Upcycled Welsh dresser idea – budget makeover to inspire new year DIY projects

Looking for an upcycled Welsh dresser idea? One creative homeowner, Andrea Smeaton, leads the way with her impressive DIY project

Looking for an upcycled Welsh dresser idea? One creative homeowner, Andrea Smeaton, leads the way with her impressive DIY project. Using decorative wallpaper swatches and a lick of paint she has turned her 'sad' dresser into a spectacular one.

Andrea shared her dresser transformation with our Ideal Home Room Clinic group. Writing, 'Who didn't have a yellowing pine Welsh dresser in the 70s and 80s? Fantastic for storage but tired looking and more dated than retro. I decided to revamp! So happy with the finished results.'

And happy she should be...

Before & After: Upcycled Welsh dresser

floral printed wooden dresser renovated

(Image credit: Future PLC/Andrea Smeaton)

Andrea tells Ideal Home, 'My sad old dresser needed life breathing into it. Perfect for storage and size but it did not fit into the clean-lined, bright and non-fussy theme of my new house.'

How to: budget DIY dresser project

Andrea began by removing the top section. Followed by taking the dresser doors off to revamp and reuse. Sanding and filling the vertical grooves, that lie inside the panels, with Polyfilla. This was to provide a perfectly flat surface to better apply the wallpaper.

pine wood dresser with drawers

(Image credit: Future PLC/Andrea Smeaton)

For the undercoat Andrea says, 'I started by using a basic white undercoat from B&Q. Having completed a few large pieces of furniture, trial and error has led me to use a small sponge roller for paint application. A couple of coats of this with a light sand in between.'

Keen to do the transformation cheaply she explains, ' I am a great believer of using up what I have in the shed. I had the perfect B&Q paint, any room, any surface one coat silk in FOG. This has been my go-to for the kitchen wall'. Andrea also used it to paint her lounge coffee table, 'which is an old school science desk, legs shorted chopped in half and made into a low square table.'

Painting and wallpapering the dresser

dresser with floral printed wallpaper and drawers

(Image credit: Future PLC/Andrea Smeaton)

Andrea explains how a couple of coats of this did the trick. 'You really don’t need to be too precious about these coats as you can distress when its completely dry, just watch the runs.'

'Again, ever the one for a bargain I found the contrasting wallpaper also at B&Q. The trick is, you need to rip a sample off approximately the size you need for the panel, times three. Make sure you get the different parts of the repeat pattern so you have a good selection add.'

Using PVA glue she skilfully stuck the wallpaper to the flat panels, trimming to fit using a scalpel.

 Let's not forget that yellow and grey is a winning colour combination set to shape 2021!

Related: Pantone Colour of the year 2021 is announced – it's perfect to set the tone for a happy home

room with floral printed wooden dresser

(Image credit: Future PLC/Andrea Smeaton)

'Once the dresser was dry I took a heavy sandpaper to it and took the paint back to the base wood and white undercoat. The trick is to try not to do this too uniformly, so it looks flaked and worn.'

More ideas: 32 Easy DIY projects and fun makes to do for every room in the house!

Andrea reinstated the original door knobs. Saying, 'they were such a beautiful pine colour after years of patina.' A wise design decision to retain some of the old character.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.