Repurposed Dresser to Mudroom Hutch
Hello everyone, Jeremy Hoffpauir here! My family and I moved recently and had a few pieces of extra furniture. Stacey and I decided to repurpose this furniture into items we needed in the new house instead of selling them as individual pieces for next to nothing on Craigslist. Keep reading to find out why a repurposed dresser to mudroom hutch is a perfect DIY project. Also, learn how to repurpose dresser drawers into something useful.
Like most of my other projects which involves repurposed furniture, I didn’t have any set plans, drawings, or measurements. The lack of plans and uniformity is the main reason I enjoy repurposed projects. My imagination and creativity lead me to the end result; therefore, it is sort of a work of art rather than a project.
The first step to any project is to get a clear picture of the end result. Well, this is easier said than done. I removed the drawers from the dresser in order to spark my imagination, but I simply couldn’t get a clear picture of how I could possibly convert this dresser into a mudroom hutch.
What will it be?
It was time for me to focus. I turned my phone off, cleared my mind, imagined I was looking at the dresser from the eyes of a child, and simply stared at the dresser.
I know, I know – you are probably saying to yourself, “What the hell? Say what? Looking at the dresser from the eyes of a child?” Let me briefly add some color to this comment. For most of us as we grow older, our ability to use our imagination significantly decreases. As adults, we often times complicate things, worry about potential outcomes, and allow our logical minds to block our creative flow.
My way of overcoming this creative stumbling block is to quiet my mind and pretend I am a child (~8 years old or so). When I perform this simple exercise, the false limitations I impose on myself are lifted b/c anything is possible when I think like a child.
If I have trouble with this exercise, I have another trick. I simply ask myself, “What would my son or daughter instruct me to do if I asked them how to convert this dresser?”
As soon as I asked myself the aforementioned question, the answer came to me: Drop down the top of the dresser to form the seat! This may seem like the obvious thing to do, but answers aren’t that clear when my imagination is blocked. That spark was all I needed – I was off to the races.
This dresser had 8 drawers – 6 medium & 2 large. More to come on these later…
Next, I carefully removed the top of the dresser, the drawer sliding hardware, the moulding/trim, and the front frame that segmented the drawers. I was very careful with when I removed each piece in order to use them in a later step. I placed the small pieces of wood in my bucket to keep them in one place.
After I removed the top of the dresser, I cut the middle support board (between the large and small drawers of the dresser) and dropped it down about 6″ to form the shoe storage cubby. I secured the board to each side with pocket holes using my kreg jig.
Create New Frame
Next, I built a 2×4 support square at the bottom of the dresser to secure the right/left wings & to add much needed stability.
I did not have any remaining 2x4s in my shop, so I grabbed a few 1x4s I had laying around, cut them to size, and formed the base of the bench and the bottom cubby with pocket hole screws.
Then, I secured the 1×4 braces to each wing of the bench with pocket holes as well.
Side note: pay attention to the pallet in the picture below as it has significance later in the project.
I used 1/2″ plywood as the base for the bottom cubby.
Next, I ripped the plywood to a rough size with my circular saw and used my jig saw to cut around the front left/right indentations.
Then, I secured the plywood to the 2×4 frame with wood screws.
Form the Bench
Next, it was time to cut what was the top of the dresser to size in order to form the bench. This was a vital part of the project b/c it was important to me to use the top of the dresser for the bench piece.
So, I measured, measured again & measured again. Similar to the previous step, I used my circular saw to rip the 2 sides to size and my jig saw to cut around the front left/right indentations.
The bench had a very snug fit, but I still elected to secure the bench from the outside of each side. The 1×4’s supporting the bench were very stable, but they are onl 1x4s so securing the bench from each side with screws and from the top with brad nails was a necessity.
I had to figure out a way to square things up a bit on the backside of the bench in order to mount the hutch.
So, I cut a 1×4 to size to go across the back of the bench and used 1x4s to form a square on each side of the bench.
Then, I secured a 1×4 on the top, bottom, and back of each side. I secured the 1×4’s with pocket holes.
Next, I cut a square piece of wainscoting and secured it with brad nails and wood glue on the inside of each square on the right & left side of the bench. The wainscoting covered the bare wood on the right/left sides of the bench. I trimmed out the wainscoting with quarter rounds.
I decided to add a 1×4 to the top back of the bench to serve as an even transition to the hutch and provide more stability.
I created the hutch frame out of 1x4s and securing them with pocket holes.
Then, I secured this frame with pocket holes on the back of each arm rest. Of course, this is not very secure but keep reading. 🙂
After I secured the hutch frame to the top of each armrest, I used 2x4s to further secure the frame to the bench and are recessed about an inch so they cannot me seen.
The 2x4s run from the bottom of the bench to the top of the hutch, across the top, down the other side to the bottom of the bench, and in the middle from the bottom of the bench to the top.
In other words. the 2×4 frame in the back mirrors the 1×4 frame in the front. I didn’t use only 2x4s to form the hutch frame b/c it simply didn’t look right. The 1x4s matched the original wood size of the dresser.
Instead of using an entire sheet of wainscoting and securing it to the back of the hutch in the openings, I cut them out in squares and lined up each piece to the adjacent piece. I chose to do this mainly to cut down on the weight of the hutch. I did not want this piece to get top heavy.
My only complaint up to this point in the project is the size of the bottom 2 squares above the bench are not the same size as the squares on the hutch frame. I did this on purpose b/c the smaller squares did not look right on the top hutch – they were too small. At this point, I hoped it would blend nicely once I installed the hardware.
I added 1/2″ plywood on the sides, top and upper middle to sort of enclose the hutch.
I didn’t like the ‘open’ look of the hutch without these extra pieces. Plus, it was the only way to build an upper compartment.
I secured the plywood to the 2x4s on the back of the hutch. The plywood actually wraps around the 1×4 frame on the sides and on top. It’s hard to notice from the pictures, but I used a lot of the original trim I removed from the dresser at the beginning of the project.
Notice the front of each arm at the top and on the outside of each side in the top picture compared to the bottom picture.
Fill Holes and Sand
This sheet of plywood was really rough, so I added wood filler to patch the holes in various spots.
Next I let it dry for a few hours and then used my orbital sander to sand it down. I also did the same on other parts of the bench.
I trimmed out the inside of the enclosed plywood frame with wainscoting, 1x4s, & 1x2s.
Next, I added a piece of trim moulding along the edge of the plywood frame and the front of the upper shelf in order to hide the edge of the plywood.