| |

How I Transformed a Thrift Store Dresser with an Art Deco Makeover

Are you tired of your boring old furniture? Let me show you how I transformed a thrift store dresser with an Art Deco makeover using just a few simple supplies. So grab your paintbrush and let’s get started!

Do you prefer video tutorials?

Watch the full step-by-step Thrift Store Dresser to Art Deco Masterpiece:

Tools & Supplies

Step 1: Prepping the Dresser

The dresser was very dirty, so I used some trusty baby wipes and ensured that all the surfaces were nice and clean.

Once it was clean, I filled the scratches, dings, and dents with my favorite wood filler and a putty knife. I like to use a putty knife because it helps me get all of the wood filler into the dents and scratches.

After the wood filler dried, I used my sander to sand the surface and made sure everything was smooth before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Cutting the Balsa Wood Strips

The balsa wood came in twelve-inch strips. I wanted them to be the same length as the dresser drawers, so I needed to cut them with my miter saw. I set up a stop block to help me cut multiple pieces at the same time.

This process made cutting the balsa wood much faster. However, also wood is easy to cut. You can use any basic saw to make the cuts.

Step 3: Attaching Balsa Wood Strips to Drawers

Once I had all the balsa wood cut, it was time to glue it onto the dresser drawers. To do this, I marked my desired placement of the balsa wood and placed my first piece of balsa wood on the line. I also used the balsa wood strips as spacers.

Gluing balsa wood to dresser drawer

It seemed a little quicker to put all of the balsa wood strips along with the spacers in place at the same time and then mark where I wanted the balsa wood strips to go.

Once everything was marked, I removed the spacers, added wood glue, and put each of the strips of balsa wood in place according to my pencil markings. I did this for each side of the dresser drawer.

NOTE: You could choose to add the balsa wood to just the top drawer, but if you choose do all of your drawers like me. It’s important to double-check your measurements to ensure, all of the balsa wood strips line up.

After I glued the balsa wood strips to the drawer I added some painter’s tape to keep it in place until it dried.

taping balsa wood to dresser drawer

Step 4: Painting the Dresser

 I decided to paint the dresser an awesome mustard yellow color called Bosq Pear by Sherwin Williams.

painting dresser with balsa wood strips

The Final Results

And here are the BEFORE and AFTER pictures of my thrifted dresser. What do you think? I’m in love with the results.

thrifted blue dresser
mustard yellow dresser with art deco styling


What makes furniture look like Art Deco?

To make furniture look like art deco, you can incorporate the bold geometric shapes, lavish ornamentation, and bright colors that are characteristic of the art deco style. Some specific ways to achieve this include:

  1. Use geometric shapes: Incorporate angular shapes such as triangles, chevrons, and zigzags into the design of the furniture. This can be done through the use of stencils, paint, or even by adding balsa wood strips to the furniture.
  2. Add lavish ornamentation: Art deco is known for its elaborate, luxurious designs. You can add ornate details such as gold leafing, mirrored surfaces, or intricate carvings to your furniture.
  3. Use bold colors: Bright, bold colors such as mustard yellow, teal, and metallic shades were popular in the art deco era. You can incorporate these colors into your furniture through paint, upholstery, or decorative accents.

Overall, the key to making furniture look like art deco is to embrace the bold, glamorous aesthetic of the style and incorporate it into your design choices.

table top home decor

What are some other ideas for creating Art Deco on a budget?

Art deco style can be expensive due to its luxurious materials and intricate designs. However, it is possible to achieve the art deco look on a budget with a bit of creativity and resourcefulness. Here are some tips for doing art deco on a budget:

  1. Shop at thrift stores and flea markets: Look for art deco-inspired pieces at thrift stores and flea markets. You may be able to find unique, vintage items such as lamps, vases, and decorative objects at a fraction of the cost of new items.
  2. DIY projects: Consider DIY projects to create art deco-inspired pieces. For example, you can create geometric patterns on a plain dresser with stencils and paint, or add gold leafing to a lamp base.
  3. Repurpose items: Repurpose existing items in your home to fit the art deco style. For example, reupholster an old chair with a bold geometric pattern or add a metallic paint finish to a side table.
  4. Use affordable materials: You can achieve the look of luxurious materials like brass or marble with more affordable alternatives. For example, you can use spray paint to create a faux brass finish on a lamp or use adhesive paper to create a faux marble surface on a table.
  5. Focus on key elements: Incorporate key art deco elements like bold geometric shapes, metallic accents, and bright colors in smaller, more affordable items such as throw pillows or wall art.

Overall, the key to achieving the art deco look on a budget is to be resourceful and creative, focusing on smaller, affordable items and incorporating key elements of the style in unique and unexpected ways.

art deco dresser painted in mustard yellow

Now I want to know…are you ready to transform an old thrifted dresser into an Art Deco masterpiece?


Make It Easy – is the perfect DIY guide for busy women like you. All the projects can be done with minimal supplies in less than an hour.

Beginners DIY Tool Guide – will teach you about the tools you’ll need to get started on your DIY journey.

Paint Your Space Guide – if you’re overwhelmed by all the paint choices at the home improvement stores? Then this guide is for you.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *