d.i.y-ing...not for the faint of heart.

what is it with bloggers these days?
i mean, they post tutorials, recipes, do it yourself projects and always claim how "easy" it is! 

but, i am here to tell you, they are LYING! 

ok, maybe not all of them, but at least the ones that talk about refinishing furniture.
it is h.a.r.d. work.

let me share my definitely worth it but definitely not a piece of cake experience with you...

when i moved into my apartment, my sister donated her dresser to me. 
since she found it in a dumpster, she wasn't too attached, and i took it off her hands gladly.

after talking about it all summer, mr. lesley and i finally decided it was time to get to work on our refinishing project. 
if we couldn't afford to buy a new dresser, we should at least try to spruce up the one we've got.

{behold the dresser in all her former glory}
after trying quite unsucessfully to use a sandpaper block to get off the varnish, we borrowed an electric sander from a friend, donned a bandana {western outlaw style}, and proceeded to hate our lives for the next few hours.
{note: sandpaper blocks do not work! no matter what they tell you, you need an electric sander!}

at first i was like, "this is so fun. i'm so awesome. mr. lesley must not be able to control himself while watching me use a power tool."

but after a little while my thoughts sounded a little more like, "no one will see me if i ugly cry right now." and "if mr. lesley doesn't come save me soon, i will kill him." 

yep, i pride myself on remaining calm and rational in moderately stressful situations. 
finally, we finished sanding, and i spray painted the primer. 
no bigs.
then i started painting, which was much, much, much more enjoyable than sanding. 

but, it was all too good to be true. 

apparently when they tell you that you need to put a seal on your dresser after you paint it, they mean it.
{a step i thought unnecessary. why would anyone want to seal furniture? that's crazy talk.}

we brought the dresser in, put all the nobs on, but i quickly realized my folly when i couldn't get a coffee ring off no matter how much i scrubbed.
and repainting every little area whenever it got stained got very old, very quickly.

we then had to take all the nobs off, haul it back out of our apartment, and use the spray paint sealer a blogger recommended.

but, yet again, the bloggers LIE! 
they tell you to use a spray paint sealant, but unless you are professional spray painter, it will streak!
and if you're OCD like me, you will have none of that.

so what should have taken us two days at most, was becoming never ending. 

mr. lesley had to re-paint, but because it was outside, dirt fell from the trees into the wet paint on the dresser, so then he had to re-sand it, and then re-paint it yet again.

and, of course, i swore you could see some of the dresser wood showing through, so then i had to paint more coats overtop of what he had already done.

finally, after everything was painted up to my ridiculous standards, we found a sealant you brush on and the end was finally in sight.

and after a week of moving our dresser inside and outside at least twice a day {oh, and having all our clothes that normally live in the dresser all over our bed and the floor for a week...that was fun!}, we were done! 

and it looked good! 

the trial and error process and general ridiculousness of it all was actually worth it! 
in conclusion, i would like to leave you with a few nuggets of wisdom...

1. when they tell you to "seal," they mean it.
2. spray paint is not your friend.
3. bloggers lie. 

and, most importantly, 

4. if you can refinish a dresser with your husband and remain married afterwards, you are going to be just fine.


  1. DIY'ing is no joke! And clearly refurnishing a piece of furniture should be part of marriage counseling. Glad you two made it. Oh, and the dresser rocks in a big way. It looks awesome!

  2. No way. Furniture is SO hard. I leave all the furniture redoing to the mans because I simply lack the patience and ability. The dresser looks BEAUTIFUL though; and I think you're right-if you're still married, you're good. ;)

  3. Haha I love this. And you are right. It's never easy. They DO lie.

  4. It drives me crazy when people say DIY is so easy when most things take careful skill and lots of time! If you want them to look good, at least. I think I'm just too impatient for all of it.

    But I'm glad you guys made it through, the dresser looks really awesome!

  5. 1. Just found your blog. And this post almost made me laugh out loud. During a meeting. Not good.
    2. I want that dresser! I still have the furniture that I got when I was like 4. I'll be 23 in two weeks. It's time to update it. And I'd love to find a dresser like that for like $30 at a thrift store rather than give my mom a heart attack for "ruining" the solid oak dresser she bought me 19 years ago.
    3. Thanks for the tips. Pinterest makes this stuff look sooooo easy.

  6. It looks great. And you are seriously dedicated and much more patient than I. I have painted A LOT of furniture in my life and recently I have been following this method.
    Its super easy and NO SANDING!! And turns out well!
    One of my finished projects:
    Just thought I'd pass it on in case you want to attempt again but with less headache.