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Friday, June 22, 2018

How to Turn an Old Dresser into a Vintage Inspired Map Cabinet

A dated dresser gets a vintage map cabinet inspired makeover with fresh new stain and hardware!

Remember the other week when I said I was busy working on a few furniture makeovers?  Do you also remember when I said I would not be refinishing another dresser anytime soon?  Well, that's because today's makeover totally kicked my butt.  It wasn't necessarily hard, just time consuming and rough working in a garage in 90 degree heat.  So, this one's for all you wood lovers out there who would rather see a piece of furniture refinished than painted.  I've mentioned before that you just know when a piece needs to be painted or refinished and this was one of those pieces that was worth the effort of refinishing. 

This dated dresser transformed into such a gorgeous vintage inspired map cabinet that I decided to keep it for myself.   That's the one downfalls of buying and refinishing/restoring furniture to sell, you want to keep everything!  
Old dresser turned vintage inspired map cabinet

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- 100 and 120 grit sanding pads
- Simple Green
- Paper towels
- Foam brush (for applying stain)
- Inexpensive paint brush (for applying clear coat)
- Screwdriver
- Tape measure

As soon as I saw this dresser on Facebook Marketplace I knew it would be the perfect piece to turn into a beautiful vintage inspired map cabinet.  It already had the look of multiple drawers, was solid wood and the $25 price tag made it super affordable.   I was even able to get the matching nightstand that I'll be updating soon. 

Dated dresser before
The dresser was actually in really good condition.  There weren't any major issues with the finish, BUT it had a horrible orange hue that was accented with tiny black specks.  It totally aged the piece and had to go. 

I started off sanding the top with my Ryobi Corner Cat, but it just wasn't powerful enough for the job.  I ended up running to Home Depot and buying a Dewalt orbital sander and wow what a difference it made.   I started with 100 grit sandpaper then once the finish was removed I switched to 120 grit. The Corner Cat worked great for getting in the corners and along the edges. 
Sanded down dresser

After many sweaty hours of sanding in a very hot and humid garage, I was happy to finally wipe the dresser clean with Simple Green and start staining.   I tested out a bunch of Minwax colors and ended up using a combination of Classic Gray and Espresso.  I applied Classic gray first (in an effort to reduce any orangey hues) then added 2 light layers of Espresso.  The combination ended up being perfect and really brought out the beautiful grain in the wood, something the original stain failed to do.

After the stain was dry, I applied two coats of Minwax waterbased Poly then finished it off with beautiful new hardware.  The label holders are from D.Lawless Hardware and the small knobs are from AliExpress.  
How to turn an old dresser into a vintage inspired map cabient
I moved the dresser into my office and I just love the additional storage that it offers.  The first two drawers hold a lot of my ETSY shop inventory, the third drawer holds paint and brushes and the bottom two drawers hold shipping supplies (boxes, tissue paper, tape, etc.)
Modern industrial farmhouse office
I may eventually add larger knobs and label holders, but for now, they work just fine and I'm happy with how they helped transform the dresser.
Vintage inspired map cabinet hardware
I still have some updates to make in this space, including finding a new rug and adding more wall decor, but it's coming along thanks to the new dresser makeover AND an amazing new find I picked up last week!

How awesome are these vintage theatre chairs????
Locker and vintage theatre chairs in modern industrial farmhouse office
I've been on the hunt for a set to fill the long wall that leads from our mudroom to my office and these are PERFECT!  It's a set of five chairs and I'm absolutely in love with them.  My husband is trying to convince me to sell them, but these babies aren't going anywhere.  I still have some decorating to do on the wall above them, so as soon as I figure that out I'll share the full view.  Until then, here's a little sneak peek.
modern industrial farmhouse office with DIY vintage inspired map cabinet

vintage theatre chairs and lockers in modern industrial farmhouse office

Modern industrial farmhouse office with vintage inspired map cabinet

The thrifted DIY vintage inspired map cabinet and vintage theatre chairs completely transformed the look and feel of my office.  It's now a place I love spending time and I've actually been sitting at my desk and keeping it neat.  Crazy, I know.  The best part about my entire office is that all of the large items were either free, thrifted or a DIY project.  It proves that you don't have to spend a lot of money to create a space you love.  Decorating and creating a home takes time and it takes time to find the right pieces at the right price.  Just be patient and they will come. 

If you are interested in sources used in my office you can find them here: 

- Dark wall paint color: Sherwin-Williams Iron Ore 
- Lockers: Free from my neighbor
- Rug: HomeGoods
- Fiddle Leaf: Michaels
- Baskets: HomeGoods
- Gray Storage Cart: IKEA (See how I organized it HERE)
- Work Hard and Be Nice to People print: Schoolhouse Electric
- Flat weave baskets: Goodwill
- Schoolhouse Light: Lowe's (similar)
- Desk chair: HomeGoods
- Pillow on chairs: The Ivory Gull
- Throw on chairs: Five Below


Vintage inspired map cabinet before and after


Would you like to comment?

  1. The stain you used is perfection! It looks like a vintage piece, but new! Love it, and your office!

  2. I love love your style. I just subscribed to your blog and I am super excited to get inspiration from you. I live in an apartment and have little room for all the things but I do refurbish furniture and sell in an antique store. I too would like to keep most every piece. Thank you for sharing your creativeness. Super good.