DIY: Baby changing table/dresser

Finding out you’re having a baby is exciting, but the number of furniture pieces and other items you now have to add to your expenses can be daunting. Most of us would love a really polished look like we see online and in stores… but the truth is those cost BIG bucks. Even a new dresser can get pricy, and then there is the changing table or combo debate. Do you get a separate changing table that will be obsolete in about a year (by the time they refuse to lay still on it) or do you go for a dresser that can be used as a changing table? We went for the latter, but we also weren’t  ready to spend “new dresser” prices. (Although I’m sure at some outlets there are reasonable things!) Instead we decided to go the DIY route. It’s more work to be sure, but what you get on the flip side you just can’t beat: the cost, the personalization (make it exactly how you want it), and working on a project as a couple… which to be fair could be a good or bad thing!

Step One: Locate the dresser.

There are many different places to find a free or cheap dresser that needs some TLC. We got really lucky and found free ones for both our kids. For Superman I was lucky enough to have my friend offer her parent’s old dresser/changing table from when they were all kids. What an amazingly generous thing! Her mom was about to give it away anyway so she gave it to us! (It probably goes without saying how cool it is that we have a piece of furniture that used to be in my friend’s house as a kid!) For Rogue I saw a curb alert on my local mom Facebook group and we zipped over to get it!

Step Two: Gather tools and supplies

Once you know what you are working with it’s time to start envisioning your final product. This means evaluating what the dresser needs repaired and how you want to paint it. Decide too if it needs new handles. The fun part is going to a hardware store to pick out handles if needed and the paint!
You will need a sander to take off the varnish so that your paint has something to stick to. Sanding paper will work but is much more labor intensive. We managed to borrow a sander from relatives which saved a lot of time. You really will need to sand the dresser before painting so don’t skip out on this step!

Step Three: Get to work!

img_1774First take the dresser apart (which usually just means taking the drawers out and handles off. Vacuum and clean as needed. Sand every finished inch (as in the back is probably not necessary). Is it sanded? Good! Now you can paint! Play how many coats by ear but generally 2-3 does the trick.


Handles: You can leave them be and re-attach once the paint is dry, buy new, or spray paint the originals.

For Superman we were doing a star wars themed nursery so I bought wooden handles, painted them white, and then printed star wars logos from the computer and simply painted those on with glue. Easy Peasy. For Rogue we spray painted the original hardware gold, just to give it some new life.


Step Four: Enjoy!

Once it is all dry you can move it into your little one’s room and get to using it! You’ll love the $$ you saved and the fact that your own creativity went into the furniture in their room!  For both kids we bought a changing pad that would sit on top of the dresser. Once your kid is done with diapers you simple put the changing pad in storage and you can use the top for pictures, books… a mess (which is what is on top of Superman’s… which is why the top is cut off in the photo 😉 this is real life people). I hope this inspires you do to a little DIY. I am not well versed in DIY projects, but this was simple, saved us a lot of money and it was fun to get to decide exactly what they would look like! So if you need a dresser in you’re kids room check out FB, go to a second hand store, find something that needs a little love and fix it up! Have fun! -Emi

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