Upcycling is very “in” at the moment and with good reason too; it’s cheaper, it’s greener, and it’s fun to get a little messy and create completely unique pieces that can proudly be shown off in your home. 

I’m going to share with you just how easy it is to create the most gorgeous set of ombre drawers.

Here is what we started with –

And how we turned it into a beautiful key feature for our home:

What you’ll need

  • Sandpaper and electric sander (electric sander is much quicker and easier than doing it by hand)
  • White paint
  •  Colour paint of your choice. Choose a darker shade as you’ll be mixing white in to create the lighter shades. 
  • NOTE: As far as what type of paint, we used a satin finish enamel that was still left over from renovating our house as it has a bit more wear and tear. But oil or water based paint will work.
  • Medium and small paint brushes and a roller (we used a 12cm roller sponge)
  • Newspaper/black bags/outside area you don’t mind getting bit messy


How To

Remove all the drawers and sand down the entire unit, including the drawers, until all old paint is removed. We still had some old paint that wouldn’t budge off the drawer handles but had no problem covering it with a few coats of the new paint. Obviously, it’s better to try get the whole unit as cleanly sanded as possible.

Wipe down your unit with a damp cloth to remove dust and grime.

Paint your unit, excluding the drawers, with the white paint. We used 2 -3 coats to get a nice solid white.

Paint the first drawer with your pure colour, you can decide if you want the ombre top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top drawer.
For your second drawer, mix some of your pure colour with a bit of white to make it a shade or two lighter. I did this by eye and not exact measurements but it might be a good idea to measure an amount of white and just add that amount to your first mixture each time you move onto the next drawer. It’s your project so you can be as creative or calculated as you want!
Paint each drawer a shade lighter than the one before until you have completed all the drawers. Like such:

Use your small paint brushes to paint the handles if they need doing. The other option is to buy some fun handles online or scavenge some from a local antique store to give a totally new look and feel.

Allow everything to dry before reassembling the unit. Don’t forget to clean your brushes, especially if you used an oil based paint!

The end result of our DIY ombre chest of drawers:

Here are some other cool ideas just for fun:



Norgarb Properties Agent Andre Ter Moshuizen, who specialises in the Claremont area, regularly shares household tips and handy home hints. For more tips and hints click here.

Andre Ter Moshuizen Estate Agent

082 602 1367 |

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