In case you didn’t know, I live in a basement.  If that surprises you, you should know that I love it.  Even though I’m dreading the challenge of trying to air-condition it this summer (you can email me at texannewyorker [at] hotmail [dot] com if you’ve got suggestions), it’s a happy space, and I’ve really enjoyed making it my own.  I’ve lived there for almost three years, but until about two months ago, I shared it with a roommate.  She’s since moved on to Williamsburg, and I decided to take over the whole space for myself. 

A few people have suggested/requested that I blog my progress in redecorating the space, but that’s difficult to do without a real camera.  However, I got so excited about last night’s project that I couldn’t resist at least trying to capture some of it with my cameraphone.

The project:  re-vamp an old dresser a neighbor gave me

The obstacles:  refinishing and repainting are both time consuming and require workspace; I didn’t want to live with fumes or risk spilling paint/stripper/thinner/etc. on my basement floor or the concrete out back

Additional self-imposed rules:  adherence to my commitment to frugal living (my love for DIY projects helps that)

Solution:  covering the drawers with paper and replacing the hardware

I wanted the dresser to coordinate with the colors of my room (red, black, and white), but not match, per se.  I had some pretty paper that I’d purchased on sale for another project that I decided would be great for the dresser.

Materials:  gold paper w/white felt swirls
elmer’s spray adhesive
box cutter, screw drivers, scissors
plain white porcelain knobs

The project was actually fairly easy.  The first drawer didn’t go exactly as I’d planned, so I share with you the method for the final three drawers instead, which worked well.  I emptied the drawers and removed the existing hardware.  I then sprayed the drawer fronts with adhesive, and aligned the left side of the paper, a natural straight-edge, with the left side of the drawer and smoothed the paper across the front.  Because I used thick wrapping paper and a fairly “dry” adhesive, the paper stayed stiff and straight on its own and didn’t dip into any of the missing pieces of veneer or detailed veneer work on the front of the drawers.  I then trimmed the excess to the exact edge of the drawers using the box cutter (a razor blade or X-acto knife would have also worked).  I replaced the bottom six nobs with white porcelain knobs.  Actually, that’s only partially true.  Years ago I came across an old bedroom suite being thrown away, and though the furniture wasn’t anything I wanted, I did like the knobs, so I took all of them off and took them home.  There were four white ones and about 18 blue ones, all the same size, so I painted two of the blue ones with stark-white nail enamel so they’d match, then put them on the bottom (read: most inconspicuous) drawers.  For the top drawer, which is smaller, I re-used the original dark metal hardware, but painted over the existing detail with the same white nail enamel.

Halfway through, to give you a before/after idea:


EDIT:  Thanks, J, for flipping this for me!  Hopefully I’ll also have better pictures of the finished project soon.