PB Kids Inspired Dresser

By Kate Riley July 6, 2012

One of my son’s best friends is Jack, or Jackie as everyone calls him.  Jackie is a sweet, athletic, funny boy and we hang out with his family a lot.  Jackie’s mom asked me to refinish a dresser for him and I was inspired by a Pottery Barn Kids dresser to paint it a bold blue and add some brushed nickel pulls to mimic the look of the collection.

camp collection inspired blue dresser cg


Here is the inspiration for this dresser, the Pottery Barn Kids Camp Dresser, retail price for this smaller size is $649.

pottery barn camp dresser


The cost for this makeover was $35 for the paint (from my local stockist) and $28 for the pulls which I found at Home Depot, so $63 total.

napoleonic blue dresser cg


The dresser was previously painted for Jackie’s sister in shades of pink and purple (I can’t find my “before” pics anywhere but you can imagine) so I painted over it using Annie Sloan’s ‘Napoleonic Blue’ Chalk Paint then added two coats coat of clear water-based satin Varathane on top.  It’s for an active boy so I wanted to reinforce the paint with extra protection!

napoleonic blue

Enamel paints are also my favorite paints for furniture, so if you’d like to use a quart of one of those instead of the AS Chalk Paint, try either Sherwin Williams ‘Dignity Blue’ or Benjamin Moore’s ‘Down Pour Blue’ – both are very close color matches.

Drilling new holes for hardware can be agonizing after you paint because you want to get it right the first time.  Here’s a trick I used to keep the new pulls all lined up and mistake free.  I start by finding the center point on the top drawers, then I use painter’s tape on top to mark where the holes will go.  Be sure your protective coat is fully cured with this method otherwise it could pull of some of the finish.

use painters tape to indicate where to drill

Next I lined up painter’s tape all the way down the drawers and marked the holes with a pencil using a measuring tape and level to guide me along each drawer.

painter's tape to align pulls


I find the 11/64 drill bit is a good size for the screws that come with standard hardware.

11 64 drill bit


Using the painter’s tape/level/measuring tape combo resulted in perfectly straight pulls.  Jackie’s dresser is getting picked up tomorrow, I sent a pic to his mom and it’s a hit!

napoleonic blue dresser up close


My apologies to all of you RSS and email subscribers that haven’t been getting this week’s posts, something strange is going on with Feedburner but I’m working on it!

Another round of Best of the Blogosphere’ coming up on Sunday, and don’t forget the Chillin’ and Grillin’ Link Party is Monday right here, followed up by the Pinterest Challenge on Tuesday.

Have a great weekend, over and out!




  1. Looks like it came from a high end furniture store! The color is great, not “kiddish” at all. That dresser will take him a long way. Just a fantastic redo.

  2. Love the color! May have to copy this for my boy’s room. We have a SW close by so thanks for the paint recommendation.

  3. Hi Kate!

    Fabulous job – as usual! Would love to know where the awesome map behind the dresser came from!!!

    • Hi Beth, the map is available at National Geographic store (online)!

  4. At first I thought that the tall chest of drawers was the one from Pottery Barn and I thought, ‘Oh, that looks so much better than her short, incomplete piece.’ I had to read it a second time to find that I had them switched! I SO prefer your piece over the PB sample. Good going! Yours looks terrific and leaves the PB sample in the dust! They’ll have to try harder to keep up with you!

  5. I am refinishing a dresser for my little boy in this same AS color right now (just got the 2nd coat on a few minutes ago actually). A question–did you skip the AS wax altogether and just do the verathane? Do you think that is better for a little boy? I don’t want to distress it, I want it to look like yours, more modern. I can’t wait to see mine when it’s done–I hope it looks as good as yours!

    • Hi Whitney, I didn’t use any wax at all, just two thin coats of Varathane, you could also use Minwax Polycrylic in clear satin, just make sure you do it in cooler temperatures (55 to 65 degrees) both dry very fast!

    • Hello Katiasergio, the wall map is available at National Geographic online store. :)

  6. Very pretty! Great idea for lining up the drawer pulls. On another note, I have never been to a “real” paint store before (like BM or SW) but see you mention them often. Is the paint superior to that at the bigger box hardware stores?

    • Hi Ann, I don’t think Ben Moore or Sherwin Williams are superior, but I do know they are very high quality. I mention them because they both carry water based enamel paints which are really wonderful for furniture. Not paid or perked to say it, just my personal experience!

  7. It looks great! Now, if I could find a desk for my son’s room that I could paint and it would turn out that good…

  8. Oddly enough, I’m painting a dresser for my son a color very much like that. Only here it is called Toronto Maple Leaf Blue. I was a bit hesitant to start it, but I’m loving how it looks! This one turned out really great.

  9. MANY THANKS! I’m about to tackle a couple of cabinets myself, your advice is going to help loads. I am considering painting my diningroom table and six caned chairs. Reading your advice it would appear cans of spray paint fot the chairs would give the best finish but I’m finicky about the shade. How difficult would you estimate brushing on paint would copare? I’ve used Behr latex semi gloss throughout the dining room thus far and have my hand in at applying it evenly.

  10. I’ve never been one for painting furniture but I think I’m going to hit the GoodWill store next week and see what I can find. Great color, great project!

  11. Great job, Kate — I love that color…reminds me of MS Plummage…I used it on my armoire and I’ve yet to tire of it. The silver pulls are perfect. and ps…my son’s nickname is Jackie :)

  12. Thanks so much for the great idea and photos! My 10 year old grandson needs a dresser. This one is perfect! He will love the gorgeous color. Thanks for choosing your projects with such care. They are simply lovely!

  13. This looks amazing!!!! The blue is such a gorgeous shade and so so perfect for a boy. Thank you for sharing I am inspired to give a DIY makeover a go. x

  14. I absolutely love this Napoleonic blue you used on this chest of drawer,I think it would also look terrific for a piece of furniture in a country home. Thanks for the BM and SW reference, it is easier to find in Montreal than the Chalk paint.

    Have a great Sunday, and try to make it Lazy, it is such a luxury…..


  15. Cute!! Amazing how the brand names can charge a premium for something very similar you can find/do yourself from a thrift store. Lowes (I’m HD too) carries templates for drilling new hardware holes, both for drawers and one for cabinets, too. It’s saved me a ton of time and headache.

  16. Kate,
    Thank you so much for showing such a rich chalk paint color without any distressing. I was beginning to think AS Chalk Paints weren’t for me, because I don’t like a distressed look. Now I must try chalk paint on my next furniture project!!!

  17. Love the color! What a great piece. Thanks for the helpful tips! Lining up the pulls with painters tape will be helpful in my furniture adventures!

  18. It looks better than the PB inspiration :) Great job!! I love the color – I have had it on my shelf for about five months now but have yet to find the right piece for it. Hopefully soon.

  19. Hi Kate,
    In agreement with so many here. Yours is better than the original. Thanks for sharing. Two questions. If you had not used the Annie Sloan, would you have sanded and primed for the enamel BM or SW paints? And I recently painted a nightstand, and since it is high use, I used Minwax waterbased polycrylic for it, two coats on the top. My question is that even after a week of drying time, when I placed some things back on the nightstand, not even heavy items, it left marks in the finish! Ugh! I am just ignoring them now because I am so irritated after all the hard work. Any thoughts about that? Is that typical?

  20. I just found your blog via Bower Power Blog, and I have to say that your dresser / roomset is WAY better than pb! Have you blogged about this room in general yet? I am inspired to make a nursery / guest bedroom with a ‘world traveler’ theme.

    • Hello Mrs. Smith, that map is from National Geographic and for $99 bucks it covers a large section of your wall!

  21. Looks fantastic. Love the shade of blue.

    Are you still disposing of the map? I remember on twitter you asked if anyone wanted it and I said I did but didn’t hear back. I would still like it if you want to find another home for it!

    • Thanks Kassie, and everyone, it’s the perfect shade of blue !

  22. I love it! Maybe this is a stupid question, but why wouldn’t you drill the holes for the new hardware before painting?

    • Not a stupid question, in fact quite smart Christina! You’d simply have to drill out any lingering paint residue, but that would work!

  23. Hi Kate, I have to tell you how much I love your painted pieces. Great color choices and always a beautiful finish. In a future post, I’d love to hear how you get such smooth surfaces after painting. (I recently tried painting something and although I tried to be very careful, used a Purdy brush and Behr latex, there were drips and lots of brush strokes once it was dry.) I remember when you refinished a friend’s contractor-grade bathroom cabinets and they were as smooth and shiny as can be. Is Floetrol the secret or is there something else I could do to get results like yours? Thanks for any tips!!

    • Hi Aly that’s such a great question! For me it’s a combination of 1) quality paint 2) the right temperature (55-70 degrees) 3) a good Purdy brush, and 4) thin coats. I think too many people layer it on too thick, thinner is better and definitely smoother! Also I tend to work the paint in one direction vertically, then come back horizontally with quick strokes, then back again vertically, that tends to level out the brush strokes.


    • Hi Mrs. Smith, nope it did not! Maybe $30 or so? That’s simple molding from a home improvement store, door framing trim as I recall, cut at 45 degree angles with a miter saw and tacked to the wall with a brad nailer. I spray painted it Espresso. They have several options at your local Lowes or Home Depot.

  24. Did you prime before you painted? Why or why not? If a primer is needed, would you use the oil based under the chalk paint?

  25. Fantastic!! I did a similar look, using the same PB dresser as inspiration, but it was before I found ASCP…which I love! I used Valspar Nautical Navy which is a great color too, maybe a little deeper than yours. I sealed mine with Minwax wipe on poly. I have never brushed on poly, does the particular one you used show brush strokes or yellow at all? I”m always on the look out for new products that will be durable on lighter paint colors as well. Thanks for sharing yours…I think this is one of my absolute favorite looks for a little boy’s room :)

    • Hi Hayley, I like the wipe on Poly too, but I believe that only comes in the oil based version which I don’t use over paint, just stain, because it can amber. I prefer they Polycrylic or the Varathane, but they both dry so quickly you have to work fast or you can get those visible brush strokes.

  26. Hi Kate,

    Mentioned a question on July 9th about the polycrylic finish and the problems I had with it. I am just finishing another piece of painted furniture and want to finish it off the same way but wondered about your thoughts regarding my original question before I press go! Here was the original question:
    In agreement with so many here. Yours is better than the original. Thanks for sharing. Two questions. If you had not used the Annie Sloan, would you have sanded and primed for the enamel BM or SW paints? And I recently painted a nightstand, and since it is high use, I used Minwax waterbased polycrylic for it, two coats on the top. My question is that even after a week of drying time, when I placed some things back on the nightstand, not even heavy items, it left marks in the finish! Ugh! I am just ignoring them now because I am so irritated after all the hard work. Any thoughts about that? Is that typical?
    THANKS kate!

    • Hi Mary, yep if I had not used the Annie Sloan I probably would have just painted over it with water based enamel paint! I agree with the Polycrylic – it can take weeks to fully cure and it’s always tempting to place things on top – I find lighter things are fine but heavier things like a lamp etc you should probably wait a few weeks for the surface to cure.

    • HI Kristen, the wall map is available at National Geographic online shop!

  27. Wow!! Love your work on the dresser. It looks refined and perfect for a boys room. Your work looks like it belongs on the covers of a furniture magazine.

  28. Hi Kate

    Love your blog and gorgeous projects! I’ve recently bought a chest of drawers and have started my furst real makeovers :) I wanted to ask if you prime and paint the inside of the drawers as well? I also find I’m going through loads of spray can primer. Thinking it may be cheaper to buy a spray gun and a large can of primer paint? Your advice would be appreciated. Thanks for inspiring blog!

    • Hi Tamryn, nope I don’t paint the sides of wood drawers, I tape off the fronts and will paint the front and back of the drawer front but that’s it!

  29. Hi, I’m a short-time follower and a first time commenter. I absolutely LOVE what you do with old/older pieces of furniture. Maybe this is the stuff of a separate post, but how do you pick furniture that is worth doing all this to? I see pieces at garage sales, etc but never know if the inside is how you pick it or the outside or both. Years (and years) ago I picked up a dresser from some junk dealer and painted it blue!! However, the dealer, I think, let his cat live in the drawers and I never could get the smell out of it. What should I be looking for in a used piece? And your dresser makeover above is absolutely amazing! Beautiful. Blue is my favorite color! Thank you.

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