Thrifty Thursday: Toy Chest

Hello, Friends! Last week for Thifty-Thursday, I talked about re-purposing thrifted items like fashion belts and grapevine wreaths. This week’s project features what was once a very, very sad chest of drawers my friend, Rachel, rescued for me for $9.50 at our local Goodwill. In fact, the chest was so sad, her husband laughed when he unloaded it in my driveway. I’m used to that, though. I bought a lamp at Goodwill once that was so ugly, the cashier laughed until she cried. But once I was finished with that little ugly lamp, my mom and brother got into an argument over who would get to take it home. You just have to have patience…and paint.

Before: The chest was purchased at Goodwill for $9.50

I knew right away that I wanted to use the chest in our living room as a place to store toys. While I love decorating and spend a lot of time drooling over Pottery Barn catalogs, I want a house that is lived-in and practical. I’m not a “get your feet off the couch” momma and in all honesty, my 18-month-old is more particular about things going in their place than I am. But still, I had grown tired of looking at all of her toys stacked in the Pack n’ Play, which had become the unofficial toy box in our living room.

The makeover process was longer than usual with this piece because I wanted to restore the top of the dresser to its natural wood, which meant standing on a chair for two hours with a power-sander and a scraper to rid the dresser of two layers of the nastiest paint you’ve ever seen. Once I had a bare surface, I stained the top and painted the rest of the dresser ivory. After removing the drawers and tracks, I stained the inside of the dresser to match the top. I decided to keep the bottom drawer for additional storage and recycled wooden knobs from another furniture project that matched the finish on the top of the chest. During the makeover process, I discovered that the top actually opens (it had been painted shut) and that gave me even more storage. I use it to keep extra diapers, clothes and sunblock tucked away. Hey, when you have a toddler you find ways to avoid another trip upstairs if you can. The baskets (which look an awful lot like Pottery Barn’s Savannah baskets if you ask me) were purchased at Wal-mart for between $7 and $10. There were ways I could have cut back on that expense but considering we could not find toy storage that wasn’t bright red, blue and yellow without dropping more than $200, I was happy to drop $80 on baskets knowing the project still came in under $100.


With the toy chest in place, I’ve created a little play nook for Ada. A Diaper Genie is tucked away in the corner and the baskets make toys easy to grab and easier to put awayh. I purchased the galvanized buckets in the paint section and Lowe’s (which I decoupaged with the leftover fabric from our window treatments) and created a place to hang them using stair railing hardware that we installed upside down. The buckets store crayons, markers and flashcards so they are easy for me to grab but out of Ada’s reach. I love how it all came together and I think this gives us practical storage space that’s still pretty. What do you think?

You can find more kid-friendly decor here.


I’m linking to these blogs this week. Please visit and tell them I sent you!

The Shabby Nest
Miss Mustard Seed

24 Responses to “Thrifty Thursday: Toy Chest”

  1. betty September 20, 2012 at 1:53 am #

    I love it! It’s a beautiful place to play.

  2. April September 20, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    You brilliant person, you! It’s a perfect way to store the toys and yet look sophisticated enough to keep in the living room area. sigh….I need a friend like you to work on projects I’ve always wanted to try. :)

    • amanda September 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

      Thanks, April! Girl, I AM your friend to do projects with :)

  3. Deidre September 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    This is gorgeous! What a great idea! Love the pottery barn effect:)

    • amanda September 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

      Thanks, Deidre!

  4. katie s. September 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    wow. just wow. you+paint=amazing!

  5. Kayla Danelle September 22, 2012 at 2:27 am #

    LOVE IT! You are so talented friend!!

  6. Heidi September 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    I can’t believe that’s the same dresser! SOO inspiring!!

    • amanda September 24, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      Thank you, Heidi!

  7. Mary September 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Gorgeous!!! I have almost the same dresser and have been wondering how to best use it.
    Did you have to install the shelves where the drawers used to be? How did you do it?
    My dresser is just an empty space once the drawers are removed and I’m unsure how to make shelves for inside.
    Great job!!

    • amanda September 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      Hi, Mary! I apologize I’m just getting to respond. I’m still recovering from surgery! I was lucky and did not have to install shelves because there was a thin piece of wood underneath the drawers. Good luck with your dresser. Send me pics when you’re done!

  8. Chavon December 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    This is wonderful. I have a dresser with no drawers and i cant find anyone that shows how they put the shelves in place. I would love to do this soon.

  9. Maya @ House Nerd December 30, 2012 at 2:51 am #

    Hi Amanda, just discovered your blog through the link to this story via Pinterest – WOW! Love your blog and your beautiful home! Bookmarked already and looking forward to reading more :)

    • amanda January 5, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

      Thank you, Maya! Welcome!

  10. Kathy Bryan January 2, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    I love the white chester drawers and what you have done with it. Is it for sale and if yes, how much. I need the storage!!

  11. Stana January 9, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    I’m just curious as to what you used for the shelving where the baskets sit? I LOVE this…You are one talented lady!

    • amanda January 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      Thanks! I didn’t have to do anything because there was wood already there, separating the spaces.

  12. Deidre January 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    what a great transformation! You have a lot of talent and I’ve enjoyed looking around on your blog. I’m definitely repinning this project!

  13. Traci January 19, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    Awesome job restoring that chest!!!! I am NEVER that lucky to find a deal like that at my Goodwill store. Good for you, and keep being so creative!!!

    • amanda January 25, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

      Thanks, Traci! I was super lucky on this one. I was so excited when I realized that the top opened, too! Happy Hunting!

  14. Anne ioannou January 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    Hi Amana, you have some great idea’s I have been wanting to do something like that for ages.. The paint looks really thick did you sand it down first? Looking forward to seeing more of your great ideas… Anne

    • amanda January 25, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

      Thanks, Anne! I did sand it down but wasn’t able to get all of the layers off. Whoever dropped her off at Goodwill had done a number on her first! Since it was going to be used for toy storage (and already has suffered at the hands of my toddler) I wasn’t as particular as I usually am with my furniture makeovers.

  15. Karen July 29, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    I am inspired to makeover some old dressers
    now, however mine don’t have wood for the baskets
    sit on. I was thinking I could slide a piec of mdf
    in there. Any ideas?


  1. So many projects, so little time | little miss jenny leigh - October 12, 2012

    […] I read a great piece by Amanda at A Lovely Place to Land about a $9.50 Goodwill chest-redo that really got me motivated. (She is super creative and […]

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