DIY: Drawer into Bench!

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We have major storage issues in our master bedroom. I have just recently created new storage solutions and part of that included an old dresser. At first, the plan was to remake the dresser. I had just finished refinishing two night stands, and I was ready to conquer the beast of a dresser that we had! The dresser was my dad’s and then my brothers for many years and somehow it ended up in our house all the way across the country. Needless to say, it had become a “keep it in the family” sort of piece.

One bright sunny day (when is it never sunny in California?), I brought out my sander and sanding disks and gently wiggled the dresser onto my patio. In the daylight I could see many problems…

The wood was breaking in thin layers down both sides. First I tried to break off a piece, thinking I would just sand it smooth afterward. The piece became bigger and bigger as I tried to remove it. I realized that this heavy wooden dresser was covered in about three strips of thin wood, over planks of particle board…I took a step back and it dawned on me that I wasn’t going to be able to save it.

Yet I still I contemplated how I could fix the issue but every solution left it in worse shape than before. The wood was splitting and falling apart. But I knew I couldn’t give up entirely, there was still a lot of wood that could be saved!!

I removed the drawers and tossed the “frame” in a dumpster. I decided re-purposing the drawers was the next best thing and I brainstormed how I could use them and still have solutions for our clothing storage.

Two of the drawers are now on casters under the bed, one is under my daughter’s bed, and the biggest drawer is what I’m about to share with you: a bench!

This is what I did…


After a light sanding, I painted it all white and stained the top. The white and stain matched the two nightstands that I had refinished previously.
*Note: I sealed both the drawer and its lid with Polycrylic Clear Protective Finish with approximately two coats.


Casters are about 8" high.

Casters are about 8″ high.

  • The trickiest part was adding the casters. I bought four casters for about $15 at home depot, and bought four nuts to screw them in (see image).
    You can see the wood here started to split...this piece was on it's last leg.

    You can see the wood here started to split…this piece was on it’s last leg.

    If you don’t have a drill to make the holes for the casters, you can create a hole by nailing in a big nail and shaping it that way. Yes, it’s tedious and exhausting but that’s what I did! When I’m determined, I always find a way. I just kept making the holes bigger with screws and nails I had, until I could fit the casters (screws were attached to them already) inside. Once they were in, I secured them with nuts.

  • *Note: I had to paint the casters white as well.


    To show you the stain, white contrast.

    To show you the stain, white contrast.

  • The next “fun” part was measuring the opening of the drawers for a piece of wood. I picked out some wood at Home Depot and had them cut it to size for me. The wood was about $9. You can also find scrap wood in their scrap piles sometimes. The scrap wood is discounted.

  • Hinges—

  • After I had it cut and I stained it to match my night stands, I worked on installing the hinges. I bought a couple hinges (screws included) for about $2. They come in different colors, mine are black.

    I installed them in a similar fashion as I did the casters, except this time, nuts were not necessary. Note: Make sure you take a measurement from each corner to ensure you install the hinges symmetrically to each other. (For example, measure four inches from the right, make a mark to indicate where the hinge will go, and measure four inches from the left side, and mark.)

  • Knobs—

  • The last step was adding the knobs. I bought four for about $8 at Target, after becoming impatient with finding that perfect deal elsewhere.

  • Total:

    It was roughly $34 for the entire piece.

    I tried to be thorough in this post, however, if you have a specific question, please let me know!

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