Replace broken drawers with shelves

Replace broken drawers with shelves

Broken drawers? Missing drawers? Not a problem!

We’ve all had a cheap dresser at some point, and we all know what that means: The broken drawers suck and they eventually fall apart.

That was certainly the case with this one. Remember, a couple of weeks ago, how I made over a laminate armoire I picked up on Kijiji?

Lazy laminate furniture makeover
Lazy laminate furniture makeover

Well, this is its mate — an extra-long dresser with the same ’80s curves, chunky wooden hardware … and broken drawers.

Easy fix for broken drawers {Heather's Handmade Life}
Yikes! (“Bikes!” #namethatmovie)

The drawers were falling apart before we’d even dragged it out of the person’s house. I was already scrunching my face about the fact that the furniture was laminate — not the real wood I’d thought it was — so carrying armfuls of drawer pieces did nothing to improve my mood.

Once we’d gotten the furniture into our basement (the site of my brand-new home office), I assessed the pile of drawers from all three pieces (armoire, dresser and nightstand) to see which fit where. It turned out that all of the broken drawers were coming from Ye Olde Long Dresser — only one was intact.

I decided to roll with it, rather than attempt to glue or screw the drawers back together. If I put the “good” drawer in the middle, I could make a shelf above it — in the spot where a top drawer should be. The missing bottom drawer wouldn’t require any work, since there was already a flat surface.

I slid the single drawer into the middle slot of the dresser, removed all of the other plastic sliders (which were also cracked and half-broken), and filled the holes. Then I looked at the pile of broken drawer pieces — sides, fronts and bottoms — to see what I could recycle into a shelf.

It made sense to use the bottom of the original drawer — a thin piece of laminate — as the shelf, since it was almost the full size. I screwed 1×3 boards into the sides of the dresser and across the ends to support it, and then rested the drawer-bottom on top.

Replace broken drawers with shelves {Heather's Handmade Life}

I didn’t like that the laminate shelf wasn’t wide enough to cover the supports, so I hid it by screwing another 1×3 board across the front of the shelf — creating a little raised ledge.

Once those modifications were finished, it was time to paint that icky faux wood. I used my go-to white (“Casement” by Fusion Mineral Paint) and it took three or four coats to get full coverage. Because I didn’t bother to paint the insides of the cabinets or the drawer, it didn’t take too long.

Replace broken drawers with shelves {Heather's Handmade Life}

I distressed the edges with a bit of sandpaper to highlight the neat curves (the ’80s are totally back) and then it was time to add the hardware a.k.a. the most satisfying finishing touch. Just like on the armoire from a couple of weeks ago, all I had to do was pop out the curved wooden “accent” and I had perfectly classic gold hardware.

While my new office isn’t finished yet, this dresser is already proving to be totally amazing. The cabinets hold a ton of project supplies, the drawer is filled to the brim with felt, and I store little items in the wicker bins (which have been moving from room to room since 2010 — wicker bins are always a good investment).

Replace broken drawers with shelves {Heather's Handmade Life}

In fact, I might even like it BETTER with those two missing drawers. As Tyra Banks would say, it’s “flawsome” this way.

Replace broken drawers with shelves {Heather's Handmade Life}
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