If you’re like me, you hate to throw away anything that may serve a purpose. There’s a great feeling in finding a new use for an old object, and it’s an even better feeling when guests realize that the thing they’re looking at is something else altogether. Take for example the DIY bookcase I recently made from old dresser drawers. Guests realize they are looking at something unique and different, but it’s not until they examine it closer that they realize they are repurposed dresser drawers. I love that!
When an old dresser or chest of drawers becomes too rickety to use, do not trash the entire piece. No matter the style, the drawers can be used in many creative ways. From cheap do-it-yourself kits to dovetailed works of handcrafted art, they can be turned into new furnishings, practical wall art and much, much more. Before putting your old furnishing out to the curb, consider these creative new uses. You will be amazed by what you can do with wood items that would otherwise end up in the trash.
If you don’t have an old dresser that you can pull the drawers from, you can find them at flea markets, yard sales, or even Goodwill for an unbelievably low price. Better yet, a lot of people simply put them out at the curb for trash collection, which is where I found mine. Don’t worry if the dresser drawers don’t look that great because they are very simple to fix up. Basic instructions to prepare old drawers for repurposing include removing the hardware from the back of the drawers, and sand and paint the sides. Finally, give them a fresh new coat of paint.
Ways to Reuse Old Dresser Drawers
DIY Dresser Drawer as Bookcase
Paint or paper the bottom of several dresser drawers and stack them to form a bookcase. See a photo of the finished project at Decor Hacks, the website that inspired me to make my bookcase. The drawers can be secured with screws, but other than that there is nothing more to making this fun and functional bookcase yourself.
DIY Dresser Drawer as Planter
Planters can be made from almost anything that can hold soil, and old drawers are no exception. Before using them as containers for outdoor plants, apply a water sealer to help prevent moisture damage. Add a shallow layer of stones in the bottom, and add several holes for drainage. Fill the containers with rich organic soil and plants of your choice. They are ideal for holding annuals and other live growth without extensive root systems.
Here’s a unique way to display an outdoor flower garden; repurpose dresser drawers. Drill holes in the bottom of the drawer and place coffee filters over the holes to keep soil from falling out. Fill with soil and flowers. To make an indoor planter, choose a shallow drawer and use potted plants instead of drilling the holes.
Reuse Old Drawers as Shadowbox Shelving
Drawers that are old but in sturdy condition can be used as shadowbox shelving. They can be painted, papered or further embellished and mounted over wall studs. They will no longer look like drawers once they are on the wall and used for displaying collectibles and home decor. If desired, line the back with mirrors. They will reflect whatever they hold, and they can look phenomenal on a bare living room, dining room or bedroom wall.
Recycle a dresser drawer into a memory-filled shadowbox. Simply sand and paint the drawer and either paint or paper the bottom of the drawer before attaching it to the wall with screws. Add pictures and souvenirs from a family trip, memorable family milestone, or other events that are special to you.
DIY Dresser Drawer Storage
Open areas under beds are considered prime real estate for storage, and old drawers are the perfect solution. To prevent snags or scratches on floors, attach wheels to the bottoms of old wooden drawers. Use them to hold off-season clothes, crafts supplies and anything else that needs a home. They will slide right out and back in again, and if they are the right height, they will appear to be built-in.
Sand and repaint the drawers and attach four casters to the bottom to create storage that can slide under the bed or beneath a bench. This is a great way to store purses and accessories, sewing supplies and much more.
The old dresser can be placed in a playroom to hold toys in an organized manner. For instance, Lego’s might go in one drawer, while Lincoln Logs in another. Barbie dolls can go in a drawer, their clothes in a different one, and other accessories in yet another. Place puzzles in one and books in yet another. Baskets or other containers can be placed on the dresser top to organize other items, or stuffed animals lined up along it.
If you homeschool, the drawers might be used to separate school supplies that you purchase in bulk, such as file folders, pencils and tape. They will also hold educational games and science kits. The top will be a good place for reference books, as long as you have a couple of bookends to keep the books from toppling over.
In the home office, you can store office supplies that you should always have on hand, such as notebooks, legal yellow pads and receipt books. The top will hold a printer, as well as the phone and answering machine.
Transform Old Dresser Drawers into Pet Bed
This is the easiest way to reuse old dresser drawers; turn them into a special spot for your pet. My cat absolutely loves his bed that I made from an old drawer! All I did was wash it out and place a soft cushion inside. When the cushion gets dirty, I remove it and wash it. The only problem I have is keeping the dog out of it.
Repurpose Dresser Drawers as Kitchen Rack
Place the dresser in the kitchen for more cupboard space. Small canning jars holding dried herbs, with tops labeled, may be placed in the top drawers. Other drawers can be used to hold beverage packets, condiments and canned goods. The top of the dresser will hold small appliances.
Use a large dresser drawer and install a divider at the center point of the drawer. Attach the divider with screws so that it creates a shelf. After attaching the drawer to the wall, fill it with spice jars, measuring spoons and cups, baking flour, sugar, and other frequently used kitchen items.
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but there are many other ways to repurpose dresser drawers. I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with many ideas of your own! Use them to store extra towels and washcloths in a guest bath, mount them to the kitchen wall for extra pot and pan storage, store cookbooks or photo albums binder-up for easy access, or use them for a spot to store shoes in the entryway. With a little imagination, you’ll be able to find several uses for old dresser drawers.