Drawers are an important functional necessity in the home. Whether you find them recessed into kitchen counters, or purchased as standalone pieces to add organization to a room, they are a great way to improve the useful nature of a space. But they are also more than that. The flat faces found on the front of the drawers can actually be tiny canvases, allowing you to work your artistic magic across the front of the piece, while the top and sides act as a backdrop to your creative endeavors. This allows you to add a decorative beauty to the organizational function of these versatile pieces.
A set of unfinished wooden drawers is going to give you the widest range of decorative options. Since the material hasn’t been treated, you have a number of ways that you can color the wood, including spray paint or acrylic, or even using a wood stain that will alter the hue without covering the natural grain of the wood.
Try soft pastel colors to create an energetic vibrant look, or cool metallic paints for a modern futuristic appeal. If you’re feeling bold, paint alternating drawers in different complimentary hues, and then color the rest of the piece using a subdued backdrop that will frame your effect. Washed out paints create a softer, wispier finish while thicker paints will create a more dramatic effect.
You also have the option of using fabric to alter the look of your drawers. Sheets of different material can be cut out and then applied to exterior surfaces using adhesive. If necessary, remove the handles, and then once the fabric is in place poke small holes in it to reattach them through the sheet. You have a variety of options here including patterns such as stripes, animal prints, or floral designs.
One take off on this idea is to cover drawers used in a children room with brightly colored wrapping paper. The surrounding piece should be painted a soft pastel or matching hue, and then pieces of wrapping paper can be used on the drawers, sides, and top to make the entire structure seem like a giant present.
Another decorative treatment you can add to drawers is decoupage. Use old post cards, cutouts from old maps, or clips from a magazine, layered in interesting patterns. You can even use intriguing cutout of pictures of the items that are actually in each drawer, for instant plastering photos of flowers on a gardening drawer, or cosmetic ads from a magazine pasted onto a makeup drawer. A few coats of varnish and the materials should take on a composite artistic appearance.
If you feel like getting dimensional, you have a variety of options you can explore with gluing decorative beads, or even larger decorative motifs to the drawers. These can be arranged around handles, or along edges of the piece to give it textural appeal. Motifs can be purchased in a variety of materials, or crafted from plaster of Paris in rubber molds. Items such as colorful beads, discs, and other ornaments can be found at your local craft store.
Finally, there are a wealth of creative things you can do with handles, knobs, and pulls. Hardware stores have entire aisles devoted to these objects, and installing them is usually as easy as drilling a small hole. You can also remove existing hardware and either paint it, or glue small textural elements along it. As long as the finished piece is still functional there are a variety of creative options here.
Drawers are more than just the caretakers of our organizational lives; they are decorative parts of the environment, which can add to the beauty and style of the surrounding room. As you cast your artistic gaze across the home, try to remember that, and see the potential that lies in those tiny flat canvases of functional fortitude.