How to upcycle a chest of drawers using stencils and furniture paint for an on-trend design

Revamp a preloved chest of drawers in a weekend

Learn how to upcycle a chest of drawers to create a statement piece of furniture using different textured paints. Experimenting with matt and satin finishes will really make your design really pop – so what are you waiting for?

If you've not already got a piece of furniture for this upcycled furniture idea, why not head to your local charity shop or look online for a preloved item looking for some TLC?

How to upcycle a chest of drawers – what you'll need

upcycle sideboard can

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rust-Oleum)

Before you tackle the project, make sure you've got everything on our shopping list...

  • Chalky Finish Furniture Paint
  • Satin Furniture Paint
  • Foam rollers
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Stencil sheet
  • Craft knife
  • Cutting matt
  • Sugar soap and cloth for cleaning

How to upcycle a chest of drawers – step by step

1. Find a chest of drawers to upcycle

upcycle sideboard before

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rust-Oleum)

We're going to give this shabby old chest of drawers a new lease of life with chalky and satin furniture paint and a jazzy geometric design. You may already have a project to work on. If not, check out your local car boot, charity furniture shop, or Facebook Marketplace.

We're going to apply a geometric pattern, but if you fancy something wilder, learn how to paint a chest of drawers with a leopard print design.

2. Prepare your furniture


(Image credit: Future PLC/Rust-Oleum)

If you're using Rust-Oleum Furniture Paint, you probably won't need to sand your furniture as the paint is specially designed to key to the surface. However, it can be a good idea to give pre-painted or varnished wood a gentle rub over with sand paper. This will provide a key for the paint to adhere to.

Next, thoroughly clean your furniture with a damp cloth. Use sugar soap to remove any dust or grease on the surface.

Top tip: If you're planning to remove and relocate the drawer handles, fill the holes with wood filler and sand them smooth before painting.

3. Start painting the chest of drawers

upcycle sideboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rust-Oleum)

Use satin finish furniture paint and a small foam roller to paint each section of the drawers. Leave to dry fully. Apply a second coat if required.

Buy now: Rust-Oleum Satin Furniture Paint in Slate, £15 for 750ml, B&Q

4. Create your stencil

stencil sheet

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rust-Oleum)

It's time to create your stencil! Draw it out first using a pencil, ruler and stencil sheet. We've used triangles for a geometric repeat. Cut it out using a craft knife and cutting matt.

Buy now: Sew Easy plain plastic template, £3.25, Hobbycraft

5. Stencil on your design

stencil and chalky furniture pain

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rust-Oleum)

Use your stencil and chalky furniture paint to add your design to the drawer fronts. Use a stencil brush to fill in the shape using stippling motions. Move the stencil and repeat, making sure you don't smudge the previous design. Allow to dry fully.

Buy now: Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint in China Rose, £15 for 750ml, Homebase

6. Add new drawer handles

sideboard drawer handle

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rust-Oleum)

If desired, protect your painted furniture with a layer of varnish or lacquer to make it more resistant to knocks and scratches.

Finish your new statement chest with some modern drawer handles. Screw them in place securely to complete this pretty DIY and decorating project.

upcycle sideboard after

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rust-Oleum)

Stand back and admire your newly upcycled chest of drawers. Style with a lush potted plant for a splash of greenery.

Stephanie Durrant
Deputy Editor Style at Home

Steph Durrant is the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home’s sister magazine, Style at Home. Steph is an experienced journalist with more than 12  years under her belt working across the UK’s leading craft and interiors magazines. She first joined the team back in 2016 writing for both homes brands, specialising in all things craft, upcycling and DIY.