Campaign Dresser Makeover!

Campaign Dresser Makeover!

Campaign Dresser Makeover!

We love campaign style furniture here at Etienne Interiors.  Over the years, we have completed several makeovers on vintage furniture with amazing results.  What most attracts us to this style is its ability to mix well with contemporary decor, its clean lines and most of all, gleaming hardware.

We designed a sophisticate nursery for our client (on a budget) and wanted to incorporate this style of furniture for a touch of sparkle to the room.  Furniture like this is available from retailers like Land of Nod and West Elm, but it was not in the budget.  So our task was to create a similar look, for much less!  Let's go!

For this makeover, we began with a local hunt for the ideal piece of furniture for transformation.  When searching for a vintage or used piece to restore to this style, be sure to look for a square frame with little to no detail.  Campaign pieces are all about the hardware in order to create character and elegance.

We found this amazing dresser and night table set which had clean lines and was in good condition.  There was some water damage to the top of the night stand, but we knew this could be resolved with aggressive sanding and filling in the of the damaged areas.

Now the work began.  First, we examined both pieces and sanded down all rough spots and filled with wood filler.  We then primed the pieces with Zinsser 1-2-3 primer.  This is a great primer to provide a good base coat that will help the latex paint adhere to it.  Do not skip this step!  Without a good base coat of primer, your piece is likely to chip or even worse peel.

While the base coat was drying, we began our search for the perfect hardware to give these pieces the campaign styling that would make it look like a luxe furniture set.

Campaign drawer pulls are traditionally inset into the drawer front which would require you to router out an area on the drawer within which the hardware sits.  If this is not something you are comfortable doing yourself, then look for a similar style of hardware that can sit on the surface of the drawer.  Because we were working on a budget, having the drawers routed by a carpenter wasn't in the cards.  We opted for this beautiful hardware from Liberty Hardware on  It had the brass finish we were looking for, the pull style similar to traditional campaign hardware and best of all, it would sit on top of the drawer front, making installation easy.  At $18/pull, it was also the most cost-effective hardware option we could find without compromising the final look. 

Liberty Hardware, External Campaign Pull

 Next was the search for the L-brackets that would be installed on the corners of the front of the dresser and nightstand.  This was a little more difficult.  For some reason, its easy to find brass straps that wrap around the piece (our favourites are from Lee Valley), however the L-brackets proved to be more elusive.  So elusive in fact that we couldn't find any in Canada!  We did however find an option from a US retailer at a reasonable price. 

"L" Trim Piece X-7

Check and check!  Now it was time to get painting.  One of our favourite black hues comes from Benjamin Moore - Black Jack.  This shade of black has a soft finish to it.  Because the furniture was going into a nursery, we didn't want a shade of black that would be too deep and stark.  Black Jack provides a soft, almost suede like black that is still rich and would go well with the grey tones in the room painted in Dior Gray (also Benjamin Moore).

We applied 3 coats of Black Jack and topped with another 3 coats of a water based lacquer, Emtech 6000.  The advantage of using a lacquer is that it dries quickly (15 minutes per coat) and it also seals and protects your painted finish.  This is also a low VOC lacquer that has no odour and cures to a hard finish.  Perfect for hard wearing furniture such as pieces those will be used in a nursery.

The best part of any furniture restoration is finishing off with the hardware installation.  This is when your piece comes to life!  Unfortunately the previous holes for the handles on the dresser and nightstand were set apart at 4", whereas our new hardware had a separation of 3".  Luckily however, because of the width of the handles, the old holes would be covered.  New holes were drilled (be very careful with this step as crooked handles would be unsightly!).  Here is a lovely closeup of the new handles installed.

Gorgeous!  Our pieces were completed and the results were stunning!

Our nursery project is now just about complete.  We can't wait to share the completed room with you.  What do you think about Campaign style furniture?  Contact us with questions or to begin planning your next design project, we'd love to help!

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