The Southern Nest Blog

A Nautical Dresser

A Nautical Dresser

I have received so many emails asking about the nautical dresser I painted for B’s big boy room.  It was pretty easy to do, so I will break the steps down for you here.

Sadly, I do not have a before picture.  The dresser was previously painted black and had brushed nickel hardware.  I knew I wanted a bright yellow dresser to complement the bold navy and white walls in B’s room, so I got to work.

First, I primed the dresser with “Gripper” primer (my all time favorite primer to use on furniture) and once dry, applied two coats of yellow latex paint.  Next, I distressed it to give it a more sophisticated feel.  I sanded the edges, then applied a coat of clear wax all over the dresser to give it more of a matte look.  I then strategically applied dark wax to mute the tone of the yellow and give it more of an aged appearance.

I liked it, but it just wasn’t “speaking” to me yet.  I decided it needed a distinctive, cleaner top and chose to do distressed navy and white stripes that would complement his walls. I took a scrap piece of wood and marked it to match the width of the stripes on his wall.  I used this as a guide so that I did not need to keep measuring where to place each stripe.  IMG_5330

After marking the placement of each stripe on the dresser, I used the guide to sketch the line that would separate each stripe.


I used painters tape to cleanly mark the first set of stripes.


I applied the same latex navy paint I used on his bedroom walls.  I brushed it on with a rough-bristle brush, as I was going for a distressed look at the end.


I waited for the navy stripes to dry completely, then taped the outlines to prepare for the white set of stripes.  I ran out of the white paint I had used on his walls, but really wanted the shades of white to be exact.  I cheated and purchased the “sample” of the color I used from Lowes.  It worked perfectly, my whites matched, and I saved some money.  Win win. 🙂


*Tip: After painting the stripes onto the furniture, remove the tape while the paint is still wet.  This prevents it from forming a "skin" while it starts to dry, so the tape removes cleanly and leaves your perfect stripe intact.  This is especially important when using latex based paint.*

After the white stripes dried, I sanded the entire top surface of the dresser to scuff some of the edges of the stripes up a bit.  Again, I applied clear wax and aged with a bit of dark wax, just as I had done the rest of the dresser.


I painted the brushed nickel hardware with Krylon’s Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint as a finishing touch.


I am so pleased with the overall look and so glad I decided to distress it.  He has been doing his own share of “distressing” the dresser and luckily, it just adds to the charm.



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