A Modern Nautical Dresser Makeover

Our hallway makeover continues today! It feels silly to say that because the hallway is such a small space, but there really are quite a few things that one can do to make over a hallway – and we still aren’t even really done.

Today, it’s another trash to treasure furniture makeover! Woo hoo! Remember when we showed you how we painted up and stencilled the far wall, that we also divulged that we had purchased another sad sorry dresser?

Nautical Dresser Before

Well today’s its debut as something modern and nautical!

First things first, as with the smaller purple lion version, I had to remove the hardware and pry off the badly glued ‘trim’ work. I didn’t get a clear shot of the damaged drawers the first time, so I made sure to get one this time. See? Awful.Nautical Dresser 1


While I let my brain percolate on how I was going to deal with the drawers, I set to painting up the body of the dresser. I actually put it to a vote on our social media channels! I couldn’t decide among these gorgeous colours from PARA Paints.

We do have plans to use each of these colours in a project, but I couldn’t pick which one to use here. Well, you the readers spoke! And I went with Manitou Blue 2, which is ย a shade darker than the walls in our blog office.

Three coats and she was shiny and new…and admittedly looking a little retro chic.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Then I had to deal with the dang drawers.

I wanted to keep with the nautical vibe. I’ve been obsessed with texture lately, especially after adding the textured paper to the purple lion dresser. But I wanted to try something different for this one. So off to the craft store I went and I came home with $6 worth of cream colour, laminated burlap.

Buuuuut… (there’s always a but, right?!) the burlap was too porous and the damaged drawer fronts showed right through. So I ended up using some primer to cover the damage before adding the burlap. I get that this step sorta defeated the purpose of ‘just covering up the damage’… anyway.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

At first I was going to use decoupage medium, but it just wasn’t strong enough to adhere to the laminated burlap. Truthfully guys, I thought the laminated stuff would be easier to work with and cut, but if I were to do this again, I’d just use the natural burlap instead. This stuff was too stiff to pull taut. It took me quite a few tries to get it pulled over the drawer fronts without being too wavy and wonky. Oh and because of that, I ended up using hot glue to attach it to the drawer fronts.

Nautical Dresser 2

At which point, I realized I hadn’t even considered what I was going to do for hardware!

I don’t really want this piece to command a lot of attention in the hallway. I want it to flow with the space so that it still feels open and there’s no real visual break. Having said that, I still sort of wanted to give this piece a bit of a lift and a little more depth.

I decided I didn’t want to drill new holes in my drawer fronts. So I worked with what was there. I added simple brushed nickel pulls to the top two drawers.

And then for the rest….I settled on – rope. Yep. Rope. Cheap as cheap can be. And I lurve it.

I definitely did not invent this – in fact, my direction was entirely inspired by this AMAZING nautical dresser my friends Amy & Vicki did over on their blog, Canary Street Crafts. (Seriously, gorgeous right!?)

If you want rope drawer pulls, all you have to do is:

  • buy rope
  • buy teeny pipe clamps that fit around the rope

I had to widen my holes a bit with a drill bit. The rope label said it was 3/8″ thick, so I used a 1/2″ drill bit to widen the holes in the drawer fronts. Also, as I cut the rope (on a cutting board with a kitchen knife), I used a bit of tape to wrap the ends to stop them from fraying. But essentially, all you have to do is feed the rope through your hardware holes and then clamp them off on the inside of the drawer with your pipe clamps. Ummm. That’s it.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚Nautical Dresser 3


I filled this piece with the linen for the three beds upstairs and some extras. It freed up boat loads of space in our actual linen cupboard. At some point, I’ll turn my attention to that space, but since it has a door on it – meh.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ No one can see how messy it is!Nautical Dresser with Burlap and Rope Drawers


This little nook is now more or less complete with our DIY glass bottle lamp and a few other fun accessories.

Nautical Dresser with Burlap and Rope Drawers

I’m actually pleased as punch to announce this little area is chock full of DIY decor AND cost us less than $100 to do (including the cost of the dresser!!) DIY decorating does not have to be expensive!

Nautical Dresser with Burlap and Rope Drawers


(Sorry, there’s a radio ad in Halifax right now proclaiming that DIY decorating is costly and will ruin your marriage. I beg to disagree loudly.)Nautical Dresser with Burlap and Rope Drawers


Thanks for helping us pick the colour!

Oh and just in case you’re keeping track… still to do in this hallway:

  • deal with the doors (knobs, ugliness and linen cupboard)
  • update the light fixture

Chat soon,

*We are members of the 2015 PARA Paints Blog Crew. We get paint from them to do our projects, but our opinions (and indecisiveness over the sheer choice in colours!) is completely our own.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚


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Nautical Dresser with burlap and rope drawers






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2 thoughts on “A Modern Nautical Dresser Makeover

  1. I absolutely love this – the colours, the rope pulls and where it is nestled. Great job! Thanks for the inspiration. I, too, have a place on the coast, the eastern shore, and I might do this to one of my boring Ikea dressers. ๐Ÿ™‚

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