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Maple Dresser Makeover

Are you gals ready for a great dresser before and after makeover? 

I hope you also love how this one turned out!

I've been off the radar lately, and that's because I've been immersed in Marketplace and Ikea. As I've been trying to find tons of stuff to furnish my daughter's very first apartment.

Yup. My little girl is now living her very own life in a new city with a new job and tons of dreams! But wait a minute, that's not all; my son also moved out, and he's now attending the University of Maryland. The birds flew off the nest. I'll be updating you on this, at least on how her apartment turns out.

These pasts weeks felt as if I worked for a delivery company. From forks and knives to beds and dressers, I had to find all the necessities to set those kids on their own. 

It was there, on Marketplace, where I found this beautiful free dresser. That first picture was from the listing, and I went to pick it up without even knowing the dresser's measurements.

As you can see in the picture below, Louie was my right-hand doggy getting that piece out of the van! 

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This is a Solid Rock Maple dresser by the Ye Olde Randolph House in Vermont. Early American furniture dresser.

The dresser's flaws were a few stains on the top, another stain on one of the drawers, and loose drawer supports. On top of that, the yellowish finish made this lovely and well-made piece look dated.

The dresser was in tip-top shape. The drawers sported strong dovetail joints and nice dividers that were easy to take on/off. I love that little knickknack ride-on compartment, as well as the pulls.

Let's dive onto this makeover! I will recount all I did, but this is not necessarily a tutorial. I didn't want to buy a single product for this makeover cause, throughout the years, I've acquired tons of supplies for this type of job, and that's what I wanted to use.

What was my goal? 

My goal was to eliminate those pesky stains and reduce the yellowish tone on the dresser.


I sanded the wood stain off with my orbital sander. You can also use a chemical stripper if you need more power.

The sander was the perfect tool for removing the stain on all those big flat surfaces. I started with an 80-grid sandpaper, then moved to a 120, and then 220.

To remove the stain on those crevices and curved molding pieces, you have to do it by hand.

This is how the dresser looked when the wood stain was sanded off.  The top stain was sanded off. That spot looked even lighter than the surrounding area.

At this point, I decided to go for a lighter color or whitewash, as the tone was still too warm for my liking, and the final sealer was sure to bring the color up.


My second step was to condition the wood to prevent blotchiness when applying the stain.

However, when the conditioner settled in, that top stain was dark again and pronounced.

I didn't want to sand it anymore, and I didn't want to buy more stuff to try and minimize the stain. I researched and read about oxalic acid diluted in water working wonderfully for this situation.

I didn't have that product nor the time to buy it. Instead, I went into a "disguise-it" mode with that stain.


As per the initial plan, I used Varathane white wash wood stain to reduce the yellow/reddish tone. It was applied with a cloth rag and immediately removed. It brought the tone down, but the stain was still very visible.


I've had this Valspar translucent color glaze since I painted the kitchen island duck egg blue. I loved how this product worked on that project so much that I brought it out again to give more depth to this dresser, but most importantly, to try and minimize the visibility of the stain.

I love the character the glaze imparted to those little crevices on the dresser, but it did little to conceal the stain, although it helped.


My last resource was to use dark wax to try and hide the stain. 

However, to work that dark wax around your piece, you should apply clear wax first, let it sit, and buff it before applying the dark wax.

Luckily, the dark wax did the trick! :) 

I randomly applied thin lines of dark wax on the dresser's top, which were cleaned up with a rag immediately to wipe away the wax. Those small dark lines were the one's kind of disguised that mark.

The picture below shows the whitewash and dark glazed lines on those crevices. The dark wax was applied only to the top.

At first, I wanted to update the hardware using long pulls. I changed my mind when I couldn't remove those hardware marks on the drawers. Instead, the same pulls were spray-painted black.

Take a look at the new and improved dresser. It was ready for a photoshoot. 

I brought out some masculine props to take these pictures, given that this dresser was going to my daughter's boyfriend, who was also moving to a brand new space. 

Oh, I almost forgot! The drawers were cleaned up and lined with this black and white paper I also had in my stash.

Can you see the stain?

Yes, I do.

But hey, it's not that huge bothersome mark. Those little variations on the wood were made with glaze and dark wax, which are the ones that disguise the big stain.

The recipient didn't find a single flaw in this dresser, which was a good sign. ;)

I'm leaving you with some detailed shots of this pretty piece.

The dresser was delivered, and oh my, it was hard to bring it to his second-floor apartment, as this heavy dresser is made of real wood. 👍🏼

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  1. It looks great, job well done

  2. Well done!!! Some days I really miss doing these makeovers…this one definitely made me miss it! Beautiful job!

    1. Thank you! Totally agree with you on this. It was a long time since my last furniture makeover, that as soon as I saw the dresser I wanted to give it some of my time and effort. Although, many times I question my own sanity when in the middle of all that sanding and bufffing. :)

  3. Oh and congrats on being an “empty nester” but fear not…they usually return;)

    1. Oh no!! 😁😁 It's been bittersweet. The house feels empty and of course I miss them, but I definitely have more time on my hands.

  4. As always: LOVE IT!!! cs

  5. What a beautiful piece! It's great to hear from you and seems like we've both been experiencing similar changes! My son and grandson moved into their own condo in January...I lost my job of 26 years in December...not sure what my purpose in life is at the moment, lol!

    1. Oh no, Guerrina, I'm so sorry to hear you lost your job. These major life changes are tough to deal with. Girl, I'm heading off to reach out to you through email.

  6. Wow this piece turned out great, after all the different things you tried!

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