In a time when wood prices are crazy and landfills are beyond capacity, let me suggest to you that upcycling / repurposing is the way to go. Save money, save the environment and have fun creating – like this upcycled dresser turned hall tree!
I love this so freaking much!
I don’t know what to tell you – I’m a genius!!
Okay, an accidental genius, but I’m still taking it because (for once) my idea turned out spectacularly!
See this dresser:
I picked up two of them at a MaxSold auction a month or so ago. This one was $40 CDN and the other was $2 – because it was missing a chunk out of one of the drawers.
The louvred front is actually one piece of wood – which I didn’t know before I bought it (online auction) – so fixing the corner of a drawer was way out of my depth. It wasn’t just a matter of replacing one row of wood, but the whole drawer front.
No matter, at $2 it was still a steal and I was planning on painting it in a two-tone finish, with black drawers in the hopes that it would hide the missing section and I could flip it fairly easily.
I got to sanding…
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I used 120 grit, 150 grid and then 220 grit and my random orbit sander and the carcass was spectacular! I believe that’s maple, and it’s solid wood! No veneer or edge banding here. 🥰
As I was sanding – because it generally takes an hour or so – I got to thinking about what I could do to this dresser to “upcycle” it instead of just refinish it. The difference being upcycling is changing it from its initial use and turning it into something different.
Follow me here… I had three drawer fronts that were absolutely perfect – they just needed a little clean up.
So what can I do with a 3 drawer dresser?
Add a shelf right?
Well one shelf isn’t good for much – two shelves would give it some balance.
What to store on those shelves?
Maybe a cable box or TV equipment? The spacing wasn’t quite tall enough for anything except smaller paperback books or….
if I put the shelves at the bottom they would be PERFECT for shoes!
Okay, now what piece of furniture has 2 drawers and shoe storage?
A hall tree!!
I removed the drawer slides from the bottom two sections and cut up some scrap maple I had leftover from a bookcase I dismantled ages ago. I cut the boards to the width and depth to fit in my upcycled dresser and voila!
I say voila like it was easy, but there was cutting and sanding and then gluing in place and tacking it in with a couple of finishing nails.
(There were a few steps to my voila 😂)
I love it already!
Now I needed a coat rack portion to turn it from a dresser into a hall tree.
I used two pieces of ¾” wood at a 6″ wide and then cut them so the overall height of my hall tree would be 74″.
I cut 2 more pieces of wood at 3″ wide and sized them to fit in between the two side boards. See if the photo is a better descriptor:
Setting my pocket hole jig to the ¾” mark, I drilled two holes in either end of the 3″ boards, and one end of the 6″ boards. You can see above where the 6″ boards will be attached to the dresser top.
Using wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket screws I attached the narrow boards between the wider ones at the top and bottom.
The hall tree frame needed a bit more strength, structure, and a more finished look, so I cut a third board at 3″ wide (with pocket holes on either end) and attached it to the coat rack frame at the top and flush with the front edges of the side boards. Wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket screws are hidden on the inside.
I added a topper with a ¾” thick board that is 1″ wider and deeper than the frame so that I had a small overhang. Glue and finishing nails hold it in place.
The upper coat rack section was built on the ground and then just lifted into place on top of the dresser. Wood glue and pocket screws hold it down to the dresser top. I filled in the visible pocket holes with pine pocket hole plugs. These are glued into place and then sanded smooth so they are barely noticeable.
I stared at the the upcycled dresser turned hall tree for a bit, stumped at how to make it look more balanced.
Use the louvred drawer front as the coat hook section!!
Gosh I’m good sometimes!
I dismantled the one “good” drawer that I’d pulled out and took the face off of it. Above you see it tacked into place.
I sanded everything perfectly smooth with 220 grit and my random orbit sander and then applied Rust-Oleum Flagstone wood stain.
The louvred sections all received a coat of Benjamin Moore’s Black Beauty.
Look at that wood!!
Beautiful colour, beautiful grain, and a perfect match from my dismantled bookcase to this upcycled dresser turned hall tree.
You see the hall tree now right?
I sealed the whole thing, including the shoe shelves, with Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane in satin for a strong and not-too-glossy finish.
I added the coat hooks to the louvred drawer front before installing it into the carcass. 1 ¼” wood screws drilled in from the back of the hall tree hold it in place.
I’m so glad I added some black to the upper section of the hall tree. Without it I think it would look bottom-heavy and unbalanced.
Now tell me, would you guess this was once a dresser?
I know hall trees generally have benches that you can sit on to put on or remove your shoes, but the seat inevitably gets covered with purses and backpacks.
Having the two drawers to store winter gear, hats, sunblock, dog poop bags – whatever you need before you run out the door – seemed much more useful.
(Please forgive my photo quality – I used my iPhone instead of my camera)
With two shelves at the bottom, we can fit at least 6 pairs of shoes.
I haven’t seen any upcycled dressers like this one – a dresser turned hall tree – but there are a million other upcycles you can do… potting benches, bookshelves, entryway tables etc.
This one I’m particularly proud of because it came from my head and not someone else’s brilliant idea.
Trust me – lightbulb moments (successful ones) are not a prolific experience for me. 😂
How about a before and after? PLEASE pin and share 🙏🏻
From my workshop:
One down, and one dresser to go – wondering what new and interesting upcycle I can do with that one?
Have a great one!