DIY Tutorials Furniture Painting

$15 Apothecary Chest – Furniture Makeover

vintage apothecary chest furniture makeover
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A $15 Apothecary Chest??!! Ummm, yes please! Below I am giving you all the details on how I turned a $15 Goodwill dresser into this gorgeous “Vintage” Apothecary Chest!

black milk paint dresser turn apothecary chest with vintage brass label pulls

$15 + Goodwill + Vision = “Vintage Inspired” Apothecary Chest of Drawers

Typically when moving homes, purge is the name of the game… unless your me, lol! And while I did purge quite a bit before our recent move, including some various pieces of project furniture, I simply couldn’t pass this little beauty up! And it was only $15 to boot! I mean how was a girl to leave it behind?

before photo of Goodwill dresser before the makeover

Exquease Me? Baking Powder?

“I’m sorry, what? We just got rid of the extra furniture in the garage, why would you go out and pick up more??!” Weeeeeell, this isn’t exactly how this conversation went, my husband has always been very supportive of my furniture hoarding ways, but this is at least what I imagined he would say… or perhaps it was my inner voice screaming at me?! Either way, I silenced the voice and chose not to listen (surprise, surprise!). At a mere $15, this steal of a deal was coming home with me!

I know many would look at this dresser and see a sad and serverely outdated piece, but I saw something quite different! The abundance of drawers and the smaller scale drawers lining the top was screaming apothecary chest! So, I stocked this beauty away in our garage and hoped the movers wouldn’t notice an extra piece of furniture hiding out!

At the time, I wasn’t sure if I would keep or sell it, however upon completion, now that we are in the new farmhouse and drawer space is very limited, I’ve decided to turn this beauty into a vintage inspired apothecary chest bar that serves not only wine, but function!

Materials Needed for Apothecary Chest Furniture Makeover

This project was so easy! Really! All that’s needed are the items below (many of which you most likely have on hand!)

Dresser from Goodwill – $15

The chosen dresser and price will obviously fluctuate for each individual, depending on your local thrift store, however old dressers can often be found for very little. When shopping, keep in mind that you want to look for dressers that offer varying sizes and an abundance of drawers, just like a true vintage apothecary chest would have. This helps to keep the look authentic.

“Vintage” Library Pulls – $14 for 16 pulls!

I looked all over the great world wide web for the perfect library drawer pull! I wanted one that looked vintage, but that also carried the perfect price tag; Friends, I am here to tell you that THESE are it! They are gorgeous, substantial and soooo affordable! I mean 16 pulls for $13.59?! Insane!

close up shot of vintage label in a library label pull on the vintage apothecary chest of drawers

Milk Paint – Black or other color of your choice

Krud Kutter

Fine Grit Sand Paper

Project Steps for Apothecary Chest Makeover:

Step #1: Remove all dresser hardware

Using a screw driver or power drill remove the existing dresser hardware from the drawers.

Note: As long as the current hardware holes will be covered by your new library pulls, there is no reason to have to fill with wood putty (score!)

Step #2: Clean and Sand Lightly

Give your dresser a light cleaning with Krud Kutter (or another cleaner of your choice) to remove any build up and residue from the piece.

After you have cleaned and dried off the dresser, give it a light sanding with a fine grit sand paper. Sanding the dresser gives it’s surface a bit more “bite,” allowing the milk paint to better adhere. Once you’re finished sanding, wipe off the excess dust with a slightly damp cloth.

Step #3: Paint Your Dresser

If you’ve never used milk paint before, no need to worry! Mixing milk paint is really so simple and using it is even easier. This process can seem intimidating at first, but really you can’t mess it up. Milk paint is supposed to chip in random places as it dries, so don’t freak out when this starts to happen! The beautiful and random chipping of the milk paint is what gives your piece the authentically old look! If a second coat is needed, continue to paint once the first coat has dried.

Step #4: Seal Your Newly Painted Dresser

Now it is time to seal your newly painted milk paint dresser. There are lots of sealing options out there, but one tried and true option is Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat. Painting on a sealer like this one will ensure that your perfectly chippy piece does not continue to chip for the life of the piece.

Step #5: Install Your New Library Drawer Pulls

Now that your dresser is painted, it’s time to install the new, brass library drawer pulls! Creating a small pilot hole for the screws to go into provides the easiest way of installing your hardware. I like to eye ball it with my hardware placement, but if this is not your forte, grab your ruler and a pen some you can measure and mark the screw holes directly on the dresser.

Step #6: Print vintage labels for your new pulls

To keep the look of the piece congruent and vintage, I created these vintage labels. Visit this post to get your FREE printable and learn how to make them! It’s so easy and makes all the difference in making your piece seem authentically old!

close up of bar tools and batteries drawers with bar bottles

Step #7: Style Your New Apothecary Chest And Enjoy!

We are using our “new” apothecary chest as a stylish bar that also serves as a convenient storage piece for other household items, such as batteries, art supplies, headphones, etc. Style and function!

close up of vintage apothecary chest with wooden bench vignette
library label pull says miscellaneous on black milk painted drawer
apothecary chest bar with farmhouse dining room in the background
black milk painted dresser made into a bar
close up of bar labels in library label pulls
close up shot of vintage label in a library label pull on the vintage apothecary chest of drawers
vintage apothecary chest furniture makeover

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6 Comments

  1. Looks AMAZING! LOVE IT! Crazy what your creativity can create my friend! So much character!

  2. Hi, I’m so glad that I saw this! I just bought a chest with small drawers for $20 through FB Marketplace. My plan was to turn it into an apothecary chest just like yours. You’ve given me the incentive to start my project!

    Thank you for such great details and printable labels! It will help me in my endeavor.

    Where did you buy your drawer pulls?

    1. Hi Lee!
      Thank you, I love hearing this! The drawer pulls are linked within the post 🙂 It should take you to the exact pulls within my Amazon Shop. They should also be linked in the DIY label post. Have fun!

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