If you’re headed to Ikea or Target in the near future, please, I urge you … be extra cautious. It’s dorm room season.

I don’t want you to get trampled to death by some emotional parent, cart careening down the aisles, anxiously searching for the last bed-in-a-bag.

Just keep a safe distance. Watch from afar as they wildly latch on to those large rubber storage containers that everybody hates. The kind with the ‘drawers.’

Consider mentioning that they could probably find a used dresser for next to nothing and make it over themselves, which would result in saved money, more storage, and a sturdier item for their student.

Here’s one now, from Meg at Green with Decor.



Black Dresser

Fantastic, right? I would have much preferred this to the dresser I used in college, which if I remember correctly, was legit made from cardboard.


But perhaps now is not the best time for nearly-empty-nesters to consider such projects. Maybe in a little while, when the shock has worn off, and the sadness and now-what-ness has set in, they might enjoy a little makeover projects for themselves.


Family Dresser Before


Family Dresser

Awww, how perfect is this one from Better After reader Pam? It looks like a difficult stencil job, but it’s actually a sheet of peel-and-stick lettering! Fresh paint and chunky pewter knobs, and it’s all set for its next phase in life too.

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Of Tables and True Friends

Hey party people, how’s your Tuesday?

“It’s fine,” you are thinking. “But you’ve got me all wrong, Lindsey. I’m no party person. I haven’t had a party in years. I’m too ashamed of my worn out dining table to ever dream of inviting guests over.”

Oh no. Stop talking nonsense. I will let you have none of that. First of all, true friends won’t care if your table is a bit run down.

(I know that doesn’t help much. That’s like when I say I hate my freckles and my friends are like, ‘but I LOVE your freckles,’ and I’m like, well cool beans for you. So glad you get to be the happy one in this situation).

So here’s another idea. You can totally restore your whole dining set. Better After reader Jessica did, and it only took her six months and lots of shed tears and a paintbrush burning party when she was done!

See, either way you get to have a party.


Dining Room Table Before


Dining Room Table

It’s true that fabulous results take time and patience. Jessica worked on this makeover whenever she could and eventually transformed that weathered and worn dining set into the stunning version it is today.

But listen. It also doesn’t have to take six months. True friends will come over and help you paint. Unless your true friends are not so great at painting, in that case you might be better off on your own. Maybe they can just bring the dessert to your dining set showing-off party instead.

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Beach, Please

My mother loves the beach right down to her bones, but sadly, she lives far, far from the beach. Does that stop her from displaying a full-size surfboard in her house? No, it does not. If you can’t have the beach, bring the beach to you. Why not? Who cares?

Your current furniture has the potential for beachy vibes, it just might need a coat or two of chalk paint like this armoire from Jennifer and Vicki at 2 Bees in a Pod.

White Chalk Painted Armoire Before

White Chalk Painted Armoire

But really, white paint is a great vibe neutralizer. You can have any vibes you want from here. Beachy? Check. Rustic? Check. Shabby Chic? Sure. French country? You got it. Modern? Kinda sorta. That one depends more on the furniture itself.


But back to the beach. Before, this dresser was giving off zero beach vibes. Negative beach vibes. You don’t need that in your life. Terrible for your feng shui.

Vicki and Amy at Canary Street pictured it with a weathered coastal look instead. Do you think they achieved their vision? (Spoiler alert: Of course they did).

Weathered Coastal Dresser Before

weathered coastal dresser makeover

It looks like it just washed up on the beach! If perfectly intact dressers ever washed up on the beach, which – so far – has not happened in my lifetime. But I did find a dead squid once. Wait, now that I think about it, it was just seaweed that looked kind of like a squid.

ANYWAY. They used on of my favorite tricks, filling up the gaps in the drawers with wood filler to make them look like three normal drawers and not nine crazy drawers of various sizes. A lot of effort, but definitely worth it. Great job ladies!

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Safety in Numbers

Where would we be without numbers? How would you know what button to press on an elevator? Or how many servings are in a pint of ice cream? What would you say to dial in case of an emergency? Bottom right button, top left button, top left button? Don’t be crazy.

No, numbers are our hardworking friends. You should put them on your furniture to say thank you.

Here’s one fine example from Terry at The Curator’s Collection.

numbered furniture numbered desk

White Numbered Desk

Before, a dated desk. Plain and unattractive. But after a fresh coat of paint and a set of numbers on the drawers, WATCH OUT. This desk is cute and it knows it.


Larissa could have done a number of different things to her old dresser … but after crunching the numbers … she figured the number one option was …

Vintage Dresser with Numbers Before


Vintage Dresser with Numbers

Numbers! Did you see that coming? Say no.

Such a great change! Not only are the numbers a great touch, but I’m loving how the paint color picks up the same tones as the new metal handles. It makes for a very cohesive, intentional look. Nicely done Larissa.

See more on her blog Prodigal Pieces.

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