We have shared a bunch of redone dressers with here at Remodelaholic, like our recent dresser turned butcher block kitchen buffet. Dressers are great candidates for upcycling and repurposing because they are generally sturdy, easy-to-find and cheap at thrift stores, and automatically have storage. Our guest today completely reimagined an old, beaten up dresser into an amazing mudroom bench!
I love seeing old furniture be given a second life. Here are a few other redone pieces that have caught my eye:
Dresser Drawers to Bookshelf | Country Living
Headboard and Footboard to Corner Bench | Running with Scissors
Dresser to Kitchen Hutch | Little Green Notebook
Desk into Nightstands | Sugar Bee Crafts
And now, I’ll give you to Karen to learn about how she made her mudroom bench from an old dresser found on the side of the road!
Mudroom Bench from an Old Dresser
by Karen of The Weekend Country Girl
My name is Karen from The Weekend Country Girl. I am a wife, mother, mid lifer and public school administrator in suburban Houston. When my youngest left home for college my ever so handy husband and I followed our dream and bought a small fixer upper lake house on Lake Livingston in Texas that we named Star Hill. We fell in love with our lake community of Coldspring, population 766. I started blogging in 2011 as a way to show my friends the projects we were working on at the lake house and to talk about life as empty nesters. In the past year we have seen both of our children get married; we have sold our city home of 14 years, changed jobs, relocated, and we are in the process of buying a new house. Life certainly did not slow down for us once the kids left the nest!
I discovered re-purposing furniture when we had to furnish Star Hill on a limited budget. It is so much fun to find furniture that others are getting rid of and turn them into treasures for our houses. I have even been known to send some pieces to the homes of my friends. Broken furniture does not scare me, because I know that my husband can fix just about anything. I have been known to pick up furniture left on the side of the road, sometimes in a suit and high heels! I am a Saturday morning garage sale shopper and love the country resale shops near our lake house. Three of my favorite projects of late are a large dresser found by the side of the road turned into a stunning family room credenza, a small dresser that was made over for the bunk room in a western theme, and a fun little side table that was literally left on her doorstep while we was away one weekend.
Late one night driving home from visiting friends, I spotted a dresser that had been drug out to the side of the road for heavy trash collection. It took a little convincing on my part, but I did convince my husband to stop and back to the truck up to inspect the furniture. To say that he was not impressed with the dresser was an understatement. It had a split top, was missing a drawer and only had hardware on two of the remaining drawers. He did reluctantly load it into the truck to take home. The next morning when we examined the dresser we were both pleasantly surprised. Even though it was in rough shape, it was solid hardwood, with dove tailed drawers.
The dresser sat in the garage at least two months while I thought about what to do with the piece. In my internet surfing I had seen some dressers turned into benches and thought that that would be the best project to create from this broken dresser. The more I thought about the dresser the more sure I was that I wanted it to be a bench in the entry hall. My problem with this plan was that the entry hall has an eighteen foot ceiling so a low bench would be dwarfed in the space.
As I looked for inspiration it hit me. Add a back to it and reuse the drawers and wood to make a mudroom unit! I wanted a place sit and take off dirty shoes, a place to hang coats and hats and storage for umbrellas, scarves, gloves (for our two week long south east Texas winter) and garden shoes. Those things tend to congregate in our entrance and looking at them scattered across the floor makes me crabby. I also made it my mission to reuse as much of the wood as possible and to spend as little on the project as I could.
Here is the dresser with two of the existing drawers out and the hardware off. I did not take a photo of it when it first came home. I wish I had! We took the dresser to the Garagemahal and got started whacking away, saving everything we whacked off.
When taking the dresser apart we took the hardboard back off first. That allowed us to see what we really had and helped us make decisions where to cut.
After cutting the top two sections of drawers off the dresser, Hubby added a thick plywood top over the top of the remaining bank of drawers and added reused wood to the sides to support the plywood. The plywood piece came from a neighbor who was cleaning out his garage but it was ¾ inch plywood that was exactly the right with, just a little too long. He also added a 1X4 laid flat in the back center that went from the underside of the plywood top all the way to the ground to help distribute the weight when people sit on the bench. We are not small folk at our house.
I wanted the piece to have a little sparkle and pizazz so the original brass hardware was not going to work. I found some crystal pulls for $3.00 each at an antique furniture store and fell in love. I filled in the original dresser hardware holes along with a bunch of other scrapes and gouges then Hubby drilled new holes for the crystal knobs.
Our entry way had a mirror in it and I love being able to make sure I am put together before I go out the door. I knew our mudroom bench needed a mirror. It took a few weeks, but I found just the right mirror for the bench at a resale shop. It was maple and the flat frame would fit the piece perfectly with only one alteration, the top wooden section had to be cut off. It was perfect for $10.00!
If you are buying a mirror from a resale shop, look for one with thick glass and a wood frame. If you cannot find just the right one, just get a mirror cut to size from a glass shop and frame it out with trim from a home improvement store. Once the mirror was purchased, I knew how I wanted the back to look. I wanted bead board with a board and batten look on top. A quick trip to Home Depot meant $25.00 in plywood, $23.00 in bead board, and $5.00 in moulding. All this for a free dresser!
Hubby did a great job of reusing as much of the dresser as possible. All the kidding I do about him, he really is a great woodworker. He loves to make quality furniture pieces. You know I push him to the limit wanting to take junk and make it into something. I think it killed him to see solid oak, maple and furniture grade plywood- all of which was free or really cheap- turned into a piece that will be painted.
Once we got the top section of the dresser cut off we figured out the dimensions for the upper false drawer from a scrap section of the dresser. The drawer fronts were hinged at the top of the piece using left over cabinet hinges from our kitchen remodel. The cabinet hinges allowed the drawer fronts to flap open. A simple box was built to attach the drawer front to.
We built the box after the front was assembled so that it would fit. If the dresser had been in better shape, we could have used a complete section of the dresser and it would have been much simpler…but we don’t do simple at our house! To do the back we literally laid out the bead board panel on the ground and I moved the mirror around until I was happy with the look. We then got a neighbor to come over and help us stand it up to see if I could reach into the top cabinets and still see myself in the mirror. It was all very scientific!
I may not be very picky about where I find my furniture, or the shape it is in when I do find it but I am picky about paint and brushes. I use Behr paint with primer in satin to paint all the wood finished work that I do. I use good quality paint brushes too. Before painting I use liquid sander on anything that I think may have a finish and I prime almost everything. If you are going to go to all the work of painting something, do it right so that the paint stays on. This piece was painted with Behr Marina Isle.
We took the mirror out of the frame to paint it cleanly.
I love my crystal knobs! One of genius moments of this project was when Hubby suggested that rather than connecting the back to the bench, we keep them separate and attach the back directly to the wall. This allowed us access to the outlet behind the bench without cutting a hole and made it much easier to move into the house. He was able to find studs and attach the back securely to wall and I could still move the bench out to clean.
The complete project took three weekends for us to disassemble the dresser, build the parts, paint and install. We had a lot of figuring, shopping and looking between those three weekends. The entire bench cost us $122.00 to build. Here are estimated costs- I rounded it all because I am lazy!
- Dresser- Free
- Mirror- $10.00
- Bead board panel- $23.00
- Plywood- $25.00
- Wood- $12.00
- Behr Paint- $40.00
- Crystal knobs- $12.00
The tufted cushion was a separate project that I spent $30.00 on. I know now that if I had gotten my foam from Amazon the cost would have been half that. Live and Learn.
I hope you enjoyed our efforts. It truly is my favorite project to date! When we were looking for our new home, a place for the bench was a requirement that I believe our realtor got a little tired of.
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Karen! Im glad I’m not the only one who has specific space requirements for my furniture when house shopping! Be sure to stop by The Weekend Country Girl to see what other magic Karen has worked on other thrift store finds.