Upcycled: Bedroom Dresser to Outdoor Buffet


There is nothing better than sitting outside on a summer night with friends and family, campfire going, enjoying an ice cold beer* and whatever you’ve whipped up on the grill.
*adult seltzer for us gluten free maniacs

At our house, we have a set of great Adirondack chairs sitting on the porch with a view into Greenwich Bay, but our table space is severely lacking. Plus, with an excited pup waiting inside, a revolving door for friends and guests can become a little taxing.

I was browsing ideas for the Nautical Dresser I made this summer when I came across a DIY article from My Creative Days called How To Turn a Curbside Dresser Into a Bar. It was almost too perfect. I had been trying to figure out what to do with my childhood dresser so that our room wasn’t so cluttered with furniture; there was absolutely no room in the house for it and it wasn’t in good enough shape to sell for any real profit.


So, I took some ideas from this blogger’s creative genius and created my own spinoff Outdoor Buffet from an almost-curbside dresser! I was really excited for this one (as you might have read in My Summer Checklist post) since it was my first outdoor piece, and the first step in the right direction to redecorating our porch. Plus, I was excited to actually create something new with a piece of furniture, rather than just throw a few coats of paint over it and attach some new hardware.

The Colors
I plan to paint our deck a light blue floor with a cobalt ceiling, plus we live right by the water, so I wanted to stick with our nautical theme. I chose Valspar Ocean Radiance since it was a deep color that would fit along with our planned scheme.

The Materials
For this piece, I opted to try out Amy Howard One-Step Paint on my mom’s suggestion. She had seen a demo of the paint on a morning show, and sent it over immediately! I was intrigued (and wasn’t thrilled about sanding this very shiny-finished piece of furniture) – what did i have to lose?


Well, I quickly found out what I had to lose – arm strength and paintbrushes. This color was DEEP, and this paint was THICK. 5 chip brushes and four coats of paint later, I was finally able to get results that weren’t streaking. Sneakily, this was a blessing in disguise. The color paint was a lot more Little Mermaid than subdued teal, and the layers really helped to deepen the color for me.


To mix it up a bit, I decided to paint the inside of the drawers light blue, using the leftover Homemade Chalk Paint I whipped up for the dresser inside.


The Piece
We wanted to make this a display piece, as well as a useful piece of furniture that could hold up for a party. To that end, four drawers simply wouldn’t do. I took out the top two drawers and had Mike put in a sturdy plywood shelf (1/2 inch thick) resting atop the support bar. He has a knack for structural support, so we also put in a piece of wood across the back to create continuity with the shelf below.

Four more coats of paint on the inside, many paint drips in my hair, and another couple of brushes later, and the piece was finally the right color! At this point, I was getting close to the bottom of the quart, but I kept the rest to use for touch ups along the way.  It was a good thing I did, too.

My initial idea was to use a clear Rustoleum spray to seal the paint and waterproof it. BAD IDEA with a color this deep! The sheen of the spray left the piece looking dusty and dirty, and took away from the overall awesomeness of the coloring.

I had just enough left to paint over what I had already sealed before the quart was empty. I let the piece dry for a full 24 hours, and instead used 2 coats of my new love, Miniwax Polycrylic, as a sealant.


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The Details
I let the polycrylic dry for quite a while before I finished up the piece – probably two days. Having never used it on such a dark color before, and in the interest of not chipping the paint, of which I had run out, I thought it was better safe than sorry!

After that (very anticipatory) hiatus, it was finally time to add the finishing touches. I spotted these adorable Hickory Hardware Seahorse Pulls from The Mine and immediately fell in love. They were the perfect nautical touch.

Mike had also received the Patriots Bottle Opener pictured below as a gift – and since we plan on watching our favorite team on the outdoor TV as late into the season as possible, it only seemed appropriate to attach it to this piece!


I had been thinking about watching the games outdoors when an idea struck me – what if we waterproofed the bottom drawer and turned it into a cooler? No, I thought soon after, that would be impossible.

That SAME NIGHT, Mike asked me the same thing – how could we waterproof one of the drawers to turn into a temporary cooler? It was fate, so we had to try.

We brainstormed a bit, and the thought hit me. I had just replaced our shower curtain liner, and realized that it was a cheap, clear, very wateproof way to turn this drawer into an ice box. Plus, if it failed, we could just replace the bottom of the drawer and use it for its original purpose!

Mike drilled a hole in the bottom of the drawer and set me off to work. Attaching the liner was a task. I cut the standard sized liner in half and used masking tape and heavy books to set the liner in place and bend the corners to fit the drawer snugly. With the tape affixing everything in place, I was able to pull the whole liner out as a single piece, which stayed in shape, to give the bottom surface a coat of polycrylic and quickly stick the liner back in. I let that dry, and continued to piecemeal use the clearcoat to affix the liner in place.


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Finally, we attached an under cabinet wine glass hanger and paper towel roll to the inside of the shelf to keep all our supplies in one place. (The middle, non-cooler, drawer holds all of our grill tools and TV supplies.) My cousin had given us a nice Lucite tray and ice bucket, so they were the perfect finishing touch – especially with their boat flag displayed!


The Finished Product
This buffet has already been such a great hit. Just a couple of weeks ago we had friends over, a couple with a two year old son, and it was great to have the dog and the toddler able to run around on the deck without knocking over the food on the table. Plus, it cleared up the table for us to actually eat from! We filled the bottom with two bags of ice, a 12 pack of Narragansett Beers, and a few adult seltzers with no problems whatsoever. (My recommendation, however, would be to give the drawer a wipe down once the water drains to avoid molding.)

We had a great time grilling burgers and watching Sing that night – and that night made the project totally worth it to me. What great outdoor pieces have you made lately? Who knows what I should do with those two left over drawers?


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