Turn a tired dressing table into a fabulous focal point

If you’ve got an old dresser that’s seen better days, save it from the skip and give it a contemporary makeover using just a lick of paint and a roll of trendy wallpaper. Combine zesty shades with a modern monochrome print to create a bespoke piece of furniture that packs a retro style punch.

  • Turn a tired dressing table into a fabulous focal point
    • Dressing table
    • Fine glasspaper
    • Rust-Oleum Mode Primer, grey matte
    • Rust-Oluem Mode Ultra High Gloss
    • Enamel, sunflower
    • Wallpaper, Graham & Brown:
    • Cityscape from B&Q
    • Wallpaper Paste
    • Clear varnish
    1. Begin by removing the existing handles and giving the dressing table a thorough clean with water and a mild detergent. Use fine glasspaper to lightly sand all sides; you do not need to remove the varnish but just roughen the surface to provide an even layer for the primer.

    2. Remove the drawers and mask off the inside areas you do not want to paint. Unscrew and remove the mirror portion of the dresser. If possible, remove the mirror from the wooden backing or alternatively, mask off the mirror.

    3. In a well ventilated area and wearing a face mask, spray the entire dressing table with primer, following the instructions on the can. Leave to dry for twelve hours.

    4. Using the top coat, spray all the edges and legs of the dressing table, not forgetting the tops and sides of the drawers and the edge of the wooden mirror back. Two coats are necessary to get a high gloss finish, and the second coat can be applied after fifteen minutes.

    5. Lightly sand the drawer handles. Put the fixing bolts back into the handles and use these to clamp the handles in a vice. Spray with two or three thin layers of top coat and leave to dry for at least one hour, or preferably overnight.

    6. Mix wallpaper paste according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cut the wallpaper slightly larger than you need for each section, then mark and trim accurately. Leave a gap round the edge of each piece of about 3mm so the bright yellow edges of the dresser show.

    7. Apply the paste to the paper and stick to the dresser. You will have a little bit of time to slide the paper until it’s in the correct position. You may have to trim some areas as the paper expands very slightly after pasting. When you are happy with the placement, use a brush or soft cloth to smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles.

    8. Cover all the surfaces of the dresser. You will only need to match the pattern of the print on the two long drawers. Leave to dry overnight.

    9. Once the dresser is completely dry, apply a coat of matte clear varnish, making sure to seal the edges of the paper. One coat should be enough, but if the piece of furniture is going to get a lot of use, apply couple more. The varnish should be dry after an hour.

    10. When the varnish is dry, re-fit the handles. Carefully use a sharp instrument to pierce the wallpaper, then insert the bolt from inside the drawer and screw into the handle. Re-fit the mirror in the same way.