Learn along with me as I take a vintage Dixie French Provincial dresser and give it an awesome new makeover with paint. Plus some interesting furniture history about this type of furniture.
Today I want to share with you the fascinating history on an old vintage dixie french provincial style dresser. Then I am going to repurpose this dresser with a gorgeous makeover using paint.
I was given this beautiful wood Dixie French Provincial dresser from a friend who had found it for me at a local thrift shop. The dresser is in great shape and I thought it would make a fun DIY painting project. It has the original drawer pulls and after looking it up, I discovered it is a lingerie dresser. I loved the look and design of the chest of drawers but never realized the style or history behind it. So it was really fun for me to research and learn about it.
I grew up with this style of furniture in my bedroom as a little girl and even had several pieces of a bedroom set from this time period including a dixie nightstand and a drawer dresser.
History of Dixie French Provincial Furniture
The Dixie Furniture Company was founded in 1901 in Lexington, North Carolina by Henry Link. It manufactured furniture in the United States from 1901 to 1986/1987. Dixie Furniture is no longer in operation but there is a retailer store in North Carolina still called by the same name. Dixie Furniture Company had an eighty year manufacturing history and offered a wide range of furniture pieces.
4 Dixie Furniture Styles Popular Today
- French Provincial style furniture
- Dixie Federal style furniture
- Dixie Tahiti Bamboo style furniture
- Mid Century Modern style furniture
Dixie French Provincial Style
The french provincial furniture collection debuted in the 1950’s and continued to gain popularity until the 1980’s. This style featured bedroom sets, accent furniture and dining room sets.
The majority of the furniture was made of wood. In the 1960’s and 1970’s factory paint finishes became quite popular. The Dixie french provincial dressers common features were serpentine front drawers, brass elaborate hardware, gold accents and cabriole legs. Light cream finishes with gold embellishments were a hit. Secondhand Dixie furniture reappeared in the 90’s when Shabby Chic styles resurfaced.
What is Dixie Furniture Made of?
Dixie furniture was mostly most of hardwoods and pressed woods with laminate tops. In the 1960’s to 1970’s the furniture was occasionally manufactured of pressed wood and laminates. Dixie French Provincial furniture was mostly made of actual hardwood components and pieces.
What is the Value of Dixie Furniture?
Used Dixie French Provincial pieces are still very popular today. They are often repainted to refresh the look of the 1960’s Dixie furniture. The value of the furniture piece will greatly depend whether it is in good condition or perfect condition. French Provincial is the most valuable style, although Dixie furniture is not regarded as a high end furniture manufacturer. These pieces may sell for hundreds of dollars instead of a thousands. The solid wood pieces are more expensive than the pressed wood and laminate furniture pieces, but its nice to know you don’t have to pay a high price.
DIY Dresser Makeover
Although my dresser is mostly solid wood and in excellent condition, the original cream paint finish has yellowed. I think a wonderful paint job will fresh this piece and give it a french country look.
I also love the original hardware, so I plan to give them a good clean and reuse them after it’s painted. There are seven handles and new drawer hardware is not cheap.
I love to paint with Fusion Mineral paint, which is very similar to chalk paint but contains a built in sealer and is self levelling. Here are some previous posts, where I use this paint and go into much more detail about this paint. https://behomeinspired.com/2022/04/21/diy-patio-cushion-makeover-using-paint/ https://behomeinspired.com/2022/06/14/amazing-diy-lantern-makeover-with-paint
- Paint- Fusion Mineral Paint https://fusionmineralpaint.com/
- Drop clothes https://amzn.to/437hr6K
- Paint brush https://amzn.to/40CoX7W
- Screwdriver https://amzn.to/435jk3K
- Sanding sponge https://amzn.to/3KxfMjA
Prepping the Dresser
- Remove all the handles with the screwdriver. Store them safely in a ziplock bag.
- Remove all the drawers and place them on a drop cloth on a table or counter surface.
- Gently sand the surface with an extra fine grit sanding block. This will just help the paint stick even better.
- Wipe down the dresser and drawers with a damp rag to remove any dust or dirt. It’s important to start with a clean painting surface.
- Place the dresser on a drop cloth, in the area that you plan to paint it in.
- Gather all your painting supplies that you need.
Painting the Dresser
I plan to use a paint brush for painting this dresser, as it is much too cold to spray paint outside yet. A paint sprayer would certainly work and probably be faster if you own one. One of the reasons that I love the fusion mineral paint is that it is natural, so there isn’t a strong odour and it’s safe to paint inside.
Choosing which colour to paint your dresser, is kind of a hard decision. There are so many beautiful colours to choose from. Decide where the furniture piece is going to be sitting in your home and which colour would look best with the existing wall and floor colours of that room. Which colour would also match well with the home decor in that room? I am choosing the perfect aqua shade, which is one of my favourite colours. It looks like a bluish smokey grey colour.
Once you have your paint ready to go, it’s time to start painting. Paint the front of the drawers and then move on to paint the top, front edges and sides of the dresser. I would only paint the back if it’s not going to be against a wall once it’s finished.
Let the first coat of paint dry for a couple hours. Give it a very light sand with 220 grit sandpaper and then wipe off with a cloth. This just smoothes the surface for the second coat. Paint the whole piece again with a second coat of paint and let dry.
Whether you need a third coat of paint will depend on whether you have good coverage with the first two coats. Have a close look in a well lit area to see if its fully covered.
There are a few popular different types of finishes that could be added to the piece once you are done painting. One idea is to gently sand the edges to giving it a natural, distressed and slightly worn look.
Another option is to add a white or dark wax to any areas of the dresser that you may want the detail or design to stand out a bit. These waxes are rubbed on and then gently rubbed off with a cloth.
One of the great perks of using this type of paint is that it has a built in sealer, so it’s not necessary to paint on a top coat or wax on a sealer. If you are using a chalk paint or another kind that dosen’t have this, definitely go ahead and do this step.
The last step is to put all the handles back on drawers after everything has dried.
Another tip would be to line all the drawers with pretty contact paper or wallpaper.
Displaying the Dresser
Gone are the days where dressers just belonged in the bedroom. This individual item can be displayed throughout your home in almost every room. Besides a bedroom, this piece of furniture would look great in a living room, dining room, family room or even a bathroom. All of the drawers make it a great place to store extra items in that room.
I hope you have enjoyed following along with me as I share a little furniture history and a makeover of this adorable dresser. Hopefully I have inspired you to find yourself a Dixie French Provincial piece of furniture and do a paint makeover on it. They really do make an amazing decor piece in your home.
Have a wonderful week!