How Long Does It Take To Refinish A Dresser? – Give A New Look To Your Dresser Quickly




I’m thinking about making my old dresser look brand new.

But I am worried about how long does it take to refinish a dresser.  I asked while standing in a busy workshop where folks were fixing up old furniture. One guy, all dusty from work, stopped to chat and smiled.

How Long Does It Take To Refinish A Dresser

Refinish Dresser

If you want to fix up your dresser, it isn’t just about time. Rather, it’s also about putting your heart into it,” he said. “It usually takes about 2-3 days to refinish your dresser. But it really depends on your dresser’s shape and the finish you’re aiming for.

Ok then, is there any way to refinish the dresser quickly, or what’s the process to refinish the dresser? Dig into and learn all about it.

Core Findings:

  • Usually, 2-3 days are required to refinish your dresser. However, it depends on your refinishing process.
  • The easy steps to refinish your dresser are to take it apart, smooth it with sandpaper, fix any broken parts, decide on paint or stain, and put on a final protective layer.
  • Fixing up your dresser is more about seeing it change and come to life than just the time it takes.

How Long Does It Take To Refinish A Dresser?

So, how long does it take to refinish a dresser? Usually, it takes 2-3 days to refinish your dresser. However, you will get to know it by going through the details below:


If you are looking for how long does it take to refinish a table? Then sanding is the most important. Sanding makes everything smooth. You might need to do it a few times.


Starting with an electric sander and rough sandpaper, you gradually move to finer sandpaper. This way, you follow the wood grain and get rid of any bumps or scratches. Sanding requires a few hours. Or if you want to add legs to a dresser then it may take time.


Primer helps the new coat of paint stick better. And it dries pretty quickly, usually in a few hours. If you’re using a paint sprayer, it’s even faster. So, if you are in harry then go for coat paint. It only take to apply and that’s it! Leave it and wait for magic.


Painting or Staining

Then, you paint or stain your piece of furniture. You may have the question, How long does it take to paint a dresser? Actually, it takes a few hours. If you’re staining, watch out for excess stain to keep that smooth finish.

Painting or Staining

You might need a few rounds to get the color right. Each layer needs to dry, which could take a bit. So, if you think about how long does it take for paint to dry on a dresser? Don’t worry, it won’t take much time.


Last, you need to seal it with a clear coat for a durable finish. This protects your entire piece and makes sure it has a smooth surface. Sealing is important and also needs drying time.


However, for refinishing your dresser, plan for about a weekend, or 2-3 days, to finish up. This gives each step, especially drying, enough time. Sometimes, things like humidity or a really detailed dresser can slow you down. Using tools like an electric sander a paint sprayer, and maybe even a chemical stripper for tough spots can help a lot.

Things That Influence Time To Refinish A Dresser

Fixing up your dresser takes some work, and a few things can change how long it’ll take. Let’s look at what affects the time:

  • Old Dresser Shape: If your dresser is really beaten up, you’ll spend extra time fixing it. You want the whole dresser to look good before you start the real work.
  • What You Put On It: The kind of paint or stain you use matters. The oil stuff dries slowly. Water stuff dries fast. So, pick based on how patient you are.
  • How Many Times You Paint It: Are you adding more paint or stain layers? That means waiting more for drying. Each layer needs to dry well to look right.
  • Weather: If it’s wet or cold outside, your paint or stain dries slowly. Sunny? It dries quickly.
  • Big or Fancy Dresser: A big dresser or one with lots of fancy bits takes longer. You have to get into all those little spots.
  • Tools You Use: Got an electric sander? It’ll make sanding fast. A paint sprayer beats a brush for speed, too.
  • New to This? If you’re just starting, it might go slower. That’s totally fine. You’re learning.
  • Getting It Ready: Cleaning and stripping old paint or stain sets up for a good job. Sometimes, you need a chemical stripper to help.
  • Between Layers: Don’t rush. Let each paint layer dry completely. It makes the final look smooth and durable.
  • Ending Steps: The last step is sealing it all with a clear coat. This also needs drying time.

Tips To Reduce The Time To Refinish A Dresser

Making your wooden dresser look new again doesn’t have to take forever. Here are easy steps to speed things up:

  • Make a Plan: You should know what you need and how to do it before you start. This stops you from stopping and figuring things out on the go.
  • Pick the Right Tools: An electric sander makes sanding fast, and a paint sprayer gets the coat of paint on quickly and even.
  • Go for Fast-Dry Stuff: Water-based stuff for your dresser dries way faster than oil-based. Faster drying means you can move on quicker.
  • Find a Good Spot: You should work somewhere warm and dry. Moisture and cold slow down drying, but the right spot keeps things moving.
  • Thin Layers Work Best: Thin coats of paint or stain dry quicker and look better. Layer them up instead of slapping on thick ones.
  • Sand it Smooth: A quicksand between layers makes for a smooth surface. It also helps the next layer stick and dry faster.
  • Prime it Right: A solid primer means you might need less paint. It makes the paint go on smoother and stick better.
  • Keep Your Space Tidy: Have all your tools and materials ready and organized. Searching for stuff slows you down. Keeping things neat helps a lot.
  • Follow the Directions: Always check the product guides. They might have tips to make things dry or cure faster.
  • Ask the Pros: Not sure about something? Hardware store experts can suggest products or tricks to save time.
  • Do Two Things at Once: If your dresser has drawers, work on them while the main part dries. This keeps you moving forward.

What Happens If I Don’t Sand Before Staining?

Well, how long does it take to sand a dresser? Well, it doeesn’t take much time. But If you skip sanding before putting a stain on your wooden dresser, you’ll run into some problems. Sanding makes the wood smooth and gets it ready for the stain.

 Without sanding, the stain won’t stick right, and your dresser could look patchy or uneven. Rough spots soak up more stains, making some parts darker than others.

What Happens If I Don't Sand Before Staining

Also, any old marks or scratches will stick out more after you stain. Sanding helps get rid of these and makes sure the stain goes on nice and even. This is how you get that smooth surface and durable finish. Skipping this step means your entire piece of furniture might not look as good or last as long.

Plus, if you’re trying to cover up old paint or finishes, not sanding could mean more work later. Sometimes, using a chemical stripper first helps, then you sand it down for the best results. You should lay down drop cloths to keep things clean and wipe the wood with a clean cloth or tack cloth after sanding.

What Happens If You Let Stain Dry Without Wiping?

If you put a stain on your wooden dresser and don’t wipe it off, you’ll run into some mess. You’re supposed to wipe the extra stain off a bit after you put it on. This makes the color look nice and even.

However, if you skip this, the stain dries all patchy, with some dark spots and lines everywhere. The wooden dresser might end up sticky where the coat of stain was too thick. That stickiness grabs dust and dirt, making your furniture look not so great.

Also, the entire surface won’t feel smooth. Your dresser won’t have that neat, matte, or glossy finish you wanted. Instead, it’ll look like you missed a step. To fix things up, you might need to use orbital sanders or a power sander and then start the staining process over, which means more work and more time.

So, you should use a clean cloth or tack cloth to wipe off that extra stain. Moreover, you should lay down some drop cloths to keep everything clean. If you’re using a paint sprayer, you should clean it with warm water afterward to keep it in good shape. Following these simple steps helps make sure your pieces of furniture look awesome.

How To Refinish A Dresser Quickly?

You may have questions about How hard is it to refinish a dresser.  It isn’t that hard if you follow the steps correctly. However, the easy steps to refinish your dresser are:

How To Refinish A Dresser Quickly

Step 1 – Look at Your Dresser

First up, see how your dresser is doing. If it looks okay, you just need to sand and maybe stain. But if it’s not looking great, you’ll need to fix things like holes or cracks. Then, take everything apart – install knobs, drawers, all of it. What’s it made of? Wood, veneer, or laminate? That decides how you fix it up. Try sanding a bit to check.

Step 2 – Plan Your Look

Now, think about how you want your dresser to turn out. Where’s it going to be? What color do you like? Stain or paint? This step is all about imagining its new look. Maybe keeping its wood look is nice, or if the wood isn’t great, painting might be better.

Step 3 – Fix Any Damage

This step might not be for everyone. If your dresser is pretty good, skip this. But if there are holes or scratches, now’s the time to fill them up. Are you changing knobs or handles? If so, you should fill old holes now if the new ones won’t cover them.

Step 4 – Sand It Smooth

Ready to make it look new? Sand it down. Don’t forget a dust mask! Painting means just roughing up the old finish with an orbital sander. Staining means getting down to the bare wood.

You can use your power sander for big parts and hand sand the tricky spots. You might need a chemical stripper for tough old finishes. After stripping, sand again with finer sandpaper for a smooth surface. You should clean off the dust with a tack cloth.

Step 5 – Maybe Bleach It (optional)

If the stain color isn’t right and brings out bad wood tones, try bleaching. Just regular bleach is fine. Wear old clothes and gloves, and brush them on. The wood will lighten up as it dries. You might need a couple of goes to get it perfect. Let it dry well in between.

Step 6 – Stop The Bleach With Vinegar (optional)

After bleaching, you’ve got to neutralize the bleach with a vinegar and warm water mix. This stops the bleach from eating the wood. The wood might feel rough after, so sand it smooth again and wipe it down.

Step 7 – Stain Or Paint Time

Here’s the fun part. Whether you’re spraying on paint with a paint sprayer for an even look or brushing on a coat of stain, this is where it changes. You can pick a matte finish or glossy finish, whatever you like.

Step 8 – Protect It

Got the color you want? Now, protect it with a top coat. This keeps it looking good for longer. You can use clear wax for staining and polyacrylic for painting. Just follow what the product says.

Step 9 – Add The Hardware

Last step! Add the hardware back on. You can clean and paint your old pieces or get new ones for a different look. This is what finishes off your dresser project.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can You Just Stain Over Stained Wood?

Yes, you can put a new stain on top of the old stain. You should clean it first. Then, you should sand it a little so the new stain sticks better. Darker stains usually work well. So, always try it on a small hidden spot to check the color.

Can You Stain Over Furniture That Is Already Stained?

Yes, you can stain furniture again. You should make sure it’s clean, then sand off the shiny layer. This makes sure the new stain goes on well. However, mixing old and new stain colors might change the final look of your furniture. If you want a big change, you might need a primer.

How Much Does It Cost To Refinish A Dresser?

The cost to refinish a dresser varies. Are you doing it yourself? refinish might cost $50 to $200 for materials. Or are you hiring someone? It could be $300 to $1,000, depending on your dresser’s size and condition and where you live.

Final Note

So, we are at the end of our guide on “How long does it take to refinish a dresser?”As we already explained, usually you need 2-3 days to refinish your old dresser. If you asked how long does it take to refinish a table then it would be the same time. But it’s not just about counting hours. It’s really about being patient and putting care into your work. However, if you have any more questions, comment on the comment box. ASAP we will reply!

Richard Journey

Written by

Richard Journey

Meet Richard Journey, the Antique Furniture Maestro. With a Fine Arts degree in Furniture Restoration and Conservation, he’s a guardian of historical craftsmanship. His accolades include the Golden Chisel Award, and he’s your guide to discovering and restoring antique treasures.

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