Friday, November 29, 2013

The Dumpster Dresser

It's the day after Thanksgiving as you well know.  I'm NOT out Black Fridaying it up.  I am being a tad bit on the slacker side though and not writing a new blog post for the day.  Instead I'm picking out my favorite flip that my handsome handy husband and I did earlier this year.  I am updating it for you though and adding some new details. 

It's the Dumpster Dresser!!  While my husband and I are hard at work finishing up the makeover on our dining room hutch and buffet that used to belong to my grandmother this weekend, you can check out all of the work that went into the Dumpster Dresser. 

The story of this dresser/entertainment center began on any ordinary day in the Midwest.  My daughter and I on a dumpster dive.  This was a clean dumpster dive in a nice neighborhood.  No hepatitis shot needed.  Somebody had moved and their throwaway furniture didn't make the cut.  This was one of those pieces left behind.

Mint green, missing a drawer (we dug around for it, too!), the top was coming up and there were some issues with the side of it, too.  Plus the oversize knobs didn't do much to enhance it's appearance either.  

We had to reinforce this piece.  Glue, clamps, the whole shebang.   

We got rid of the curved sides and front trim which screamed "bedroom furniture".  That is usually the first thing I want to do when making over any bedroom furniture into something else.  Off comes the curved trim, in comes a straight piece. 
Since we were missing a drawer the top two drawers came down to the second row.  There was a problem though.  They weren't deep enough.  That's okay.  We hid that with some metal.
Oh, that's not the top but a piece of wood resting on top of the Dumpster Dresser. It would make a cute kitchen island though! 

My handsome handy husband used the drill press to pre-drill the holes before attaching this to the dresser.  Doing some grinding - no sharp edges.

We chose shed door pulls for the handles.  We backed them with metal that Triple H cut down to size.


I beat the heck out of this Dumpster Dresser with a chain to distress it.  Knicks, gouges, grooves, they were all welcome.  Industrial look baby!


Check out the metal rod at the top of the piece.  Then the rusty corner metal pieces.  We used a LOT of metal in different forms on this.  It added a lot of weight to it, too.

Look at the handles!  I love them.  Aren't they cool?  See where the drill press really came in handy?  With the way the screws on the piece line up so nicely?

I used a combination of paint and stain to achieve the finish on the wood.  I wanted it to look oil soaked in some areas. 

Here it is all complete.

We wanted to give this piece the look that it has a history to it and boy, does it ever! The stain and distressing we put this piece through makes it look like it would be just as comfortable at home as it would be in a machine shop.

Here's one more look at before and after.

Thanks to Triple H for helping me bring this idea to life!  I did the designing, distressing, sanding & staining.  He did all the heavy metal and wood work!  

We had this piece for sale and had some offers from all over, but shipping this beast (it weighs a TON) was too costly.  So, instead we sold our other one and Dumpster Dresser (yes, we still call it that) sits in our family room.  We love him, we love him, we love him.

A whole new furniture flip comes your way on Monday.  If you have one you'd like to share please email me.  Send before/after pictures and all of the details to .
 ~ Stephanie


  1. i love this one too. and i also love beating furniture with a chain....scary.

  2. L-O-V-E this! Seriously, I don't think I've seen a cooler make-over! This is exactly something I would put in my home! Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. If you make one like it, let me know Elisha! I'd love to see it. :-)

  3. I love that you take the true "throw-aways" and completely repurpose them. Good for the planet and good for my soul to see this creative makeover. Love the metal trim. That was pure genius!!!!

    1. Thanks so much Suzanne! I wish I had more time to just scour the streets for tossed furniture. What kills me about this one is that there was another dresser there, too, but it wouldn't fit in my SUV. When I went back for it the dumpster people had already emptied. Oh. That hurt my heart so much... :-)

  4. Love this look. Great way to give a dresser new life and that industrial look. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I absolutely love the way this looks. From the stain/paint combo to the metal. But mostly, I LOVE the metal. Are those corner metal brackets going all the way down the side edges or are they two strips? Looks stunning. I also love the fact that you thought to put metal behind the pulls for more impact. I am into industrial/rustic/traditional décor. I am obsessed with pottery barn & restoration hardware but would much rather go dumpster diving than pay thousands. (It's so fun & rewarding) But I've been running into a problem. I can't find metal anywhere. I can't weld or anything but a simple strip of metal like the ones you used would be perfect. Lowes is just about the only home improvement store near me & they only have strips of metal with holes in it, they carry 8 & 12 ft. but the screw holes are every inch. That's not really what I'm looking for & was really hoping you could help me out with where you were able to get the metal strips & rods at. I would really appreciate it a lot. I'm in the process of redoing a dresser & am going industrial all the way. But metal strips would really make it perfect. I hope you're able to help me. I don't redo furniture to sell, just redoing my home. & It's more of a sanity saver when you have a 3 year old. Lol. So any advice would not be profited on.

    1. Hi Jamie! Thanks so much for your kind comments. :-) We bought our metal at our local Menards Home Improvement store. The pieces going down the corner are actual corner pieces, not two strips of metal. We figured we spent about $200 in metal alone on this piece.


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