DIY numbered bureau

We're takin' a hiatus from our regularly scheduled Friday's Find to bring you this little makeover.  Don't look so distraught, I promise it won't disappoint.

I snatched up this dresser about 4 years ago and painted it gray to use it in my boys bathroom.

I thought about just throwing some new hardware on it, but it just didn't seem like enough excitement for this baby.  I thought some random numbers would be cool, but I needed some further inspiration. So I turned to the thing I trust just as much as the Tooth Fairy.  Google.  Upon the first 2 minutes of my investigation, I found this noteworthy dresser from Anthro for One Thousand Dollars.  Since it was barely out of my price range, I decided to put my own spin on the dresser I bought for 20 bucks. 

Wanna sneak preview???

Here's how I did it.

I used Krylon (spray) primer for the first coat, then spray painted the second coat with Rust-Oleum Satin Granite (both found at Home Depot).  I filled in the holes with wood filler and didn't worry too much about it showing through because I was going for a distressed look.

I sanded down the drawers to reveal the magnificent, pine wood underneath

Then I took the wood down to it's natural state and lightly washed it with some watered down gray paint to kill the yellow tone of the pine  *Note- raw wood is very porous so dilute the paint down about 3-1, and using sparingly.

Next I correctly sized and printed three numbers (I chose the odd number I liked best from all three of my families birthdays) I chose a photoshop font called STENCIL.
*Note- I didn't like the top of the 5 so I edited slightly.

I put a piece of tracing paper underneath and traced it onto the drawer with a stylus.

I used diluted black paint to brush the numbers on the drawers. I'm pretty sure Van Gogh was smiling down at me.

Then I rubbed some the paint off before it completely dried to give a weathered patina.

Next I marked where I wanted the pulls to go then called my 15 year old son outside to assist me with the power tools.  (It makes him feel very manly.)

I loved the idea of using a natural material for handles so I found some un-used rope in my mans tool box and threaded it through the holes, tying knots on either sides of the drawer front.  *Note- cut the rope about 24 inches to give plenty of length for tying the knots.  Trust me, I tied it about 3 times before I got it right, Idiot!

And there you have it.  I completed the whole thing start to finish in a little over 1 hour, and that's my kind of project.

 I want to MARRY it! 

Don't forget to sign up for our spectacular giveaway {here}.  We're choosing a winner on Monday!


  1. The dresser looks great I love the rugged richness that you brought to it. Looking forward to seeing much more from you both. I want to marry it too but does it do dishes?

  2. I just LOVE it... You did amazing & thank you for detailed directions..
    YOur newest fllowr-Cant wait to see more.

  3. Oh migosh I want to marry it too! I lvoe the color contrast, the offset numbers and the rope pulls. It all came together perfectly! I'd be thrilled to have you link this to my VIP party today! http://designergarden.blogspot.com/2011/04/vip-party-10.html

  4. I love your dresser - very cute! I like the handles - a great idea for our boys bathroom which has a nautical theme!

  5. i am in love. this piece is pure awesomeness!!!

  6. Love this! The rope handles and gray wash on the drawers are fabulous - keeping this in mind for my future projects! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. What a great piece you did!

    I love the rope drawer poles...they really work!

    I can see this piece in so many different settings.

    So glad I popped in today to check this out.

    Starview Sonnet

  8. Are you kidding?! So CUTE!!!!!! I want to make one STAT! Like first thing tomorrow morning! ha!

    XO, Mallory @ Classy Clutter

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I just wanted to let you know I've featured this at my party this week! Come on by and grab a button when you get a chance =)http://designergarden.blogspot.com/2011/04/vip-party-11.html

  11. This is FREAKING AWESOME! I am in the midst of a room redo for my son and just today am beginning the dresser updo. I found your same inspiration dresser to use for my inspiration!!!! HMMMM, I may be stealing your natural pull idea! I am posting it on my blog next Thur, if you have a chance check back. Thanks so much for your AMAZING project and inspiration!


  12. This is my favorite anthro piece and you have made it seem almost within reach! Would LOVE to try this look :)
    Thanks for sharing with us !
    Love your blog....following for sure!

  13. would love to feature your dresser on my revival monday features please let me know if this would be ok with you

  14. This is fabulous. $20...that puts it over the top. I wish I could marry a dresser like that. :) Lisa~

  15. Amazing! Hopping on over from feathered nest Friday and going through your tutorials! Love it!!! I have a teenage son and I love the vintage industrial look, and this is such an awesome redo! We just moved into a fixer with hardly any furniture, so this "anthro hack" makes for some good ideas for my boys' rooms! I'm now following along!


  16. LOVE this! Linking tomorrow on my blog (-:

  17. Love the dresser!! And love the vintage stool nearby... can you possibly share where to get one?


  18. Hi Malia,
    I can definitely hook you up with the man I know, who re-furbishes these stools. Are you a local girl?
    Just send your email to meandjilly@gmail.com and I'll gladly give you his info!
    Thanks for reading:)

  19. I love this. I have not been brave enough to label my daughters' drawers this way. Instead I have made laminated tags and temporarily attached the label to each drawer (a la "shirts" "socks" etc.) in an attempt to keep my girls organized. It works (a little)...
    But this looks so great that maybe I should take the plunge?!

    ~ Meredith From A Mother Seeking

    A Mother Seeking...

  20. Love this!! I features it on my post about inspired dresser transformations. http://honeyandfitz.blogspot.com/2011/10/5-inspiring-dresser-makeovers.html#axzz1aI4MPQ1r

  21. Neat! We did one earlier this year too:


    Such a fun way to update an old piece of furniture!


  22. I love what you did with this piece! Thanks for sharing, I am now a follower :)

  23. hi there,

    i LOVE this dresser, and it's next on my list for my son's "big boy" room DIY... i'm starting with an old dresser that was primed and painted white and i'm wondering if you think i should do any steps differently? do you think i would need to sand it down first before applying the gray paint? (lightly sand or sand enough to rid of the white completely?) am i right in thinking that i wouldn't need to apply the gray paint to the drawers since those will be sanded down to their natural state?

    i apologize if these seem like common sense questions, i am pretty new at this DIY thing and anxious to give it a try - thanks for your inspiration!

    1. Hi Angie, If you want your dresser to look similar to the anthro knock off, I would suggest stripping or sanding the paint on the drawer fronts and then applying the gray paint and numbers.

      Have fun with your project!

  24. I love how different people have done their own interpretations of Anthro's Ordinal Dresser. I did an "Ordinal File Cabinet" myself! Wanted to let you know that I featured your dresser in an roundup of all the great versions of this classic piece from Anthro. Stop over and check it out if you like!


  25. Ok! Just found you (somehow) and am thrilled at one phrase you used: "lightly washed it with some watered down gray paint to kill the yellow tone of the pine" which sent me into a tizzy.
    I stripped my solid mahogany front door and used Australian Timber Oil on it, not knowing that although it is an excellent sealer, it yellows. The door is gold. I've been sick ever since.
    Did you find the gray DID tone down the yellow successfully?
    I am at a loss as to how to treat this now, 80s golden oak colored front door. Ick.
    Thanks for your response.

  26. I have searched high & low for a tutorial for these rope pulls, and your pulls come close to what I am looking for. Are you able to give me the type of rope you used, the dimension/thickness of the rope, and how you secured it behind the drawers (i.e. did you tape or glue the ends to prevent fraying?; how much did you trim off the ends?). Many grateful thanks, heather au

  27. Awesome work!! Do you by chance know the name/brand of your wall color? I love that blue!

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