Painted Empire Dresser


I got this dresser at an auction about two weeks ago. I love it… I just love antique empire furniture in general. It was in pretty rough shape. The feet were badly damaged and the top was a wreck, but it was nothing that a little paint couldn’t fix. Also, one of the drawers wouldn’t open, in fact, it wouldn’t budge at all. But it was a gamble I was willing to take.

When we got it home, the first order of business was getting that darn drawer open. I was hoping we were going to find some sort of  incredible forgotten relic placed inside and forgotten by the previous owners – but no such luck. Damn. We got it open using just a screwdriver and a butter knife, of all things. It was really stuck in there too. I later discovered the reason it was stuck was because someone had put it into the wrong slot, it needed to go into the one below. Ugh… why don’t people pay attention?

After removing the impossibly stuck drawer I began the basic and quick makeover process. Very simple.. three coats of chalk paint, going to town with the sander, and furniture wax to finish it all up.


After, I have a heavily distressed, nice and neutral new dresser. The picture of the dresser before makes it look like the wood was in much better condition than it actually was. If the wood was indeed as nice as it was in the picture, I’m not sure I would have brought the paintbrush anywhere near it; regardless of my love for painted furniture.


I know I said it in the beginning, but I have to say it again… I love this dresser. It has tons of storage. I was able to get all of my clothing from my last dresser (which was not small at all!) into this one, and still had the two largest drawers available for more stuff. God I love it when furniture properly utilizes its available space. It always seems like vintage and antique furniture do a better job at this. There are always little cubbies and extra drawers in any available space, no matter how small. They really knew how to build things for proper storage back then.

I think I may have distressed it a little too much… or maybe not enough… I can’t decide. What do you guys think??


3 thoughts on “Painted Empire Dresser

  1. I LOVE it. I love the distressed look, it’s perfect. They say it takes two people to create a work of art: the artist, and someone to shoot the artist before he ruins it. It’s perfect, don’t do anything else to it.

    • Ha ha. Thank you… I think I maybe like a little less distressing, but it really is nice to switch things up occasionally I guess right?

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