From Trash to Treasure – Refurbishing a Faux Bamboo Dresser


I found an old bamboo dresser last fall in Marblehead, MA. Splintering wood, missing hardware and a sunken bottom – a woman was putting it out at the end of her driveway to throw away. Although she may had seen it as trash, I saw it as a salvageable, amazing find.

Refurbishing this piece was a ton of work, and I have to admit that my dad was mostly responsible for the success of the project! I played the role of art director (choosing a paint color/sheen and hardware) and work assistant (sanding, priming and painting), but I have to give a major shout out to my dad for all his dedication in helping me restore this dresser.

BEFORE - chipping paint, wood piece missing on right, broken hardware, no middle support.

BEFORE – chipping paint, wood piece missing on right, broken hardware, no middle support.

Despite the OKAY before picture, this thing was actually in pretty bad shape. An intricate bamboo corner was completely missing, as well as a hardware pull, the entire bottom was sinking in, the paint was peeling off, and it was also discolored (yellowing.) Together, my dad and I sanded down every inch of the dresser (electric for the smooth parts, hand-sanding all the faux bamboo details). He handmade a replacement piece of look-alike bamboo, and also created support leg for the middle of the dresser. It was then primed, and painted with a high gloss paint to get that lacquered-look.

We decided not to lacquer – mostly because we weren’t familiar with the process and didn’t have a safe place to spray. So…hand brushing it was! Total project time = ~10 hours over the course of 2 weeks.

I decided to repaint the dresser a shade of its original white (Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White in a high gloss).  Here is the final product all set up in my apartment!


At one point I toyed with the idea of painting the my hardware, however my dad talked me out of it, claiming that the original vintage ones were much more sophisticated. I did purchase two new white pulls from Anthropologie for the center doors. Click here to see the gorgeous selection of pulls and handles from Anthropologie.


Faux-bamboo dressers and consoles are definitely making a comeback! I was able to find lots of inspiration on Pinterest for my white bamboo dresser.  Hmm…maybe I should have painted the hardware white or gold like the images below:


Although I played it safe and went with white paint, I do love the look and feel of brightly painted bamboo dressers and consoles. Check out these brightly painted versions:


Currently, my bamboo dresser is serving its purpose as a media console. It’s a statement piece that almost everyone comments on the first time they visit my apartment, so I am happy to be sharing the story behind it to SIDG readers!



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