique color, I wanted to do something a little different on this dresser. Do you see how the top resembles a pair of worn denim jeans with the cross-grain and shades of color and white. Faded in some areas, just like a perfectly-worn pair of jeans. The only difference is that instead of blue denim, this is a lavender denim finish.
Lavender Denim Finish
Achieving this denim texture finish all has to do with the first coat of paint.
- Step 1: Brush on the first coat of enamel paint using brush strokes that go from the front of the dresser to the back. This coat of paint should be full-strength (not thinned/watered down at all). Let dry.
- Step 2: Brush on the second (and a third if needed) coat of enamel paint using brush strokes that go from side to side (in the opposite direction from Step 1). These coats of paint should be thinned/watered down by about 10%. Let dry between coats.
- Step 3: Brush on and wipe off white glaze.
By brushing the first coat of enamel paint on at full-strength, it’s more likely to dry with brush marks (you want this). If the second and third coats were applied in the same direction as the first, these brush marks would be minimized. But by painting in the opposite direction, the lines in the paint remain and become visible when you add the white glaze, which highlights the unevenness. The result… the look of perfectly worn denim.
I ended up liking this denim finish on the top so much that next time, I may have to try it on an entire dresser.
For a list of furniture refinishing supplies I use on a regular basis, visit my Amazon shop HERE. Here’s the list of supplies used specifically on this lavender denim dresser:
- Craftsman rotary sander
- Sanding discs 60-grit
- Acrylic enamel paint
- GF Winter White Glaze
- Minwax Polycrylic or BM Stays Clear topcoat (satin)
- Purdy Clearcut 1.5-in brush
- Cotton rags (aka t-shirt)
I’ve looked at hardware so many times for this dresser and decided not to purchase the hardware myself because the person that buys it could take it in a few few different directions. Instead I want to offer some hardware suggestions for a few different design styles. The pre-drilled holes are 4-inch on center.
Click the images for more info or to purchase.
First is the floral feminine. I found these rose petal pulls on Amazon. They are a knob which means drilling a single hole in the center of each drawer front; but have a backplate the would cover the two existing holes.
Second, is for those that like a little more glitz and shine. This goldenwarm cabinet pull has a clear acrylic mixed with a polished gold.
Third is for those that like understated modern. This basic matte black drawer pull keeps the lavender grounded.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products I use myself.