Patina Dresser

By Kate Riley March 3, 2010

Every time I go to antique fairs, I am always drawn to those pieces that someone has glazed with a bold color.  My entire house is filled with mostly dark wood tones or white painted furniture, so this time, I thought I’d have some fun !

As you know from this week’s sordid tale about stripping paint off furniture, I had my little heart set on giving my previously white Craigslist dresser the look of a French antique.   With spring drawing very near, I thought it a good time to add a pop of color to our home.  To me, turquoise is a color that is simultaneously vibrant and calming, and a reminder of coastal waters by the sea.

You’ll recall the ‘Before’ with the multiple layers of white chipping paint, and here is the dresser after it was mostly stripped of it’s paint. 

b and a2

Here is the patina dresser, given a romantic new look, and refinished in this fresh new color.  

cg patina dresser

I just love this piece now.  It looks like something I’d want to buy from an antique shop!  To achieve this look, I invested in new knobs, some appliqués, and some paint.  (Sources below)

color and appliques

The first thing I did was stain my appliqués a little darker with an old half pint of honey stain I had leftover from years ago, so they would match the tone of the dresser. 

stained appliques

Then I attached them to the drawers with Titebond wood glue.  Setting paint cans on top helped them lay flat on the dresser so they would stick !

glue to dresser

As the appliqués dried, I watered down my small Pratt & Lambert sample of turquoise paint (called “Always Smooth”) with a few tablespoons of water and applied the base coat of glaze to the dresser.  No primer on purpose here – I wanted the wood tones to show through. 

glaze with base

When the deep turquoise base was dry, I dry brushed the second paint color on top after I turned it into a glaze with some water.  I bought a quart because I loved this color so much – it’s called ‘Rainy Day’ by Pratt & Lambert.  I’ll definitely be using this color in the future – it’s gorgeous.

You could easily get away with just buying another sample color because watering it down makes it go far enough to cover a piece like this. 

pandl rainy day

Dry brushing is simply dipping your paint brush in paint, then wiping most of it off before you apply it to your piece to get this deliberate two-tone look by revealing the base underneath.

dry brush strokes  

When it was all dry, I sanded the edges with a sanding pad to reveal some of the wood.

sand edges


Finally, I added a coat of Polycrylic in Satin to protect my hard work !

minwax polycrylic


I am loving the weathered look and colors of this dresser !

dresser detail more

rubbed sanded edge


detailed layers

So much can be done with appliqués and new knobs to give a piece a new look !  For today, this dresser is sitting in our foyer, but it will be returned to the mud room shortly.  I’m sure I can use this piece in a future guest room someday too.

Sources for materials: dresser from Craigslist; appliqués from Lowes;  Pratt & Lambert paint and Minwax Polycrylic from OSH; knobs from Anthropologie.

cg patina dresser 2

pitcher and books


I am loving this color so much lately.  And how wonderful that Pantone named turquoise ‘Color of the Year’ !  To me, turquoise is such a friendly color because it gets along so well with others.  It’s so feisty when paired with coral or orange, like a fiesta with reds, like sea glass with greens, a stunning focal point with white, and a cool compliment to warm browns.

What about you, how do you feel about turquoise ?  




  1. Amazing transformation! I love how it turned out.

    I’m almost tempted to try something like this on one of the several pieces currently awaiting paint/makeovers in my garage. Almost. Except that it looks like it takes a lot of work and more creative skill than I’m blessed with.

    And I’m with you on the turquoise – I felt to trendy when I saw that it’s this year’s “color”, as we’ve got turquoise sprinkled throughout our house!

  2. I have been waiting for days to see this! I love, love, love it! Those knobs look like Anthro knobs? I want to paint something turquoise now….Oh! And would you believe I have never stripped(I mean used paint stripper)? Now, since you did the test, I get to start with the citrus-y type – goody!

  3. Love the dresser he appliques were a good call and so is the color. Do tell about that turquoise apple in the vignette. Did you paint it? Or buy it that way?

  4. Your post is quite timely! I am going to paint my sideboard in the dining room turquoise (after I finish redoing my office white with turquoise and orange accents) and have been collecting photos of turquoise painted furniture for inspiration. I’m adding yours to the bunch. Love it.

  5. It turned out so beautiful! I am looking around to see what furniture needs that technique now. It really does look aged. WOW!

  6. LOVE it! I used similar colors to dry brush a wooden serving tray last summer. Something about that color blue and the soft wash of paint is just so refreshing! I’m glad turquoise is “in” right now because it pairs so well with my mostly white furniture and red accents.

    PS I am DROOLING over those knobs!

  7. Long time reader first time commenter. That piece is truly beautiful. It is so stunning I had to keep scrolling up and looking at it while I was reading about it. Bravo! You did a beautiful job!!

  8. I love how it turned out too! It’s very, very similar to a treatment I want to do to our shutters this summer. I LOVE turquoise for all the reasons you listed.

  9. Oh my word. This is just delightful! and I have to say while that dresser is scrumptous – I am so macking on that turquoise apple!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Simply Centsational!!! WOW!! What a beauty she turned out to be. You did it again! You’re on fire. Maybe those folks at Pantone have been following your blog. If not they should be! Well done Kate!

  11. That dresser is absolutely gorgeous. I love the colors, the appliques and the knobs. It is unbelievable how it all looks like it was meant to be together. Great job! I need to learn how to do this myself. Have you done it before or was this the first shot at patina. It turned out so great.

  12. Beautiful piece! I love the whole range of turquoise. I painted my living room a very subtle shade of turquoise & love the way it looks as the light changes throughout the day.

  13. Oh wow, you did such a fantastic job. I really love the color you chose. That color just goes incredibly with a lot of white and dark tones, like you said you have. It looks so amazing. Congratulations on the fabulous turnout!

  14. I LOVE how the dresser turned out! Beautiful! It makes me want to run out and do the same thing.
    I use turquoise a lot. I painted my bedroom turquoise and white 3 years ago, and then painted the master bath the same color. I’ve used it as accent colors in two other rooms, and I’m thinking about using a really muted turquoise in the living room.

  15. I love turquoise and white because it reminds me of Tiffany’s or the ocean on a sunny summer’s day.

    Does it say that I go to Anthro too much when I saw those knobs and knew exactly where they came from before you told us? I think yes.

  16. I’m lovin’ turquoise! The color of the year for good reason by my book. I just did a chair in turquoise myself and LOVE it to pieces. You did a fantastic job on the dresser! Just perfect.

  17. That is SO gorgeous!!!! I adore the color and have been wanting to add some turquoise to my house too! But I have always been afraid of it because its SO bright. You did a great job toning it down though while still letting it be a focal point. I’m gonna search for a dresser to try this on. Great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Your dresser if gorgeous! I love turquoise. Last year, before it was “color of the year” I painted the inside of a server with turquoise, as a secret pleasure just for me! it’s always a lovely surprise to open the white cabinet doors to a pop of turquoise. I am also curious about the turquoise apple – did you paint it?

  19. Love it! What a great color. So glad all your hard work paid off…I enjoyed reading about how you found & stripped the piece. You have breathed new life into it! Thanks for sharing.

  20. This is a beautiful dresser! I love the color and the finish. Thank you for the great directions. I have a dresser that I am going to be brave and paint. I want to paint it a creamy white and put a glaze over it. You are a wonderful inspiration!

  21. Love it. I love the color turquoise. I recently blogged about my favorite object and it was a cabinet that my dad built out of reclaimed wood and it’s turquoise. It was the original color on the walls. I absolutely love it.

  22. It turned out really beautifully. I like the addition of the appliques. I love aqua/turquoise. I’m redoing my dining room in an aqua & red theme. :)

  23. Absolutely gorgeous! I am so jealous of this piece. And, thank you for the tutorial! I can’t wait to try it out for myself.

  24. girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE IT!!! I too am in love with the turquoise. I finally finished my dining room & did away with the bold red and went for the blue/grey color & LOVE it- I also added a few pops of turquoise in my accessories- but then I went all springy/lingy and added a pop of HOT PINK around the room and girl I love it!!! I’ll go back to the turquoise when summer hits.

  25. this looks fabulous!!! I so love the color turquoise and robin’s egg….but then again, most women do, I wonder why? I am beginning to be called Mrs. Smurfette over here in my house because I have so many blue things….in fact, I just painted my kitchen two tone —- bottom half of the cabinets are a mellow turquoise….pics up soon!

  26. love turquoise…. LOVE the dresser! Great job! I am so doing this next chance I get!

  27. Love the color! My cousin just repainted her first dresser in what she’s calling tiffany bag blue, with the patined/dry brush look… They both look fab!

    But, did this piece replace that great highboy in your foyer?! I loved that piece- you did an awesome job on it. Hopefully you have something up your sleeve on that one!

    I need a bigger house! You’re inspiring me so much, that I don’t have room to put everything I want to do! :)


  28. This is GORGEOUS! I hadn’t thought much about adding the appliques, but I think they are a fabulous touch. The color is magnificent.

  29. Now THIS is my kind of blog!!! Not only do you show the before and after with the old chest, but all stops in between, in the most fabulous color. Turquoise has long been one of my favorite colors–to wear and, in particular, to live with. I have two old chests just waiting for an up-grade such as this, one which will have an open shelf unit sitting atop it to be filled with old Ohio pottery in the pale turquoise color of the 20’s and 30’s. Now to read the other items you have posted. I will certainly return again and again.

  30. Thjs is absolutely, hands down, i want it, gorgeous!!!! You did a great job at refinishing, adding the details along with that color. It is beautiful. Makes me want to paint something turquoise…just because!
    ~judi ;)

  31. It took me almost 30 years to figure out my favorite color. It just happens to be TURQUOISE! Love that dresser. Great work!!!

  32. It is “Centsational”, I love it and the color is so perfect….just looks like it’s always been that way! Great job!!!

  33. Oh my goodness, this is so beautiful! I love turquoise, and wow – you just always have such a way to make things look gorgeous! I wish I could rent out your taste for a week!

  34. Fabuloso! I love that color too! I think it is taking over the world and that is great because it makes me feel so happy! Thanks for showing us the steps and the results…it always inspires me to get off my duff and go out and paint something!

  35. You do such great work!! You are my hero! LOVE the new color on this dresser. I started visiting my local Salvation Army after seeing all the great stuff you re purpose but I have not found ANYTHING like the great stuff you have transformed. Love your house too!!

  36. SO pretty! Do you have Hobby Lobby there (it’s like a JoAnne’s or Michaels)? They have very similar knobs to Anthro usually at half the price!

  37. Amazing! You know, I’ve never cared much for the patina look. Just not something I’d ever go for but you have changed my thinking. I absolutely love what you’ve done. You are one talented lady. Thanks so much for sharing with us!

  38. Oh, Kate, it looks fab!!! You did a great job. Turquoise used to remind me of my grandmother’s OLD white Christmas tree with the turquoise lights and matching turquoise ornaments (very out of style by the mid 80s, you know?). So I wasn’t a fan. But it’s made such a great comeback…how could I not love it? ;)

  39. I LOVE this! I WANT this! My Craigslist never has great finds like this…people are always wanting top dollar for their stuff here! I would love to try a project like this! I’m hitting Goodwill today!

  40. i am totally on the turquoise train! I’ve always loved the color in clothing, now I am loving it for my home. Your dresser looks amazing.

  41. LOVE turquoise or an blue shade really. This dresser is just beautiful, the appliques really make it stand out. Beautiful job!

  42. Great transformation! I love the turqouise color, and of course it is the color of the year… Great job!

  43. I have always been a HUGE turquoise fan…in fact my first pieces of jewelry at the age of 2 were sterling and turquoise bracelets. Hate to admit it, but that was 37 years ago! =)

    Love having turquoise in my home too, and your new dresser is fabulous! Beautiful job.

  44. I’m TOTALLY stealing this idea for a chair I have that’s been stripped, sanded, and naked, for um… a couple of years. I couldn’t commit to a color, but this is perfect! Thank you!!!

  45. Ok, I do love turquoise – have it in pops throughout my house. You’re lucky you live far away, because I might steal this piece.

    ANYWAY…I was thinking about doing this type of finish for my new-to-me antique desk. Could you share what ratio of water-to-paint you used for the 2nd layer glaze?

  46. Seriously, I am obsessed with you. I want to come to your house and hang out with you. I am going to need help refinishing our antique doors in our house (there are like 20) and I will need ideas on how to update them without spending a ton of mulla.

    You’re brilliant!

  47. Absolutely breathtaking! I have an old 1930’s dresser that I got off CL for $30. You just gave me the most excellent idea. Don’t you just love those appliques?

    -Shannon in Austin

    PS: I still need to send you the pics of my redone bedroom set. Sorry I haven’t gotten them to you.

  48. I knew those turquoise knobs would be gorgeous, and look what you did!! Kate, you are amazing. Thanks for the great step-by-step!!

  49. Looks great. The wood onlays were a nice touch that really added to the finished product.

  50. Love this color. I did my oldest daughter’s bedroom using these colors. I wish I would have found old furniture and did this to it though, instead of buying some! Oh well, always next time!

  51. Very, very pretty. Such an awesome job. I agree, the appliques add tonnes of style to the finished piece. How long did this re-finish take you?

  52. This dresser is beeeeaauuuutiful! Yes – this is the HOT color, but they are calling it aqua (not turquoise) and aqua + red = a new kind of awesomeness.

    I’m really inspired by your willingness to GO FOR IT. I have many pieces around the house that I haven’t done anything with yet because I’m afraid I’ll regret it. But I’m almost getting up the courage to go buy some spray paint…

    I’d like to send you something – it’s a brochure about home decorating from the 1950’s – from Sherwin Williams paints. It has articles on updating things around the house with paint makeovers. I think you would enjoy it. If you send me your address, I can mail it to you.

  53. What a transformation, and you make it look very easy. I will keep your refinish tips!!
    Art by Karena

  54. Oh the finish you achieved on that piece is JUST GORGEOUS! I have so many samples & little bits of paint that I could have a great time playing around with on some accent furniture. Thanks for the great step-by-step!

    Turquoise….I love it! I know it’s the “IT” color right now and I’m not usually one for trends, but I’ve always loved this color. My home is beachy eclectic, so it just looks great with all my stuff. I’m currently making a door a chalkboard and the frame will be turquoise with faceted crystal knobs.

    If you love decorating books, be sure to check out my giveaway. I’m giving away a decorating book a day through next Wednesday. The book for today is The Nest’s Home Design Handbook!

  55. That’s really amazing! I would have spent a lot for something like that. Love the color, and love that little turquoise apple!

  56. Hi! I too love turqouise and shades of aqua. Almost every room in my home has aqua incorporated into them! It really is a relaxing shade and makes a room feel fresh and crisp! I love the furniture piece you transformed… very beautiful!
    I am fairly new to the blogging world and am looking forward to getting to know you! Hopefully you can check out my site too at!


  57. Wow…. is all I can say. Totally gorgeous!!!! You really are talented. I didn’t even know that you could water down paint to make a glaze….. duh. I learn something new every time I read your blog.

  58. Beautifully done! I absolutely love what you did to it. I bet there are quite a few places where this piece will look fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

  59. That is beautiful. I just purchased a similiar dresser from Craigslist and would love to do the same process. The color is great.

  60. This is just BEAUTIFUL!!! I love it so much…. makes me think of spring. Great job and thanks for sharing the tutorial. Hugs

  61. Oh wow! It turned out beautifully! Turquoise is one of my absolute favorites! Goes great with lots of things and is just so peaceful and breezy!

  62. I love turquoise, and I love your dresser. I totally agree it is a friendly colour, and I would add, very liveable. I never get tired of turquoise – and have loved it for years.

  63. You know what I love about how you refurb your furniture finds? You use what you already have (stains/paints you have lying around) but you incorporate such creative new details I never would have thought of!

    I adore this piece. It just looks like it’s full of history, like it holds stories of seaside dwellings. Turquoise is such a versatile color!

    (Thank you for your response to my thrifting post! It warmed my heart!)

  64. LOVE that dresser! I have a plain dresser (not stained) and would LOVE to do that look to it! Now I’ve just gotta convince the hubs! I am seriously swooning.

  65. Gorgeous! You have motivated me to give this a try. I got this pretty cool funky chair from relative that I wasn’t sure what to do with. I can recover the seat easily, but I wasn’t sure what to do with the color.
    I would love to refresh some things in our house, and need to do it very cheaply. Your post (with the pictures) is just the help I need.

  66. Thank-you so much for such a concise and detailed tutorial!!!! I love to see the creative refurbishing of furniture but I have never seen such a wonderfully generous teacher. No detail left undone, all brands noted and tested, EVERYTHING is so professional and yet easily understood. Thank-you, thank-you and thank-you again! Heading to the hardware store as soon as I sign off. I have a great idea for my old dining room chairs . Thanks Teach! Linda Lee

  67. Beautiful! Thank you for posting this. I am enjoying going through all of your thrift store finds. Very inspirational!

  68. You are so right about new hardware and appliques. It really gives a piece new life. Love the color. Great job!

  69. Really nice job… love the addition of the appliques and new knobs. I am also loving turquoise…

  70. I had no idea Pantone named Turquoise color of the year – it’s my fav color! And I love what you did to the dresser. I’ve learned a lot reading this post! :o)

  71. I love what you did to the dresser! I’ve been hunting for a dresser and think I found one at Salvation Army the other day. The only thing is there are a couple of chipped corners and I’m not sure how to deal with it. Is there anyway that I can mend it?

  72. Thank you so much. I love, love, love this. The turquoise is bueatiful. I just found a Pratt and Lambert seller in my area, but I can’t find any wood appliques. I’ve looked at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Michael’s. Where did you get yours?

  73. I really love this project and the colours are amazing, thing that stopped me in my tracks was ‘I added a coat of Polycrylic in Satin’… Can you really get away with a single coat? I use a satin water based varnish and I apply two sometimes three coats.

  74. the best of the best…i found your blog today and i have been reading since 6 oclock it is now 11 :D and i cant thank you enough for this dresser …i have been looking for this kind of painting since forever..i just loved it…and my living room and family room r blue too….love ur work uuuu

  75. i love turquoise…i painted a whole wall a truquoise color and mom is an artist so she gave me 3 wall arts with the blue evil eye it…you can check out my new humble blog to see step by step how im decoratiing my home
    tell me your opinion kate cause u r my muse :))))

  76. I think I have that SAME dresser! And those knobs you got, I’ve got them in white on my new dresser! :) I’ve been thinking about turning the old dresser into a kitchen island.

  77. I have decided I want to be you! I didn’t even know that those appliques were available – there is a world untouched out there for me to explore!

  78. I’m going to do this have the same style dresser. also
    i bought one for the living room.It was a sofa table..alredy done like this and it cost me 200.00 at tjmax..I Love it..same knobs but in cream love your’s and mind…got any ideals for a black bedroom’s it just like shabbychic.I know you can mix white with it..what would you do?glenn.

  79. Hello.

    I just stumbled upon your blog on Pinterest and you do a great job. Really simple to follow and the close-up pictures are wonderful. I am a very visual person so you have helped me a lot. Not to mention you are witty too. An enjoyable read for sure.


  80. Hi Kate! I have searching the internet for ideas on our various home remodel project and I have to say yours is the BEST!!! I am so excited about trying some of your ideas and adding my own twist. I love the color you used on this dresser, and I am thinking about incorporating it into my bathroom vanity, what kind of finish do you recommend? Satin? Velvet? Semi-gloss? Help!

    Thank you so much!!!!

    • Hi Melanie, I think I used a satin finish here (most samples come in that finish) but in a bathroom I’d go with semigloss.

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