Wednesday, 21 June 2017

How to upcycle chests of drawers cheaply

The majority of today has been spent moving things over to my flat and moving out of my student house, so I thought I would share one of my DIY projects with you as I was so excited to put it in my new home.

As soon as I first saw my flat, I decided that I wanted two chests of drawers: one for my bathroom and one for my bedroom. My bathroom is actually rather large and had a big space with nothing in it, so I decided that some drawers would fill that space, as well as being very useful to store my products in. And my bedroom - well, let's just say that I own way too many clothes to just fit in a wardrobe...

The first task was to find two chests of drawers. I decided that I wanted to get some wooden ones that I could paint and make my own, but I didn't have the money to pay too much for them. My housemate mentioned the website, where people advertise things that they don't want any more, and give them to other people for free. If you need something, you can also put a post up asking anyone if they can provide it. I had a look through the posts and couldn't find exactly what I wanted, so I put a post up saying that I needed 2 chests of drawers - and a couple of days later a lady contacted me saying that she had 2 wooden chests of drawers, plus a bedside table, that she wanted to get rid of, and could I pick them up from her? Err, yes!

So Freecycle is definitely worth browsing if you are looking for some furniture for free, but other places worth checking out are charity shops that sell furniture. There is a specialist Oxfam down the road from where I live that purely sells furniture and they had lots of chests of drawers for around £15, which I would have purchased if I hadn't got the drawers from Freecycle. eBay is also worth a look too.

After picking the drawers up, the next step was deciding what colour to paint them. My dad and I went to B&Q and found this emulsion by Colours Premium that works on all surfaces, plus it was only £16 for a huge pot (and on offer at the time!). I decided that I wanted the wood to be painted matt, and I wanted blue for the bathroom and a light pink for my bedroom. I chose 'Tropez Blue' for the bathroom as I loved how bright it was, and 'Tutu' for my bedroom as it was a really pale, almost grey-pink.

I also considered using chalk paint, which is what people use to make furniture look really vintage and shabby-chic. However it was more expensive than the paint I chose, and I also would have had to have waxed the wood after I painted it, which can take days to fully dry. Ain't nobody got time for that!

With the emulsion I chose, the first step was to sand the wood down. The drawers were already painted in a glossy white emulsion, so I needed to get rid of the shine so that the new paint would stick properly and dry smoothly.

I then wiped the wood down with a wet cloth to get rid of the sandpaper dust, before wiping it again with a dry cloth. Then it was time to paint! Painting was so much easier than I thought it would be and the emulsion applied so well. I just bought a couple of paint brushes from Home Bargains that were around £2 each. I did do a second coat as it was streaky in a couple of places, and then I left it to dry overnight. 

And voila! The only other thing left to do was pick some drawer knobs. For the pink drawers I decided that I wanted some gold handles, so I scoured the internet. I found these beautiful bee-shaped drawer knobs on eBay and instantly fell in love with them. These were quite pricey at £3.25 each, but so worth it. I decided that I didn't want all bees, so I also chose some golden geometric drawer knobs, also from eBay. The shape of these reminds me of globes, and I think they match really well with the bees.

The drawer knobs were definitely the most pricey part of this project, but I love them so I was prepared to pay a higher price. However if you want some cheaper drawer knobs, places like Home Bargains and Primark do sets for a few pounds, and Homebase also had a pretty good selection for £1-2 per knob.

I also used the bee drawer knobs for my upcycled bedside table.

Here is my finished drawers that are in my bathroom. I think these are my favourite as the colour is so vibrant, and I love the mismatched drawer knobs.

All of these drawer knobs are from Homebase and were all very affordable.

This project was so easy to do and really inexpensive. I also love that I now own two sets of drawers that are completely unique and very personal to me. They also make my flat feel more like my own, and I'm so excited to properly move in when I start working in July!

Also update on my mental health, just in case you're interested - I'm feeling so much better today and found myself singing all the way home from Liverpool in the car. I've been busy all day which I think really helps, and I also feel like I've straightened out a few things in my mind. I'm feeling like my happy self once more, which is amazing :)
You can be soft and successful, a traditionalist and a rebel, a lover and a fighter, vulnerable and invincible.


  1. Normally these kind of posts don't really hold my interest (I haven't got a DIY bone in my body) but I adore the colours you chose! That pink is absolutely gorgeous and I love the bee handles.