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Painted Dresser in General Finishes Lamp Black

A very special thank you to General Finishes for sponsoring this post!

When we first started planning the elements of the bedroom for the One Room Challenge, we were fairly certain we would be keeping all of the furniture. The furniture was purchased as a suite which means every piece from the armoire to the nightstands match. In an effort to change things up, we decided to paint some of the pieces just to give the space a fresh feel. Let me just say, there is nothing wrong with matching furniture. I have several pieces of matching furniture that were from my mom’s suite when she was a little girl and I would never consider letting go of those matching pieces no matter what. That being said, the furniture in the bedroom doesn’t hold sentimental value at all. So, it’s time for a change and this change is coming in the form of General Finishes Lamp Black. Affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. You can read our full disclosure statement here.

As soon as we decided to paint the bedroom furniture, I immediately thought about Lamp Black. To be perfectly honest, I could not get it out of my head but black can be a tough sell when you’re really not excited about covering up “good wood” anyway.   “I don’t get it…the furniture is already an espresso color…why black?” I heard over and over again. I called my mom, my best painter friends, I searched online for inspiration and still…day after day…I just kept coming back to Lamp Black.

The minute I finally heard the words, “Ok, this is your area of expertise, I trust you,” I got out my can of General Finishes Lamp Black and got to work giving the ten drawer dresser a total makeover. Here’s a look at the transformation…

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-1

Make sure you remove all of the hardware prior to getting started.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-2

If you haven’t had a chance to use General Finishes Milk Paint let me just say it’s not scary at all to use. It comes premixed in a can so there’s no need for an emersion blender or a separate cup. You do need to prep your piece before you paint it which means you need to lightly sand your piece of furniture 120-grit sandpaper followed by 220-grit sandpaper and brush or vacuum away any sanding dust.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-3

Next, clean your piece with a product like TSP. TSP is concentrated so you’ll need to make sure you add the appropriate amount of water based on the amount of TSP you’re using. The instructions for this can be found on the back of the TSP bottle.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-4

At this point, you may be ready to prime with a product like Zinsser or General Finishes Stain Blocker. We used Zinsser along with General Finishes Milk Paint in Snow White on our bathroom cabinet and the Stain Blocker along with General Finishes Milk Paint in Snow White on our kitchen cabinets and I can safely report both are holding up well.

We chose not to prime the ten drawer dresser because it’s already a dark color and we wanted to be able to leave part of the espresso stain exposed in certain places. I’ll leave it to you to decide what process will work best for your specific piece. General Finishes Milk Paint goes all really smooth and just so you know, you can paint right out of the can just make sure you’ve taken the time to shake/stir well before applying.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-5

Allow to paint to dry before lightly sanding with a 320-grit sandpaper and make sure to remove any sanding dusting before recoating. This is after one coat of paint.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-6

And this is after two coats of paint.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-7

I let the piece dry overnight before applying several coats of General Finishes Water Based High Performance Top Coat, sanding between coats with a 320-grit sandpaper, removing sanding dust before applying another coat and allowing 2 hours between each coat. Don’t let this milky white color scare you, this top coat goes on clear and dries very quickly.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-8

I know black is not usually a color that people chose to paint furniture, I totally get it but just so you know Lamp Black is an elegant and sophisticated color that’s also a pretty neutral.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-9

It’s definitely going to make a statement next to the crisp white from the board and batten.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-10

We haven’t picked up any accessories for the bedroom yet so I picked up all of these pieces from different spots around the house.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-11

But I’m sure this moody mix and layers of different textures will be represented somehow.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-12

If you missed our post on the dresser hardware you can find that post here.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-13

A very special thank you to General Finishes for sponsoring this post. If you’re new to General Finishes Milk Paint and want to find out more about this fabulous paint you can do that here.

Lamp Black Painted Dresser-14

See you guys back here tomorrow, I’ll share the rest of our progress on the One Room Challenge. Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.


Many blessings,


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  1. Love it! You know that black is on its way back. In fact, I noticed in the last Ballards Catalog they had several large pieces of black furniture highlighted. You are right on the mark.

    The darker black color is rich. Sometimes black can come out looking flat but this is a nice rich color.

    Great job!


    1. Thank you, Nancy! I don’t know what it was about the black but I just couldn’t get it out of my head, you know? I’m really excited about the way it all turned out though. I think it’s really going to anchor the space. Hugs, CoCo

  2. Elizabeth Bonin says:

    I love that you painted the dresser black! We have painted a good number of pieces for the booth in black and they usually go pretty quickly. I love the drama of a dark piece of furniture. Beautiful job my friend!

    1. I so appreciate your sweet words, Liz, thank you! I knew it would probably be a gamble to even consider Lamp Black but I just could not get this color out of my head. It’s going to be fun to see how everything comes together for this room. Sending you big hugs, CoCo

  3. I’ve really been missing your posts CoCo. My dad has been sick but is finally on the mend now. This dresser is pretty in black. I thought you would have painted it white but this black is stunning, it’s a great surprise, Sarah

    1. So sorry to hear your dad has been sick, Sarah, I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers. ha ha I know! You know I love white especially GF Snow White but I just couldn’t get this color out of my head 🙂 Hugs, CoCo

  4. Reading this post on my lunch break, CoCo! This color is amazing. I’ve never used milk paint before but I know you like it so I’m looking forward to trying it now. Thanks

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comments, Bonnie! I think you would like this paint too. It goes on very smoothly and bonus no mixing or blending or anything! Definitely give it a try. I put the link to General Finishes at the bottom of this post. They should have a list of retailers near you that sell this paint in your area or you can purchase online too. Hugs, CoCo

  5. I love it Coco! It looks so striking and regal. (not to mention how much I looove General Finishes!) I am so glad you listened to your instincts and went with the black. It’s gorgeous.

    1. I so appreciate you, Lisa, thank you! I’m really excited about the way things are coming together and about the way this piece turned out too. It’s only the second piece I’ve ever painted black but as soon as I was finished I immediately thought, “I should use this more often!” ha ha. Sending you big hugs, CoCo

  6. Love it! Looks like it has a hint of grey and blue in it? Am I seeing that right, because I love it? Just want to be sure before I click to buy?

    1. I’m not a color or paint expert at all, Kim, but I would say it may have a tiny hint of blue in it. I took these pictures during the middle of the day and just off the shot is a picture window which I know effects the way the color comes out in the pictures. During the early morning hours, late afternoon and the night hours the color is black without any hints of blue at all. TAs soon as we finish the floors I’ll be taking more pictures so hopefully that will get you a better ideas too. In the meantime, you may be able to go to your local GF retailer and see if they have a sample board with the different colors of paint they offer. That way you can get a better look at the actual hues in the paint. I hope this helps. Hugs and happy painting, CoCo

  7. It’s beautiful Coco! I really love Lamp Black and General Finishes. Can’t wait to see how the bedroom comes together!

    1. Such a sweet compliment from someone who knows black and white as well as you do! Thanks so much lady, I appreciate it! Hugs, CoCo

  8. Thank you, the problem is I have no GF retailers close by, but your response is certainly helpful! The dresser looks great! Thank you.

  9. CoCo – Your vision, gut-instinct and expertise definitely paid off – the dresser makeover is perfection! Love the lamp black and the drawer pulls. You made the best decision for this piece…we can’t wait to see more!

    1. You guys are the best, thank you so much! I really appreciate you helping to talk me through everything. You know how I get when I get stuck on something ha ha 🙂 Hugs, CoCo

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