How to Replace the Back Panel on a Dresser

If your dresser’s back panel is heavily chipped up or if it is becoming detached from the frame of the dresser, you may want to replace it.

The back panel on a dresser probably isn’t the most common part of a dresser to fix up. Nevertheless, it is a relatively straightforward repair.

In this post, you will learn how to replace the back panel on a dresser in just a few quick and easy steps.

Tools and supplies

The following tools and supplies will be needed to replace the back of your dresser:


  • Hammer
  • Tape measurer
  • Needle nose pliers


  • Finish nails (1 inch – 1.25 inches)
  • Plywood or particle board (1/8 inch – 1/4 inch thick)

Related: Best Nails for Furniture

Step 1: Measure the faulty back panel

To replace the back of a dresser you need to first need to remove the back panel. However, before you do, it’s important to take some measurements.

Remove all the drawers of the dresser and flip it so that the front is on the floor and the back is facing straight up in the air. This isn’t necessary for taking measurements but you will need to flip the dresser front down eventually to work on it anyway. If you are on the hardwood floor, consider laying the dresser on a towel so that it doesn’t scratch up the floor. 

Use a tape measure to get the dimensions of the back panel. Jot down the length and width and take note of the thickness. You will need to use the old panel dimensions to use as a reference for purchasing the replacement panel.

When taking measurements be sure to measure specifically the back panel and don’t include the back of the dresser frame in your measurements.

Step 2: Purchase a replacement panel

You can purchase a new panel at any hardware store. The replacement piece for this tutorial was from Lowes.

Dresser back panel material is typically plywood or particle board. When replacing the back, you can purchase either material. Material that is 1/8th to 1/4th inches thick is perfect.

For this project, a 1/4th inch plywood sheet was purchased. As for getting the exact length and width, you can have the wood cut at big box hardware stores free of charge. Simply have the wood cut in the same dimensions as the original faulty back panel.

Step 3: Remove the faulty back panel

Once you have the replacement panel, observe how the old panel is positioned so you have something to reference when you secure the new panel into place.

Get ready to pull the panel out. Determine how the panel is secured into place. If it’s nailed into place, use the back of a hammer to pull out the nails. If it’s stapled into place then you can use needle nose pliers to pull the staples. The dresser used for this tutorial was stapled into place.

Once the nails or staples are pulled out, pull the back panel out of place.

Step 4: Secure the replacement panel

Take your replacement panel and position it in the frame of the dresser.

Next, you will want to hammer the replacement back panel into place. Finishing nails and similar types of nails are great for furniture. 1-inch to 1.25-inch nails are perfect.

Nail the back panel into place. For most bedroom dressers, four or five nails along the edge of the front and back of the dresser are all that is needed to secure it into place.

This is what the finished dresser looked like from behind:

Dresser with new back panel

Final words

If you feel like you need to change the back of the dresser, consider how rough the rest of the dresser is. If you also need to replace the bottom of the dresser, consider getting the supplies for these repairs as well while you are at the hardware store.

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