How to Refinish a Dresser in One Day

Projects that require a ton of work can feel daunting. The prep work alone can seem like an endless task but with the quality products Fusion has in it’s line, you can literally transform any piece in just one day! Follow along to see how to refinish a dresser in one day.

For this project, we took an old neglected dresser and decided it was the perfect candidate for our one day project. If you look closely, you can see that it was in pretty decent shape, just a little dusty and dirty. 

plain wooden dresser

How to refinish a dresser in one day

First, you’ll want to gather up your supplies. For quick projects like this, having these items on hand makes your project easier to complete!

  • Fusion TSP Alternative + Sponge for Cleaning

  • Fusion Mineral Paint Brook 

  • Electric Sander with 120-180 scuff pads/paper

  • Staalmeester Round One Brush

The only issue we could really find with this dresser was its cleanliness. We wanted to give it a good deep cleaning, so we removed the drawers and vacuumed out the entire piece to remove any loose debris. Next up was cleaning with our favourite cleaning solution, Fusion TSP Alternative. 

TSP bottle

You can easily mix this solution in a bottle and spray your piece down, or you can add a capful to 500ml of warm water and use a sponge to scrub off any grime. For this piece we wanted to make sure it was squeaky clean, so we opted for the bucket method. After about 30 minutes of sitting in the sun, it was dry.

scrubbing dresser

Next, we wanted to give the paint some grip. We used an electric sander with 120 grit paper to sand that large flat surfaces like the top, sides and drawers. We used a scuff pad to get the ornate details including the spindle legs and moldings. 

palm sander sitting on top of dresser

After sanding, your piece will more than likely need to be cleaned again, but since the heavy lifting was done the first time, all you need to do is wipe away the dust. 

dresser after being sanded

Your prep should take you just a little over an hour to accomplish. Now it’s time to move on to the fun parts. 

Fusion Mineral Paint Brook

We chose the colour Brook for this piece as a fun way to brighten up the dresser and to give it a beautiful sea-foam , coastal hue. Brook is one of those colours that can appear to be greener or bluer in some lights so we knew that it would be perfect for this piece.  

pint of FMP's Brook

One of our favourite types of brushes to use is the One series. They are synthetic bristles that give such a beautiful stroke-free finish. We used this brush to apply 2 coats with 1 hour of dry time in between coats to our dresser. 

painting on first coat of FMP's brook

Once we had applied 2 coats of Brook we wanted to add a bit of natural distressing to the dresser so we took our sandpaper and lightly rubbed on the raised surfaces and edges where natural distressing would occur. This gave us a weathered, coastal look and helped to bring some texture to the dresser. 

sanding the accents on the dresser to make is distressed

Painting your piece should only take you a little over two hours, including the dry time. 

Coastal Cottage vibe

With your piece complete,  you’re ready to move it indoors and get it set up in the perfect spot. You can even add a topcoat like a wax finish or Fusion Tough Coat for extra protection, but not necessary unless you know it will get heavy-duty use. 

painted dresser staged with beachy, coastal decor

Between the prep and the painting, we’ve spent a total of 3 hours transforming this piece and you can see how much paint can do for dark, dingy pieces.

painted dresser staged with beachy, coastal decor

painted dresser staged with beachy, coastal decor

As recommended by Fusion, your piece will need 21 days to fully cure, but after 24-28 hours, you can lightly use your piece and getting it set up in your home. A little elbow grease never looked so good!

up close of the drawers of the painted dresser staged with beachy, coastal decor

Adding cute hardware is another task that will take you no time.  The thing we love about pieces like this is how easy it is to change your entire look by switching out hardware. Brook really is a hidden Gem in our collection.

up close of top half of painted dresser staged with beachy, coastal decor

Keeping the natural wood top was another way to tie in our coastal theme and to help compliment the color in a natural way. All these elements like hardware, distressing and even drawer liner give us a way to dress up our projects without taking up too much time or effort. 

up close of beachy, coastal decor (neutral vase, weaved basket, books)


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