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DIY to Do: Transform a Plain Dresser into a Colorful Nursery Piece

A local furniture rehabber gives us the step-by-step for her adorable Ikea hack.

All photos courtesy of Meaghan McNamara.

When it comes to upcycling furniture, Meaghan McNamara knows her stuff. As a designer and profressional rehabber, she regularly gives old finds new life before selling them at her Kensington studio and shop, Regan & Meaghan. So who better to show us the ropes on a pet project? McNamara gave us the how-tos for one of her favorite DIYs—an animal-themed dresser for her daughter’s nursery, as seen above. Here’s how to recreate this DIY:

1) Pick a simple wood dresser and slap on a colorful coat of paint. McNamara painted Ikea’s classic, sturdy Hemnes chest with Benjamin Moore’s Fun N Games, a sprightly spearmint hue.

2) Next, spruce up the dresser by replacing the basic knobs with cheeky custom pulls. “I came across these small figurines in my studio that we use for different projects and got inspired,” says McNamara. You can buy sleeves of these little creatures at craft stores such as AC Moore or Michael’s.

3) Turn the plastic toys into knobs by first using a drill bit to place a small hole on the side of each animal. “Remember to lay out how you want your animals before drilling,” says McNamara. “I wanted mine facing each other so I laid them out in that order.” Make sure to stop short of going all the way through the animal so it doesn’t ruin the front. Feel a little drill-shy? Pick up a few extra animals just in case.

4) Place a drop of super glue in the hole, then push the screw in. Gently tap with a hammer to secure. Don’t forget that the screw should match up to the size of your drill bit.

5) Use Rust-oleum’s metallic gold spray paint to transform the animals into shimmering pulls. Pro tip from McNamara: “Place onto a piece of cardboard, then spray one side at a time so the paint doesn’t drip or get stuck. This spray paint dries quickly. Each side will be dry in 10 minutes.”

Got an awesome DIY project to share? Email mthomas@washingtonian.com with photos and a brief description for consideration.