This beautiful old silky oak dresser would have been gorgeous simply restored back to its original condition – however, as this piece was for my daughter’s room and she had her heart set on this pretty ‘Perrier Blue’ from Porters Paints, we decided to paint it. There’s always the chance that you may devalue an antique piece by re-painting it, so it’s good to tread lightly. If the piece is particularly valuable, you’re probably best not to re-paint it at all.
To give you an idea – if I had restored this piece back to it’s original finish, it may have been worth $800 – as a painted piece it’s probably worth only a third of that – however, it is still a fairly common piece and only cost me $100 at a garage sale, so I went ahead.
We only gave it a light sand and then applied a couple of coats of paint. The reason it’s good to only lightly sand antique pieces is that heavy sanding might ruin the intricate profiling and also, leaving some of the old finish on will protect the timber in the event you ever want to restore it back to its original condition. (If you really want to ensure a piece is really easy to restore back to its original condition later, use an oil-based enamel paint as it will be really easy to chemically strip – however, I used a low VOC water-based paint as they’re so much healthier and the dresser was going into a child’s room).
If you’re looking for old dressers or drawers at garage sales and the like – always check the runners, if they’re not in good working order it’ll cost a few hundred dollars to fix them. Only buy pieces that are structurally sound and have a gorgeous shape.