Furniture Refurb: Adding Legs to a Dresser

 A few months ago I went down to the Washington-Wilkes area of Georgia for their Tour of Homes (so awesome, btw), and of course I had to stop into a few shops while I was there. I spotted this little dresser and I couldn’t resist the hardware… or the $30 price tag. I didn’t even haggle, I also didn’t even think about the fact that I had a dog and a husband who had to fit in the car on the way back to Atlanta. It all worked out, though. Good thing, the Hubs would’ve been mad if he had gotten left behind. Wink.


The inside of the dresser was stamped with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters label, so I knew it was made well and worth saving. I’m not totally sure how old it is, I’m assuming that the 5’s on each side of the stamp mean 1955? Anyone know?


Either way, I loved it at first sight but knew I wanted to add some legs to it to raise it up. I’m getting to be an old woman and anything I can do to keep from bending over is awesome. Okay, so I’m not that old. But I am that lazy.

I started by removing the bottom trim on the dresser. That’s when I realized that the “trim” was made up of 2×4’s that someone had recently added. When I pulled them off, I saw that there had been legs on it. Furious. Someone took the legs off of this baby and added 2×4’s!!


I had planned on staining this piece so I got busy stripping off the paint.  I found this amazing stuff at Home Depot called Klean Strip Premium Stripper. So. Easy. It took two cans, but waaaay less clean up than non-spray. While I was removing the paint, I was still fuming about the fact that someone amputated my dresser. And then this happened.


One drawer was a totally different color!

Cue peanut-butter-throat-wookiee-noise of frustration.

I sanded and stripped over and over and nothing helped. I knew that if I stained it as it was, that drawer would take the stain differently and would always bother me.


Ugh! I mean, wouldja look at that?!

So annoying.

Ohhhhkay, paint it is, then. I sprayed it with a spray primer and let it cure for a few days and flipped it over to add the tapered legs. Real time commentary: My hound dog has the most insane, room clearing, nose hair singeing gas right now. I’m dying.

Here’s a leg hole from the previous legs. Sad story.


I added a couple of 1×4’s to the dresser and attached the leg brackets to the wood.


The legs are 16″ Round Taper Legs by Waddell from Home Depot.


In order to hide the wood supports that the brackets were attached to, I added a couple of 1×2’s around the edge as trim.


I added wood glue and clamped ’em down and let them sit for 24 hours. I set the sides flush and set the front piece back just a bit.

I was still holding onto the stain idea for the top two drawers that didn’t have hardware but decided that might not look great with the paint color, so I went ahead and primed those as well.


After a good sanding, I taped off the feet and painted the whole thing with HomeRight FinishMax.


I’ve found that stacking is the easiest and fastest way to paint drawers. Maybe I’m late on this one…


I just tape off the sides and set each one back a bit so I can paint the top lip of the drawer as well.

After two weeks of drying/curing time, heeeeere she is!


I sprayed the hardware gold to go with some other gold action goin’ on in the master.



I picked up this phrenology hand at Home Goods for $15 bucks and added some vintage faucet knobs that I picked up at an estate sale.


This little light fixture was on my great grandmother’s front porch and we had it on our patio at our previous house in Texas.







Whaddya think? Better amputated?

It’s looks a little fat for the legs in some of these pics, but it’s really only 16″ inches deep and not as top heavy as it looks.

Have you ever added legs to a piece of furniture?


  1. Kellye says

    This is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve recently decided my decor style is mid century modern-meets rustic farmhouse and have been DIY’ing some things. (leather ottoman with hairpin legs to be finished today!)

    I have the Waddell legs from a side table attempt (too short for my sofa). How sturdy are they on a dresser with items inside?

    Thanks in advance!

    • says

      Hey Kellye! They’re pretty sturdy. These legs are actually a lil long for this dresser but it was still pretty sturdy. We had that thing packed full.

  2. Bridget from Cali says

    Dressers and chests are my kryptonite . Love your reinterpretation with the tall sexy legs and bold color. Stunning choices!!! Your frustrated WOOKIE yell choked me. Had a similar experience after I painstakingly removed the layers on a detailed french provincial dresser (with a matching armoire) to find the wood underneath very flawed. Much to my chagrin, the pieces were always meant to be painted vs. stained. Taking something down to the bones can be a risk — and way too labor intensive for my efforts these days. Hats off to you!

    • says

      Thank you, Bridget!! Glad you understand my wookie-frustration. I mean, not glad that you went through the same thing because it totally stinks, but, ya know… 🙂 Hope it’s warm out there in Cali. Dang cold here in ATL!

  3. says

    What a great piece! I’ve started dabbling in refinishing furniture and I’ve really wanted to find a great piece to add legs to. I love the color you chose! Great work!

  4. Benilda says

    Love everything about the dresser!
    You provided the depth as 16″. Can you share what the overall height is, leg height and what the drawer section height is?
    Thank you.

  5. says

    Thanks so much for this! I’ve been wanting to add legs to SO many mid century pieces, thanks for the post!

    PS love the coral, such a cute/bold choice!

  6. Kathy says

    Due to aging and arthritis it’s getting hard for my folks to bend over to get into bottom dresser drawers. Adding legs will certainly help them out. Thanks for sharing this neat idea.

  7. Rachel says

    Hey, I love your upcycle! I was actually looking for a solution to a problem I have when I came across your blog. I was wondering if you have any suggestions. I found a deadbeat dresser at a thrift shop and it was cheap. I am just beginning to get into upcycling and thought it would be a great choice. Once I got it home, I noticed that the decorative trim on the bottom of one of the sides is broken (maybey from being moved/slid?). It is a 1980’s dresser, I believe, and has a lot of curves and striping. Im not skilled enough, nor do I have the tools to recreate the trim piece, but I do think I am pretty handy. I am also on a tight budget. What would you suggest?

    • says

      Hey Rachel! This is a tough one. Without seeing it, I’m not really sure what I would do to recreate the trim… If you are painting the piece, I would start thinking outside the box about anything and everything that might duplicate the curves or striping – once it’s painted, you wouldn’t be able to tell. I wonder if you might be able to make something out of Sculpey that you could glue on and then paint over?? I wish I could be more help on this one!

  8. Ikaika says

    What size bracket did you use for the legs? Could you provide the url for home depot? I found the legs just not the brackets.

  9. tru says

    Wow. It now looks like a mid-century modern original. Gorgeous work!

    This was the first thing that came up as I started searching for information on adding legs to a dresser. I’m inspired!

  10. Mary says

    Beautiful!! Love it!! Great job!! Well done!! Trying to get the nerve to paint the oak dressers, in my bedroom. Thinking about doing them two-toned.

  11. says

    That color is PERFECT. I love the tips for adding legs – I have a similar piece, too, that is just too low for my lazy butt to bend down and get into. Haha. Might have to give it some height!

  12. says

    Love the dresser transformation of your red dresser! Can you tell us why you left your paint to dry/cure for weeks when most paint is ok to 2nd coat from 1 hour to 24 hours?

    • says

      Thanks, Seana! I just wanted to make extra-sure that when I put my books and stuff on it that it wasn’t tacky at all. Plus, it was out in the garage and it is super humid in Georgia so I wanted to give it extra time to dry. Also, when I picked up the paint at Home Depot, the paint guy recommended not putting anything on it for two weeks after the final coat was put on. Better safe than sorry!

  13. Zoe says

    Very nice job, and I sure understand about not bending down too far, too often. I believe that the original legs would have been about 6-8 inches long, tapered from about 2-3 inches at top, and angled slightly toward the sides of the dresser. I also think that someone had stripped it before you and then put stain on the one drawer, didn’t like it and decided to paint. Or something like that anyway.

    Good dressers are wonderful storage for so many things in any room. Great job on making yours unique!!

    • says

      Thanks, Zoe! I couldn’t find the exact legs I was looking for (for a decent price) and after two shipping mix ups, I just went with what I had. When I went to Home Depot to get angled brackets, they didn’t have any and said I would have to order them. After working on this thing for three weeks I was ready to have it done so I just went with the regular ones. Sure would have loved it if someone hadn’t cut those legs off in the first place!

  14. Nick says

    I’ve been meaning paint an old armoire that color for quite some time now, but have been rethinking the color, seeing all the great looking yellow pieces plastered all over the internet. Now I know my gut was right!

    Also, those legs are perfect! Great job!

  15. Christine S. says

    The legs have me mentally singing (because I’m at work it would be weird to just belt out…) ZZ Tops (I think that’s who sang it…) She’s Got Legs! LOVE them! SO much better with them than without.


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