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What's Inside That Counts...

Little moments of happiness... that's what I strive for in our home. Our house is rarely spotless - instead it's an active ecosystem of schoolwork, laundry, paint and dancing in the kitchen. And I love it. But in this chaos I also love creating what I call little moments of happiness. These are small, unexpected places of calm beauty that lets the eye happily rest. Drawers are a great area to create one of these little restful oasis spots. And zero artistic ability required.

Today we're talking about dressing up the inside of your drawers. You may think WHY would I bother making something pretty if no one else is ever going to see it?! Um. You're someone. You count. Read that again.... YOU count! Opening a drawer and seeing a little hint of something pretty looking back at you will add a touch of joy, moment of calmness and it will likely encourage you to keep your drawer contents organized which will help you find things quickly and reduce a little stress.

I fully advocate LOW cost and LOW time solutions so I wanted to share with you a few ideas that we use on our ReOrigami furniture and in our own home to dress up the inside of drawers.


I adore a clean, solid wood drawer. In those cases where you're working with pristine furniture I often will leave the interior it's original pretty self and add a touch of fun to the outside box. Paint is the easiest way to do this! (STAY WITH ME MY NON-PAINTERS I HAVE SOME GREAT NON-PAINT OPTIONS BELOW.... KEEP READING!)

Whether you want to use a stamp for a punch of color or paint an entire mural, a little fun surprise on the drawer sides is a great way to add a happy moment.


Large stencils are an easy, reusable solution. Simply remove the drawer to lay it down and create a flat working surface. Place down the stencil and tape it into place (if you are using an intricate stencil I do suggest spraying the underside with tack spray or even hairspray to hold it in place). Put a tiny bit of paint on your brush and in an up and down stabbing motion cover the stencil areas. I like to let it dry before removing the stencil but it depends on how patient you are :) .

In this example I wanted a pop of contrasting color so I painted the sides of each drawer in this pretty teal first before using a 2 piece stencil. This was a new concept for me. The set comes with 2 almost identical stencil pages - One goes down first to create a background layer of color (seen here in whtie) and then after it dries the second detail stencil sheet is used directly on top (seen here in an icy blue).

Here are links to the stencils we most commonly use :


Don't have a stencil? This is the perfect opportunity to create some fun art. Tree limbs, hydrangias and cotton bowls are some of my favorites to freehand because the more you "mess up" the prettier and more authentic it becomes. There are a number of quick youtube videos to walk you through the basics.


Painting the outside of furniture is a bit more complicated but the interior of your drawers has a lot of flexibility when it comes to paint type. The inside of your drawers does not need to be food-safe or UV light fade resistant and in most cases slides on a bottom rail so they barely even get touched. This means you can use just about whatever paint you have on hand. Wall paint, kids acrylic paint, craft paint, it's all ok! If you are doing the inside of the drawer where your clothes and items are you'll simply want to add a thin layer of clear sealant to protect your work and help clothes glide across the wood easily. This can be a brush on Polycrylic like Verathane (Home Depot, Lowes) or a spray on clear product.


Paper is a fantastic option I use on a LOT of pieces. There are a lot of specialty drawer liners on the market that I have not personally used but seem to have good reviews. I am impatient and cheap so I tend to prefer using other options. Wrapping paper, sheet music and book pages are some of my favorites.

Wrapping paper comes in a variety of quality and price points. I like grabbing a few rolls at the end of each season when it goes on sale. Often each season will have some pretty solids, florals, or stripes that are inherently universal and not "season specific". Thicker paper is easier to work with but even thin paper is an option using a tearing technique I will show you a little later in the post.

Another very useful option is lining drawers with pages from old books or sheet music. I would never recommend destroying good literature, but often at thrift stores or goodwill you will find tattered novels or bargain bin books for a few dollars whose pages will line just about every piece in your home.


Book pages or sheet music offer straight edge right angles which are ideal for lining drawers.

1) Carefully tear or cut out each page from it's source

2) Decide which side of the page you'd like to be visible based on it's content

3) Lay a page in each corner of the drawer (dry - no glue!)

If the pages overlap and cover the entire drawer, that's great! If not...

4) Tear additional pages in 1/2 and put the straight edge next to the edge of the drawer and fill in all open spaces along the edges with full or 1/2 sheets.

5) Take a few additional pages and tear off all straight edges - we're looking for jagged un-uniform edge pieces that we will lay on top of the straight edges to make a more abstract blended look.

Now that we know what pieces are going in the drawer, we're ready to stick them down.

6) Choose your adhesive method


The adhesive you choose for your liner depends on the type of furniture and how committed you are to the look.

Starch & Water - A mixture of 1 part water to 1 part fabric starch painted onto the drawer will stick the paper to the wood and keep it straight and in place. It can be removed with a little effort later down the road and any stubborn places removed with a llittle sandpaper

Spray Starch - A generous misting of spray starch on the back of each page before placing in the drawer will give you temporary adhesion. This is great for drawers you aren't emptying and refilling regularly. Pages peel off again fairly easily depending on the thickness of the paper and the wood type

Spray Adhesive - There are a variety of adhesive sprays on the market - some with mild adhesion and some more permanent. For these you'll spray the back of the paper with a light mist before placing it into the drawer.

Glue & Water - A mixture of 1 part water to 1 part craft glue (Elmers or any moderate water based glue) will permanently adhere the paper to the wood. It is very difficult to remove using this method.

7a) If you are choosing a spray adhesive, turn each paper over to where their back is facing up and give the back a light misting of spray. You'll want to do this on a towel or old newspaper because there will be overspray.

7b) If you are choosing a brush adhesive, simply mix your adhesive solution in a cup and use any old brush to paint a very thin layer on the bottom of the drawer. You want it barely damp, not dripping wet.

8) Lay down the papers in the same order you had them during your first layout, starting with the pages in each of the 4 corners. Lay them directly against the edge of the drawer and smooth them down flat. If you get wrinkles, gently pull up that area and lay it back down again smooth.

9a) If you are using a spray adhesive, simply layer each of the additional pages along the edges and then finish by placing the pieces that are completely torn all around in the center or wherever hard edges meet for a nice soft blended look

9b) If you are using a brush adhesive brush a very thin layer of glue onto the back of each page that will be layered along the edges and then finish by placing the pieces that are completely torn all around in the center or wherever hard edges meet for a nice soft blended look

10) Optional sealant - most of the time you do not need an additional sealant on the paper. If you feel that you do, there are clear spray sealants at the hardware store. I do not recommend brushing sealant over drawer paper as it will begin to dissolve the paper before it hardens.

And voila! A few minutes and less than a few dollars has given you a new pretty moment in your home. Kind of like an inside secret between you and your furniture to make you smile!


Disclaimer : I have personally researched, purchased and use the products suggested above. I am also an Amazon Affiliate. Some of the links used are affiliate links. By buying through the links I may receive a commission for the sale from Amazon. This has no effect on the price for you.

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