an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard

Hello friends! Today I am sharing a furniture remodel I just finished. I created a patio sideboard for all my outdoor tabletop needs from an old dresser we had kicking around. I love how this refurbished dresser has a new lease on life.

an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard

We’ve owned this dresser for about two decades. I originally found it at an antique faire and I liked the shabby chic vibes. Although it had a heavy handed latex paint job, it was before my chalk paint awareness days. It fit into my shabby chic guest bedroom decor for a great price.

an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard

We no longer have a guest room, since we are converting the guest room into a Master Primary suite with an addition in the back of the house. More on that later.

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We had the dresser on the back porch when it was displaced from the guest room, which gave me the idea to utilize it on the porch with a new purpose. Of course it required an entire remake in order to fit the new assignment. Now that you know the why, let me show you the how I changed this old dresser. I gave you a sneak peak here {summer on a tray blog tour}.

refurbishing an old dresser for outdoor use
summer on a tray blog tour

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let’s talk about the refurbished dresser

The main treatment to transform the dresser was to change the paint job with a chalk paint. I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in the graphite color (more on that later).

rustic refurbished dresser

But the devil is in the details and by adding some special details it gave the dresser now sideboard a whole new attitude and personality.

  • Painting with chalk paint
  • Sanding
  • Adding appliques to doors
  • Varnishing for outdoor use
  • Detailing with striped paint job on drawer sides
  • Lining interior with black gingham oilcloth
  • Adding vintage inspired glass knobs
chalk paint dresser

steps to the refurbished dresser

The main cosmetic change to the dresser was painting it with chalk paint. I used Annie Sloan in Graphite with accents in Old White. I like using chalk paint for projects like this because it eliminates the prepping process. There is no sanding or priming necessary.

an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard

Although, I did sand this dresser a bit before painting, since it had been outside for a long time. The elements had caused some of the old latex paint to lift and split, so I sanded as much as I could to smooth out the finish. I used 120 & 220 grit sand paper for this. The lower the number on sand paper the coarser the grit.

an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard

Between coats, I allow the paint to dry overnight. This project actually took me waaaay longer than it should have, so sometimes it had a few days to cure actually but more on that later in a different post.

Annie Sloan chalk paint

I applied two coats of the graphite paint. Between coats I used 400 grit sand paper to smooth out the chalk paint.

an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard

Total side bar here- do you see my little helper? Meet Misty. If you follow me on social media then you know, but she is our new pup and she fills our home. I’ll share a post dedicated to her soon, ‘cuz well, she deserves it….

an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard

I accented the relief areas with white paint after the two coats of graphite paint. Once the white paint was dry and set, I sanded around the areas with 400 grit sandpaper. I used a dry paint brush to brush all the areas clean from any sand dust before touching up with the graphite paint.

chalk paint project

During all the different layers it weathered naturally further outside before it received the coats of varnish.

Since I will be using the dresser | sideboard outdoors, it required an appropriate top coat for the elements. Luckily Annie Sloan manufactures a Chalk Paint Lacquer, which is a hard-wearing, water-based polyacrylic varnish with built-in UV protection. I used the matte finish for this project.

an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard

I applied the lacquer the same way I apply the chalk paint, using brush strokes up & down and side to side. I also used two coats allowing a few hours in between to fully dry. The amount of time the paint or | and varnish will require to fully dry will vary according to the temperature. I prefer to allow overnight curing if I have the time.

an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard

The dresser now sideboard sits under an eve so it’s somewhat protected but it will still be subject to ambient moisture since it’s outdoors. I have never used this lacquer product before so we will see how it withstands the weather.

refurbished dresser

If we get a few seasons use out of it, I’m perfectly happy with that. It’s an old piece we’ve had over two decades and if I remember correctly we paid $125- for it way back when. We have gotten more than a return on our investment.

an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard

I was looking for a provincial European vibe that looked like it had sat lost in an old farmhouse for awhile. I think I somewhat achieved the look, although it is not exactly what I had initially envisioned.

accent touches to the refurbished dresser

I think if I had just painted the dresser in the dark graphite paint it would be very drab and dark. By adding accent details it brightens the dresser and gives it a patina rather than a dark aura.

an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard

The white detailing on all the relief areas brightens the piece and gives it an aged look. I love the grunge, weathered look, which I understand is not everyone’s cup of tea, but to me, it is perfect for this treatment.

chalk paint Annie Sloan

I added the appliqués to give it the traditional French feel, but then aged it to fit the outside setting. I painted the appliqués with the Old White paint and then aged them with Annie Sloan dark wax. The appliques are adhered with wood glue and varnished over as a sealant.

furniture appliques

Other details include the stripes on the drawer sides, the oil cloth liners and the gray glass knobs. I will share more details about these details and the use of the new sideboard next week since this post has plenty of information already.

an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard

I am not an expert in furniture refurbishment nor am I affiliated with Annie Sloan in any way. I simply did this project for my own use and Annie Sloan happens to be my preferred chalk paint. I learned some tricks when I was a vintage consigner and painted many pieces for sale but that was many years ago. I hope you found this helpful or of some interest to you. Thanks for stopping by.

get prepared for a chalk paint project

“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”

Frida Kahlo

sharing @ between naps on the porch


  1. It turned out amazing, MJ!! I love the dark color you used and the white reliefs that go down into the crevices is SO cool.
    The detail you put into this is crazy good! I love it!!

    1. Thanks Rachel. I rather do this than throw it out. Hopefully it will last a bit longer. But I’m loving the moody rustic vibes. XO- MJ

  2. Cara says:

    MaryJo, do you know how perfect this sideboard turned out? It did! I am so in love with it. Every detail from the appliques to the white distressing is superb. I have not worked with chalk paint much, I actually just picked up my first jar which I am using for crafts a little bit. You will have to let us know how the varnish holds up. I know the humidity held you up, it did me too. We used a marine grade varnish since I am not well versed in all things chalk paint, etc… lol. Love your piece, wish I had something just like it for our outdoor area.

  3. Anna Price says:

    MaryJo – Don’t you love Annie Sloan chalk paint?? Your refurbished sideboard turned out great! I love the white details that you added. No doubt it will last at least another 20 years!

    1. Thanks Anna! You are optimistic. Lol. 20 years would be amazing. XO- MJ

  4. Cindy Rust says:

    That color is amazing MaryJo! Chalk paint is the best!

  5. This is beautiful MaryJo!

  6. Laurie says:

    Glad you could transform it to fit your colors better! Fun!

    Thank you for sharing this at the Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop!


    1. Thanks Laurie! XO- MJ

I love hearing from you!