In every one of my past apartments, furnishing on a tight budget, I've followed the same routine: Find a dresser/chest/console/entry table/nightstand with a good silhouette and fit, then promptly unscrew the hardware and throw it out. Yes, you heard that right. Because in my mind, the single easiest (and cheapest!) way to get a one-of-a-kind look for a specific space on a tight budget is to swap out standard hardware. Want proof? Here's how I majorly upgraded an affordable, but relatively boring Wayfair dresser.
When I moved into my current apartment, I volunteered to take the smallest bedroom, mainly because it got the best light, and for me, light > square footage. But, that decision posed a few difficulties, as I was faced with creatively cramming my not-small collection of books, art, and decor into a space that might qualify as a walk-in closet in cities other than New York. By now, you may have already read about how I upgraded the full-wall Ikea bookshelf that holds most of my belongings. With that done, and my bed situated in the far corner of the room, I had a tiny amount of space in which to fit a dresser. So, I set about searching for affordable options that met my specific size requirements.
At the end, Wayfair delivered on the marriage of small size and affordability, but there was one problem: I didn't love the dresser I selected. Enter, the latest rendition of the world's easiest furniture upgrade.
1.Find your furniture.
Since you'll be swapping out the ornamentation, you can narrow your search down to focus on size, shape, and quality. If you can find a vintage piece, go for it—older case goods tend to be more sturdy than contemporary affordable options. In my case, I wasn't lucky enough to stumble upon an antique in my dimensions, so I sprung for this insanely affordable on Wayfair.
2.Choose your hardware.
Hardware shopping is one of my favorite kinds of home shopping. There are SO many places you can find treasures; check out tag sales, antique stores, and flea markets for discarded knobs and pulls. If you want something in stock in big quantities, one of my favorite affordable sources is . That's where I got the blue ceramic knobs I used on my dresser. Heads up: Make sure you check the style of knob on your furniture piece before shopping for replacements—if it has holes for a two-screw pull, for example, you'll need to shop that style. If you want to replace a pull with a knob you'll need to grout and repaint the former holes and drill a new one.
3.Remove the old hardware.
Remove the old hardware using a screwdriver or drill—or better yet, if you're buying a piece that requires assembly, just don't install it!
4.Replace with the new.
Screw in your new hardware, making sure it's snug and flush to the drawer fronts. If you're assembling the furniture yourself, add the new knobs at whatever point in the process the instructions say.
5.Admire your custom piece.
Et Voilà! You now have a one-of-a-kind furniture piece at a fraction of the cost. So what else can you upgrade?
Follow CQ on .