How to do DIY a Refinished Dresser

Unless you’ve had plenty of experience stripping wood, the entire process sounds dangerous and scary. But as designer Sabrina Smelko shows us, it’s actually not that complicated at all. She stripped down a beautiful dresser for the guest bedroom in this year’s Home to Win, creating a pretty stunning piece.

We have to say that transforming a piece of furniture like that is a dream skill to have. So with just a few supplies, some safety equipment and a little elbow grease, here’s how you can do it too.


  • Chemical stripper
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • A stiff putty knife
  • Steel wool

What you do:

  1. Using gloves (and with your safety goggles on), brush or pour the stripper directly onto the surface of the furniture.
  2. With a brush spread the stripper generously around and then let it sit.
  3. Wait a couple of minutes until the surface begins to bubble.
  4. Using your putty knife and lots of pressure, begin scraping off all of the old paint.
  5. Once the paint is removed, use more stripper to scrub the area down with a piece of steel wool. This will remove all of the leftover varnish and paint.
  6. Step back and admire your handiwork, because that’s all it takes!

Pro tips:

  • Be sure to always strip furniture in a well-ventilated area.
  • Don’t skimp on safety measures, as the chemical stripper is toxic.
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