Painting The Inside Of Your White Dresser

While we all would love to have a peacock blue painted dresser in our home, it can incredibly hard to mix in a brightly colored piece of furniture into a contemporary setting.  Pink can be a very calming color but most people would find it difficult to accessorize with it in their bedroom if their home wasn't all decorated in French or shabby chic. While cream, and neutral beige and gray colors can be calming, color can add some spice and fun. Why not have both? If your home is quite formal, but you long for some color, consider adding an unexpected color inside of a cabinet.  Closets and cabinet drawers may be the perfect space to add a touch of color without disturbing the natural flow of neutrals through out your home.

The picture above is the Secret Cabinet being sold by Anthropologie which features a beautiful yellow interior

Painting inside your dresser and cabinets.

1. Clean inside your cabinets.

It is guaranteed that the inside of your cabinets and drawers have a bit of loose dust.  Vacuum the inside of your dresser drawers. When cleaning inside of your kitchen cabinets, be sure the surfaces are completely free of all grease, grime, and residue. With kitchen cabinets, and china cabinets, take the extra time and take off the cabinet doors.

2. Sanding

Sanding can be one of the most tedious parts of painting, but it is well worth the time and effort.  It is certainly not the most enjoyable part of the process, but through out the years your work will pay off.


A good primer is all that is needed most of the time for the inside of drawers in chests and dressers. Never never never cut corners and use a sticky drawer liner.  Over time these liners have ruined so many drawers and I personally have spent hours scratching inch by inch to get them out of vintage dressers. A better alternative is felt or velvet lining cut to size. The outside of a dresser and top of the dresser are areas that would need to be sanded before painting, though because most drawers are not painted and are of wood, a primer usually does the job quite well. Cover Stain primer sticks to almost any surface without scratching off. Test one drawer and if the paint peels off, it would be likely you need to sand before painting.

White Painted Cabinets -Photo Credit Pink Wallpaper

Kitchen Cabinets, and China Cabinets

With kitchen or china cabinets it is necessarily that a slight sand will make the surface more porous to accepting paint. Fine grit sandpaper - 150 or finer is recommended.  A slightly sanded surface will allow the primer to bite and hold onto the cabinet surface and will greatly increase longevity of the paint job. With china and kitchen cabinets that take a fair bit of abuse each day, this step is absolutely necessary. Please do not skip this step.  I painted an interior of a china cabinet with black flat oil paint thinking it would do the job of a primer, only to come to know after it was completed that it didn't stick at all. It was disheartening to scrape off the paint and start over again all because I didn't sand first.

3. Apply a primer.

Over the years, I have found oil based primers more effective, than water based primers. I don't take chances on my furniture anymore by using water based. I have tried Behr Paint and Primer which is great, but on some projects this brand has failed to stick. Cover stain Primer can be tined in a wide range of lighter colors, and is a tremendous time saver because it sticks to almost every surface. Often times, I use just the tinted primer, and a polycrylic satin sealant on most of my furniture. Cover stain also is excellent to sand, so if you want to take your shelves out to distress after the paint has dried, this paint is very easy to sand.

Primer forms a better bond with the surface than paint alone would.  A primed surface means that it is less likely to chip and peel if it gets bumped with dishes or pots and pans. If your cabinets are already painted and you are re-painting them the same color, you can skip this step and go ahead and apply the paint.

If your cabinets are a natural wood grain, you must prime them first. The paint will not stick a varnished surface. Shellac based primers, and oil based carry a very strong odor and caution should be used. It is imperative that you do wear a mask and great caution should be used if you plan on using them with a pneumatic sprayer. It is absolutely necessary that you wear a mask and have a lot of ventilation because respiratory problems can develop even when using a mask with a pneumatic sprayer.

4. Painting the cabinets

After sanding and priming, your cabinet doors probably look terrible. The foundation for a nice coat of paint is ready, and a coat of paint will bring your kitchen transformation to life. A pneumatic sprayer is the best way to get a smooth and glossy finish, though again, heavy precaution should be used to with an oxygen ventilator, or multiple fans and a heavy duty breathing mask should be used.

If you choose to paint by hand you still can achieve a professional finish by using a high quality paint brush or foam paint brush which will even out your strokes. The key to achieving a professional finish with a brush is to use very thin coats. It can be very tempting to paint on very thick coats to get the job done quicker especially after the hours of priming and sanding. Thick coats will mean a uneven finish. The best and most durable paint jobs are built up by consecutive thin layers of paint.

Lightly apply your first coat and let it dry completely. If you really want to achieve a professional finish, take some 400 grit sandpaper and very lightly sand between coats. Ideally you are not trying to remove the paint, but instead preparing a smooth surface for the next coat.  In most cases two coats of paint will cover well, but occasionally three may give better results.

It is best that you take your time at your transformation. I know too many times I have rushed through projects because I was tired and wanted it done, I have regretted because my work has turned out sloppy.  Work at your transformation every day or every couple of days. If you feel rushed or tired, it is very likely that you will try to take shortcuts. After your cabinets are hung, or drawers are in place you will enjoy the bright, clean and renewed space that you've worked so hard to achieve will look dynamite!

A pale blue backdrop sets off the monochromatic scheme From Country Living

Decorating in White From Cottage Living

Painted Chinoiserie Style Secretary From Greenwich Living Antiques & Design Centre

This lovely painted cabinet is from Greenwich Living Antiques
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