Tuesday, July 8, 2014

restor-a-finish dresser

We had a bit of an interruption, but it's time to talk about that stacked dresser.

As you may remember, the dresser looked like this when we found it at the barn sale. It wasn't in bad shape, but it needed a little love. There were no major scratches or defects - mostly it had lost it's luster after years of neglect.

We [we = me & Megan. Jon wanted no part in this project] toyed with the idea of completely refinishing it & painting it, but I couldn't settle on a color, and I don't always love the look of painted furniture. And if I'm being completely honest, I didn't trust my refinishing skills.

On top of that, I'm not sure what the long-term plan is for this dresser. Right now, it's going to live in an upstairs guest room that isn't finished yet (and when I say it isn't finished yet, I mean the only thing in there is this dresser). I hated the idea of going to the trouble of refinishing it before I was 1) committed to a color and 2) committed to it's permanent place in our home.

Thus enter Howard's Restor-a-Finish. I first came across this product on Pinterest. After extensive blog research, it seemed like a miracle product. We really didn't have anything to lose - if we didn't like the end result, we could always go back to Plan A: a complete refinish.

We purchased the restor-a-finish at Home Depot. I think it cost around $10. We bought 2 colors to try - walnut & dark walnut - but we couldn't tell a difference between the colors once they were applied. The process of applying the restor-a-finish couldn't have been easier. We just rubbed it on gently with 0000 steel wool and wiped it off. No waiting, no stripping, no elbow grease. The hardest part was pulling out all of the drawers. Ha! We followed the restor-a-finish application with another Howard product called Feed-n-Wax (also purchased at Home Depot), which you rub in & let sit for 30 minutes before wiping off any excess.

now which drawer went where??? 
almost there! we were smart enough to not put all the drawers back in until we had the hardware installed so we could easily pull them back out again.
The final step was replacing the hardware. We raided Anthropologie's hardware section, and we just couldn't decide so we got 15 different ones! I love the charm of the non-matching knobs. It's perfect for the vintage vibe of this old dresser.

i won't tell you how long it took for us to agree on a knob pattern we liked.
those knobs! *swoon*
I love how the knobs look with the camel print I bought in Dubai. Now it's time to get the room painted so I can hang the print above the dresser. 
As you can see, it definitely looks nicer, but restor-a-finish wasn't the miracle worker I hoped it would be. Contrary to the blogs I read and YouTube tutorials I watched, the restor-a-finish didn't make all the scratches or water marks disappear. What it did do is enhance the natural shine and color of the dresser's existing finish. What was a dull & drab finish, now looks more rich and hydrated. I would definitely recommend the Feed-n-Wax. It really helped put the finishing touch on the dresser.
some minor scratches didn't come out.
 luckily, you don't notice them unless you are really looking.
Overall, I'm happy with how it turned out. I may decide to completely refinish it someday, but since it looks fine as is, I'll probably get lazy and just leave it.


  1. Thank you for doing the "experimenting" for us...I will use your tips to re-do a radio cabinet