Faux Marble Painting On An Old Dresser

by THAT Painter Lady

It’s that time in our economy when “re-doing” old things is becoming popular again. We all still want to decorate our “nests’ and it’s just hard to justify “buying new”… when we can put a little elbow grease into doing a makeover on old dressers and other furniture.

Today… I received a great question in my in-box. It’s from a subscriber of my newsletter subscribers.  The question is very detailed and ask specific questions about Faux Marble Painting On An Old Dresser.

Debra –
I have really enjoyed reading your emails and your tips and tricks have been very helpful.  I have a new little project for myself and I could use your input.

I found a used dresser for $20.00 that I would like to do a faux marble finish on and use in my bedroom, primarily for a place to put the bedroom TV.

It’s modern, very square and nothing ornate on it, but it is not a huge piece.  The rest of my room has espresso colored furniture (bed and night stands). The bedspread is lime green and white Marimekko retro print. It is actually a brighter green than in the picture.

What I am thinking of using for color is a dark green that coordinates with the lime green for the background and white, espresso and silver for the marbling.

Ok, I am finally getting to the question.

I am thinking of doing the faux marbling on the entire piece – not just the top.

I want it to be an anchor piece in the room.

Is this a bad idea or should I stick to just doing the marbling on the top? Will doing the faux marbling on the entire piece give it a fake look instead of being impressive. If I do the marbling on just the top what do I do with the rest of the dresser color wise.  I don’t want to try to match the espresso of the other pieces.

I would really appreciate your input.  I have not tried to faux finish an entire piece of furniture so I am a little bit nervous about it, but I guess it is just paint.

Thank you for your help

What a fantastic project! I love that Joani is taking a risk – because she knows it’s “Just Paint”.

First… I would not suggest painting the entire piece in faux marble. The dresser will look fake and you will get tired of the results quickly.

Second… I was going to suggest a light colored marble top with a matching espresso finish on the rest of the piece. But that is NOT what Joani want’s to do. Sigh…

Third… If you paint the top of the dresser with faux marble – and then cover it with a TV and other bedroom “stuff”… all the effort to create a beautiful marble finish will have gone to waste.

So – what will I suggest?

Because “Silver” seems to be the accent material in the room –  (Brushed Nickle, Chrome or Sterling) – I think adding some silver highlights to the dresser is a good idea.

I think the top of the dresser would look fantastic in a broken silver (like mercury glass) look. My idea is to “silver leaf” the top of the dresser to resemble a mercury glass vase.  It will be have a bit of a modern look to this very plain piece – but with more interest than putting mirror on top.

The dresser hardware should be brushed nickle or chrome.

Or… silver leaf the entire dresser and paint the top a black or espresso color.

Now – What about painting the Dresser Drawer Fronts?

I love the idea of contrasting furniture in a bedroom… nothing matchy – matchy.

I like this idea for the dresser. It’s simple… clean and could be done in fresh colors to match the bedspread. This dresser has a crackle finished glaze… which is NOT the look you are going for.

The clean lines do give you the idea of how stripes could look on your dresser.

Nice shiny hardware and the aged silver leaf top… gorgeous and not hard to do.

Hey… Wait A Minute…

Did Debra Just Avoid The Subject Of Faux Marble Painting?

Nope… I will always recommend trying faux marble techniques on furniture. They look great… and if Joani is set on trying her hand at marbleizing her new (old) dresser, I have an idea for that as well.

This dresser has a faux marble green top and pickled (light wood stain) on the rest of the cabinetry.

Here is the answer…

If you are painting faux marble on a dresser top:

Use some contrast!

Light marble on dark cabinet – Dark marble on a light color dresser.

It’s clean and contemporary. Light and Fresh. This is about making the dresser look “new” … not old and country.

I hope all this rambling helps. Let me know if you are still having a problem making a design decision … LOL


Cool! I got a reply I want to share!

Debra –

I was so excited to see that you not only replied to my email but that you put it on your website.

Your reply had so much helpful information you got my brain working overtime.

I have to say, your suggestion to “silver leaf” the entire dresser and paint the top espresso is my number one choice. The lamps in the room are silver and I painted the shades green to match the bedspread. Doing the dresser “silver leaf” would put some silver on the opposite side of the room, and create an impressive piece. Wonderful idea, thank you! You were really in tune with what I am trying to do.

Thank you for talking about doing dark on the cabinet and light faux marble on the top or vice versa. Very helpful tip. I have another dresser that I am going to convert to a media cabinet for the living room. This one was a real bargain at $10.00, but has great bones and a modern look. After reading your tips, I think I will do the one for the living room in a dark cabinet with a light faux marble top. Yeah, I still am going to faux marble something!!!

I am really excited and ready to get to work. Thank you so very much. You were right on the mark.

Gotta go, the projects are stacking up. I will send photos of the projects.


Isn’t it great when someone loves your advice?  I get a hug smile when I feel the excitement about new projects.

Here is the deal… you can email me questions (if you are a newsletter subscriber – I make this really easy) or you can hit reply at the bottom of this article and I will try to help you find “excitement” for your next project.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

liz king February 1, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I love the Idea of mercury glass. Please send info on how to do this technique
on a small dresser. Love love love it!!!!!!

Sharon Broome February 1, 2010 at 6:02 pm

You have inspired me so much. I can’t wait till warm weather gets here so I can get started.


Gloria Porter February 1, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Did you strip the dresser first- before you put the light wood stain on it? I love what you did with it and would like to try it on my old one which is in need.

What kind of stripper did you use?



THAT Painter Lady February 2, 2010 at 4:14 am

A mercury glass look would be done with silver leaf. You can use silver leaf on almost anything! It’s time consuming but the
results would be fantastic.

THAT Painter Lady February 2, 2010 at 4:15 am

Hey Sharon… keep me posted on all your projects! Debra

THAT Painter Lady February 2, 2010 at 4:16 am

If you are going to put a light color on a dresser you can approach it in one of two ways…

One is strip and bleach – and then use a white wash stain. It’s a lot of work and I like things easy…

So… You could just do a white wash type of effect with paint right over a prepped surface.

Easy – Peasy… Debra

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