Dorothy Draper DIY

I’ve been casually looking to replace our existing TV stand that we have in our bedroom.  The stand is relatively low to the ground, which makes it really hard to see the TV unless I sit upright.  These are real problems people!!

Because of the dilemma of needing a taller TV stand, I’ve been scouring the internet for inspiration.  Segue to… the Dorothy Draper chest.  Ta-da!!

Dorothy Draper dresser

It’s beautiful, with classic lines and awesome ring pulls.  I love the gold detailing you’ll find on most of them, and best of all, Kris approves!  It’s retro but timeless, and while it sounds like the perfect solution, there is a hitch.  They are REALLY expensive.  Trust me when I say, they are hard to come by – even on Craigslist, I am seeing Dorothy Draper pieces in the $500-$900 range (which is definitely more than I want to pay for the TV stand that goes in our bedroom).  A fully restored piece from an antique dealer could run well into the thousands, and so you can imagine my joy when I stumbled upon this Ikea Hack.

Everyone loves a good Ikea hack (I know I do), and while this one has already reverberated across the web, it’s new to me, so I am beyond excited!!  Does that nightstand below not look pretty much identical to the piece above??  Could have fooled me!

To make your own Dorothy Draper chest, you start out with a Rast Dresser from Ikea – this will run a whopping $30.

Not the most beautiful piece of furniture, but I’ve seen this bad boy transform before, so you know what it’s capable of – its the little dresser that could!

Assemble the dresser first and once it’s together, move on to the sanding phase.  The grain of the wood is pretty rough (I’ve seen it in stores), so don’t skip the sanding step.  Once it’s nice and smooth, wipe it clean with a tack cloth, and then move onto the priming phase.  Once the primer is dry, you can go the old fashioned route and paint the piece with a brush (or roller) or you can go Marcus’ route and use spray paint  (using the spray attachment for even coverage).

Marcus got crafty, and made a stencil based on several Draper pieces he’d seen online.  I’m not the free hand type, so I’d definitely go the stencil route.  If you don’t feel like making the stencil and cutting it out with an exacto knife like Marcus, you can go the easy route and get an overlay from O’verlays (I blogged about them here, and you can get their stuff here.)  A word of caution, the O’verlays will look nice, but they don’t offer the classic Draper shape below… you’ll end up with the look, but not exactly.  If you want the beveled outline, do the stencil.

Moving along, with the stencil’s cut, he used gold paint to transcribe the shape to the drawers, and with round ring pulls from here, the project was complete!  I made it sound way easier than it probably was, but that’s pretty much all there is to it.

Fabulous, no??  I’ll have to do two, and push them together for this to accommodate our enormous TV (it’s a pet peeve of mine when the TV hangs over the edges of it’s stand, I I’d like our new Dorothy Draper inspired chest(s) to be at least two inches longer than the TV on each side).

Anyway, the classic color combo is the black with gold – if you Google Dorothy Draper, you’ll find it’s pretty much all black and gold out there, but we have so much black furniture in our bedroom already… should I deviate from the classic Draper look and go for something lighter?

I saw this one online, and its nice.  I’m not loving it as much as the black ones I’ve seen, but it could work – plus with all the gold detail (at least twelve “drawers” with twelve ring pulls) maybe the black would be overkill??

So much to think about!!

2 thoughts on “Dorothy Draper DIY

  1. This is such a great idea – my grandmother had a dresser that reminded me so much of this! I only wish my parents hadn't gotten rid of it after she passed! Love your blog!


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