{Babygirl’s Room} Painting the Fancy Pants Highboy Dresser

I have been a maniac the last few weekends (don’t say it!) working on Babygirl’s Room! I’ve shown you the painted bed, the main statement art, the curtain stumbling block (I think I’ve found a solution, thanks to all your helpful comments!), art tins, and step stool. Okay, this doesn’t look like much….but trust me, lots more coming soon!

The project I’m showing you today is my favorite in her room so far. My son’s new room has a dynamic striped wall, and since their two rooms are adjacent, I didn’t want the focus of her room to be a wall treatment.


But I love when a room has an element that ‘Pops.’ And since this is for a little girl, there is room for some risk-taking. When I first received this highboy from my grandfather, I knew I’d paint it….and assumed it’d be white or something creamy and ‘pretty.’

Then I spied this photo from Jonathon Adler and things changed:

yellow highboy

If that highboy were painted in a docile color, you wouldn’t even notice it. And not just because of the intensity of the rest of the room, but because it wouldn’t stand-up and demand your attention.

First step was to strip her of her hardware, and sand the rough and worn patches:


The brass pulls had some serious tarnishing, but this little can o’ magic did the trick:

Since my sweet mom was actually the one in the house cleaning them (I was in the garage painting!), I asked her the secret of using Bar Keepers Friend on tarnished brass:
“I soaked them in a cleaner/water mixture in the sink, but that didn’t seem to do much. So I made a paste and scrubbed the hell out of them with a bristle brush! And you can quote me on your blog with that!”  — eloquently spoken by Mama Sugarplum

(Looking good, Mom. Keep scrubbing!)

Her work paid off….they look amazing!


Then came the primer, and I used my favorite water based Zinsser:


It dries so quickly that you’re able to start painting almost as soon as you finish priming. Make sure to cover the wood completely with primer so that you don’t have to roll countless coats of paint (I learned this lesson the hard way!). Here she is after SIX coats of Sherwin Williams ‘Cheerful’, in High Gloss latex:


The bed was the same dark wood and only took 2 coats of paint….this is because I covered it completely with tinted primer first! I used a high density foam roller so there are no brush marks.


LOVE the detail:


This piece went from something serious and old, to fun and vibrant…..and perfect for a little princess:

Picnik collage
(oops, missing finial! she looks like she’s missing a tooth!)

For even more ‘Fun Factor’, I added bright, patterned paper as drawer liners.These are simply cute wrapping papers I found at Target and spray mounted to the bottom. that’s what she said


It took less than 30 minutes to line all 7 drawers, and I know I’ll love seeing them every freaking time when I open a drawer to put her laundry away!

Oh, did I mention her walls are painted too (maniac, remember!?) Here’s a sneak peek….along with how Miss Fancy Pants Highboy looks against the new (poorly photographed) wall color:


Let’s try another Before & After that doesn’t include the finished piece sitting in the garage:

Picnik collage

So? What do you think….did I succeed in creating the ‘Wow’ factor for her room?

Leave a Comment


  1. That is amazing!!! What a change!

    The color you picked is perfect and those drawer linings are beautiful. Awesome awesome job!

    And I am impressed at how well you got that hardware to clean up! Nice!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  2. WOW!! That looks amazing. I love the contrast between the traditional shape of the dresser and the high gloss yellow. LOVE.

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  3. Lovin' it! You know yellow is my favorite! I can't wait to see it all come together!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  4. Yes, you did, without a doubt! Love the look of this highboy in yellow, and against the walls…fun and beautiful!


    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  5. Kelli wrote:

    Wow love! I am trying to figure out what color to paint DD desk… maybe I will do something other than white.
    PS where did you get that small desk by your sons bed? I have been looking for something like that for one of my projects.

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  6. I love this! I recently refinished some of my grandmother's old dressers but didn't go quite as bold as this (now I'm wishing I had!) I love that you weren't afraid to go so bold, I love the contact papers in the drawers, I love it all!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  7. Simply LKJ wrote:

    I love it! How fun!!! I love that you chose a bold color. The room is coming together nicely.

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  8. Wow, amazing! Really! It came out so nice! Did you really only sand just the rough spots and not the whole thing? *sigh* Wanna come do some of my pieces? LOL. Great job chicka!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  9. Aubrey wrote:

    So much fun…it was definitely a risk, but I think it paid off. There is seriously nothing better than a good, bright statement piece of furniture! And serioulsy, who does things better than Jonathan Alder??? (c:


    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  10. jillian wrote:

    wow! that looks fantastic!!!
    you did such a great job and i love the drawer liners as well!

    jillian xoxo

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  11. wow, i just LOVE the color. it looks fantastic!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  12. That looks awesome Cassie!! I'm loving the blue and yellow so far! Don't see many yellow pieces of furniture out in blogland so way to start a revolution. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  13. WOW, Cassie. I love it. {can't believe how closely it resembles the inspiration piece . . . curves and all}. It's fantastic. And the drawer liners would make me smile, too. Can't wait to see it all.

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  14. Wow that looks amazing! I can't wait to see the final reveal of the room. I also have aqua walls in my bedroom, a tad lighter, and LOVE them! I know she will too.

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  15. Girl! It definitely has the 'wow' factor. I love how you paired the yellow and blue. Her room is gonna be the coolest!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  16. Lauren wrote:

    Wow! Yes, you definitely succeded, what a lucky little girl!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  17. Rod Cruz wrote:

    Wicked color, and the brass pulls really stand out. It looks great!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  18. Hey Cassie! Thanks for stopping by Hilary Inspired! I wish so much that I had gotten the chance to meet you at the Nest Blogger Social. ๐Ÿ™ And, yes, WOW! This transformation is incredible! Love the drawers liners…and the yellow paint…and your inspiration photo. Can't wait to see it in the completed room.

    Hoping I'll meet you at the next event!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  19. Fabulous, honey. Your little one will LOVE it!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  20. Definite wow factor. Wow! I loooove the yellow and want this in my room!! And you can store the stuff you don't want her to touch in those top drawers! That is some amazingly beautiful storage!

    Nice work!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  21. WOW! yes for sure! i love that color- it looks awesome!!!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  22. Pigeon wrote:

    i LOVE that. Simply love it. It looks sooooo good.

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  23. Michaela wrote:

    This is awesome!! The shape is so playful it was asking for a color like this! And it goes great with the wall color. She is one lucky girl!! I'm dying to see the whole thing put together!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  24. Holy crap, that looks SO. GOOD. I cannot wait to see her room completed!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  25. Danielle wrote:

    that looks amazing!

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  26. That colour is TOTALLY perfect – it looks so good!! Baby girl is so lucky to have such a clever mummy!

    Rachie xo

    PS: I found you the red and white twine you can buy it here xx


    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  27. Love this! Those colors are perfect and that highboy looks a.maz.ing.

    Posted 11.11.10 Reply
  28. emily wrote:

    That looks freaking amazing! I love love love it. The yellow is just perfect and it is even better with the wall color. Great job!!

    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  29. Allison wrote:

    I love this! It is a statement piece! The yellow is gorgeous and the drawers so fun with the varied papers. Beautiful job! I bet your daughter is thrilled. What a fun room she has.

    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  30. Traci wrote:

    Oh, for HEAVEN'S SAKE! That is ridiculously awesome! Love that color of yellow! I'm drooling! (The entire ROOM is amazing!)

    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  31. You for sure succeeded! It is fabulous! The whole thing-color, paper lining, perfect! What an amazing piece! ๐Ÿ™‚ Fancy pants… that cracks me up!

    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  32. momnivore wrote:

    After seeing this transformation…I WILL never buy "new" wooden furniture again. Esp being that I am in a neighborhood of retirees…estates sales galore here.

    Inspired to find a sideboard with the beauty of this highboy!


    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  33. Pamela wrote:

    That turned out perfect! You did a wonderful job and it is super cute!

    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  34. Really beautiful, can't wait to see the room complete, you did a great job! Oh, I know I'd like your mother very much:)


    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  35. kitty wrote:

    it came out beautifully! an inspiring post-now, what do i have laying around that i can paint….

    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  36. I only have one word and this is fabulous! I think Jonathan Adler would approve!

    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  37. Anytime you take inspiration from Jonathan Adler you can't go wrong! This turned out amazing with a capitol A!!

    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  38. sweetaimee wrote:

    that turned out great:) you have a great way of seeing what things could be I would never have thought of that ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  39. Lamp Tramp wrote:

    Your highboy is so fun, just love it. It's perfect for the pop of color you wanted. I can't live without Barkeepers Friend!

    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  40. Lisa wrote:

    So cute! Reminds me a little of what I got going on in my girl's room!


    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  41. Um. Yeah. I'm pretty much in love with this. GREAT job! Seriously. LOVE!

    Posted 11.12.10 Reply
  42. Holy macaroni! This looks fantastic ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm so glad you're using it in the room.

    And, happy birthday, btw!

    Posted 11.13.10 Reply
  43. I love how it is such a classic piece and you would never expect to see it painted {gasp!!} and NEVER expect to see it painted such a demanding color! I mean it is just fantastic! My favorite before and after ever!

    Although…. I am not sure I love the brass pulls with the yellow… but thats just me! I am not a fan of brass!

    Posted 11.13.10 Reply
  44. Jenny wrote:

    Wow, this is incredible!!! Love it — looks just like the Jonathan Adler inspiration

    Posted 11.13.10 Reply
  45. Kate wrote:

    Love the bold color. Wish i was that daring. LOL @ that's what she said!

    Posted 11.14.10 Reply
  46. A can of paint can go so far! This yellow is truly a treat for the eyes! I am so ready to paint something now!


    Posted 11.16.10 Reply
  47. DANA wrote:

    That is awesome! I would love for you to come link up at the Strut your Stuff Party!

    Posted 11.17.10 Reply
  48. Chrissie wrote:

    I cannot tell you how much I love this piece of furniture! It is absolutely to die for! The paper in the drawers just really takes it to a new level of awesomeness. Great job!

    Posted 11.18.10 Reply
  49. INCREDIBLE…what a fabulous before and after! Seriously ab fab job!!!! And so happy I just found out about your blog…it's fab too :)!

    Posted 11.18.10 Reply
  50. Wow, I don't know quite what to say. Never seen anything like it before. With everyone doing "safe" colors, you really went out on a limb! Great job ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted 11.19.10 Reply
  51. There are so many wonderful things about this piece, I don't know where to start! Hmmm . . . you like Zinsser better than Kilz? I've never tried it, but now I will.
    And I'm not a big Adler follower, so I didn't know he did kids' rooms. Love that room – and your piece is such a great knock-off! Perfection!

    Would love you to stop by this weekend and link up to Passion for Paint.

    Posted 11.20.10 Reply
  52. I wish I had the guts to paint something like that! It's beautiful and so much fun! I adore the wrapping paper in the drawers, now that's something I could do.

    Posted 11.20.10 Reply
  53. heather wrote:

    OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!! I LOOOOOVE IT!!!!!!! Yellow is my absolute FAVORITE!!!!!!!!!!! Can you seriously come help me in Nashville?!?!?!?!

    Posted 11.21.10 Reply
  54. Lovin' this awesome looking makeover!!! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


    Need some Christmas cash? Hop over and enter my gift card GIVEAWAY!

    Posted 11.23.10 Reply
  55. So cute! The hardware came out great and I love the color!

    Posted 11.23.10 Reply
  56. Hi Cassie,
    Could you put a link in your post back to Met Monday? Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted 11.23.10 Reply
  57. HMB wrote:

    OMG!!! loving THAT!!! I've stumbled across someone who loves to paint as much as i do!!! am adding ur blog to my favourites – see you next visit!

    Posted 12.23.10 Reply
  58. How did I miss this before? I love it! Love. Love. love.

    Posted 1.19.11 Reply
  59. I am OBSESSED with this! My next find is going to be a high boy to paint like this!! I love love love love color!! I usually paint everything white, but after going yellow once, i'm obsessed!


    Posted 2.7.11 Reply
  60. Linked over from Thifty Decor Chick. You definitely suceeded! That highboy pops! What a wonderful unexpected surprise! And your little girl's bed is so beautiful. You acquired some fun pieces. Well done!

    Posted 2.8.11 Reply
  61. When I saw that bright yellow dresser I just had to come and see more! It looks terrific and has been transformed from formal to fun! Love it.

    Posted 2.9.11 Reply
  62. MrGWHunting forwarded this to me today after I bought a similar (but less fantastic!) piece…It is drop dead gorgeous! So inspirational! Great job! I love the risk you took. I hope I can do the same!

    Posted 2.10.11 Reply
  63. leah mari wrote:

    oh i love this!!!!! great job

    Posted 5.4.11 Reply
  64. Saw this post a couple weeks ago and it made me rethink some of the used furniture I considered to be "too stodgy." Shortly after, I saw a highboy much like yours on Craigslist for only $75 and I immediately contacted the seller. I'm trying to slowly replace all our matchy-matchy bedroom furniture with various vintage pieces. The highboy would have been perfect to replace my chest of drawers. The seller must have gotten several other replies because I never heard back. Maybe next time!

    Posted 5.17.11 Reply
  65. PrettyHaus wrote:

    Absolutely gorgeous!! Totally agree that a washed out color would have been lost to the walls. Go BOLD!!

    Posted 5.24.11 Reply
  66. WOW, I came over from a link @ My Third True Love. What an amazing piece!! I am so impressed. Makes me want one..

    Posted 6.14.11 Reply
  67. Love that smashing bold yellow! I've been stalking craigslist, thrift stores and estate sales for a serpentine vintage dresser in this style.

    Posted 6.16.11 Reply
  68. Geneveive wrote:

    I love that shade of yellow! I'm seriously in love with that wall paper in your inspiration photo.

    Posted 8.4.11 Reply
  69. Tiffany wrote:

    I finally tried this. I'd never thought of using spray adhesive till I read your post. Worked great. thanks for the tip!!


    Posted 8.19.11 Reply
  70. Anonymous wrote:

    I'm working on a similiar project (Queen Ann Desk) Should I prime the entire desk? I'm scared to start because of all the really thick, gloss on the top…Help Please! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted 10.13.11 Reply
  71. Anon — I have no way of contacting you, so hopefully you check back here. Yes, def prime! And if it's got a gloss finish, I'd sand it and prime it! good luck!

    Posted 10.13.11 Reply
  72. That look amazing. Both my little girls would love something like that in their rooms. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted 4.10.12 Reply
  73. I love the dresser!!! So bold! And Zissner 123 is my go-to primer as well. I HATE sanding so I always use 123 on my painted furniture/wood work. It has never failed me!

    You've inspired me to paint something yellow…

    Posted 9.13.12 Reply
  74. Amazing!

    Posted 10.12.13 Reply
  75. Love the look of it all! I like to boil my hardware in water and baking soda, removes old paint and all the dirt, you`re left with a pretty nasty `broth` but you know they`re thoroughly clean lol

    Posted 10.12.13 Reply