I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where the cost of living goes up every second. I phoned a nearby store that sells unfinished pine dressers in various sizes and will even make them to order. They quoted about $400 for a small, unfinished pine dresser with three or four drawers. And I would still have to paint it myself! Needless to say, I continued looking for a used one.

Upcycling Challenges

I looked for weeks to find an old dresser to upcycle but wasn’t having any luck. I need a piece that is counter-height and as wide as the wall outside my kitchen, so my needs are pretty specific. My best-laid plans are to slide it over and use it as extra counter space for big cooking extravaganzas (hah!).

My persistence paid off. I finally found this old pine dresser on Craigslist that was the exact width I was looking for. The wall is 25 inches wide and the dresser is 3/4 of an inch smaller. I paid $15. The dresser is shorter in height than I need but that’s OK because I can add legs to raise and modernize it.

Photo of a small dresser in need of a makeover.

Upcycling dresser project—This small no-frills dresser needs repair and a makeover. It’ll be taller and snazzier but not too proud to act as extra work space for the kitchen.

Dressing Up the Dresser

The complete makeover will include painting, replacing knobs, repairing broken drawers, and adding legs. Oh and I might add a glass top to avoid scratching the surface.

Check back soon for the results.


Hard to believe that I’m halfway through my one-year lease at The Tiny Apartment. It’s been a busy couple of months, hence the absence of blog posts. But that will change in 2014 as I scramble to work on my small-space projects. I want to finish them soon to see if they make a difference in my space issues. I keep rearranging furniture and trying new pieces but the total space hasn’t jelled yet. I have to admit that it often feels cramped and cluttered. My tidiness skills have improved, but it’s pretty much a 24/7 job. With any lapse, my carefully ordered tiny ecosystem can regress into chaos in no time.

But new years are good excuses for new ways of being. Here’s to a creative, organized, and resourceful new year if that is what you want!