Need new kitchen storage? This upcycled dresser idea is the perfect solution

Got some spare paint or leftover wallpaper? This one's for you

Kitchen dresser painted blue with floral wallpaper backing
(Image credit: Melanie Boyden)

If you're looking for kitchen storage ideas, you can't go wrong with a dresser. Part hidden storage, part open (or glass-covered) shelving, they're perfect for displaying your favourite bits – whether that's glassware, pretty crockery or colourful cookbooks – while stowing away those more unsightly things underneath.

There are plenty of new designs on the market, but we're rather taken with one Instagrammer's genius makeover of a second-hand find. Melanie Boyden, a blogger at Melanie Jade Design (opens in new tab), has gone through several iterations of her dresser, which she sourced from a charity shop in Brighton – and if we're honest, we love them both. 

Inspired? Take a look at how she did it – and why not have a go at upcycling your own?

The before

Vintage mahogany kitchen dresser

(Image credit: Melanie Boyden)

Mel picked up the dresser years ago for £60 at a charity shop in Brighton, and while the mahogany piece was beautiful, it didn't go with the rest of the kitchen scheme. 'When I first moved in, I really liked a calm, grey, Scandi look,' she says. With her creative eye and willingness to DIY, she decided to upcycle the piece and paint it grey.

The process

Close-up of kitchen dresser with grey painted front and blue and white geometric papered back

(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott © Future)

Upcycling the dresser was simple: Mel removed the handles to paint the cabinet fronts, then used strips of wallpaper to line the backs of the shelves, creating a patterned contrast.

Over time, as Mel writes on her blog (opens in new tab), the light grey colour 'totally lost the battle with all the stains and general grime that comes with a busy kitchen.' Keen to make a change, she decided to give it a second makeover – this time in a bolder colour.

The after

Kitchen dresser painted blue with floral wallpaper backing

(Image credit: Melanie Boyden)

Mel tried several sample pots before settling for Dulux's Sapphire Salute (opens in new tab) Satinwood paint. She also painted the dark blue wall behind the dresser a fresh white to add contrast. For the wallpaper, she chose B&Q's GoodHome Ferula Blue tropical leaves wallpaper (opens in new tab), which has dark blue accents as well as shades of green and mustard.

After gently sanding down the dresser to smooth over the surface and giving it a good clean with sugar soap, she set about painting the dresser, going around the hinges with a fine brush. She applied the wallpaper to the back of the dresser with Gorilla Glue (opens in new tab), then touches up the hinges and handles with gold paint.

Check out the full makeover over on Mel's blog, and head to her Instagram (opens in new tab) to follow her new home renovation – plus more amazing upcycling projects.

Ellen Finch
Deputy editor

Joining as features editor in 2017, Ellen now looks after the day-to-day running of Real Homes magazine as deputy editor. She also commissions and writes many of the real case studies you'll see on the site, and loves speaking to people about their homes and get the details on the hacks they've tried and loved. She's currently gearing up to buy a home of her own in 2023 – hopefully with a garden to plant veg and wildflowers – and has a special interest in sustainable living, clever book storage, and cats.