THIS MID-CENTURY DRESSER GETS A GORGEOUS UPDATED LOOK | VIDEO TUTORIAL
Hi, amazing creative friends! Today I’m sharing this gorgeous Painted Mid-Century Dresser Before and After! Mid-Century Modern (MCM) furniture is not what I usually gravitate to. But when I saw this adorable 3 drawer Kaufman dresser in my local Restore I couldn’t resist. Also, I like getting out of my comfort zone to try different things and I’m SO glad I did! I have a step-by-step tutorial including…
- Easy stain matching tips
- A SUPER FAST way to fix small imperfections on an existing stain
- An inexpensive tool to sand rounded corners
- My thoughts on color theory for MCM (I’m no expert so this is just my 2¢)
So let’s get started! I found this 3 drawer mid-century dresser at my local Restore selling for $80. The top and body weren’t in the best condition but the drawers were near perfect. Isn’t she cute?
With a little, TLC here’s her new look! What do you think?
Can you believe these are the original stained drawers? I’ll be sharing what I used to make them look this perfect!
Her bottom skirt has been stain matched to the original stained drawers as well.
THIS POST IS SPONSORED/CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS I USE. YOU CAN SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.
Mid-Century Modern Dresser – SALVAGED
White Lightning (Cleaner)
Dewalt Orbital Sander
Oscillating Tool (Similar)
Sandpaper | Tack Cloth
B-I-N Shellac Base Primer
Trade Secrets Furniture Repair
GF American Oak Stain
Minwax Chestnut Stain
Serenity Silk Paint
Satin Clear Coat
PAINTED MID-CENTURY DRESSER
Here’s how it all came together…
I cleaned this dresser with this White Lightning. I know I’ve mentioned this before but when cleaning my furniture, I always think – if it’s not clean enough to put my underwear in, it’s not clean enough. When I started selling my furniture, I was so focused on the exterior paint finish that I forgot to clean the bottom of the piece. I remember there were a few times we were loading a piece into the purchaser’s car and I saw cobwebs on the bottom. I have to admit, I was a little embarrassed and felt unprofessional.
PRO TIP – If you’re selling your furniture, clean EVERY nook and cranny on the inside, outside, back, and bottom!… until it’s clean enough to hold your underwear. 😉
Two glides for the drawers were in rough shape so I replaced them with new glides. Well, not really ‘new’. These were glides I’ve repurposed from a few curb-shopped pieces. I had to make a few adjustments with my oscillating tool (which is awesome for sanding, cutting, etc!) for them to fit like the original by cutting a piece from the front and back to fit perfectly and be the right height.
The drawer fronts were in really good shape except for tiny imperfections in the stain. I used this Trade Secret Touch-Up Marker to hide the imperfections and it worked AMAZING! I have a few of these Trade Secret markers in my inventory. They come in different colors (light, medium, dark) to match different wood stains… but it’s been so long since I’ve used them, I forgot how great they work. I wouldn’t suggest this for large imperfections because it might be noticeable but for small imperfections, it’s PERFECT… and SO EASY. I literally colored in the stain imperfections with this marker!
SANDING SKIRT & LEGS
I’ve found a few furniture Youtube channels that I’m addicted to. Made by Raphael and Modern Makeovers. These guys are transforming pieces from top to bottom and it’s SALVAGING at the next level. I want to be just like them… only me…lol. So moving forward I would really like to get more comfortable using my tools, disassembling and reassembling furniture makeovers so that eventually I can mix and match pieces creating an entirely new piece! So — inch by inch I told myself. I’ll start by disassembling pieces so I get a better feel of how they are put together, and eventually, I can start recreating pieces.
That’s a long explanation for why I removed the bottom skirt and legs. I wanted the skirt and legs to match the existing wood on the drawers and thought it would be so much easier if I removed them. I used my trusty Dewalt Sander (here’s a post on how to transform ANY sander into a NO DUST Sander) to remove the existing finish. I started with 80 grit, moved on to 120 grit and finished with 220. I bought this primitive-looking sanding tool at a flea market for $2… and WOW, it’s amazing for sanding rounded edges. I’m SO impressed! It has some give so it sands rounded areas beautifully. I wish I had bought a few of these but it would be pretty easy to make. A wood handle with a strip of sandpaper stapled to it and voila!
Once I had the bottom finish sanded off, I pulled out a few colors of stain to match the bottom skirt and legs to the existing stain on the drawers. I’m not that experienced with matching stains so it’s trial and error for me. Luckily, I have a variety of stains on hand to play with. It would be a lot more frustrating if I had to go buy a few colors from Home Depot not knowing if they would work or not.
But I will say for the $10 for a small can, even if you bought 3 for $30 for a PERFECT match it’s still well worth it and still way less expensive than investing in a new quality piece of furniture. I ended up using this American Oak by General Finishes and Minwax Chestnut for a perfect match. It’s pretty darn close don’t you think? To match the stain, I like to look at the prominent base color, which in this case was a reddish base, and then take it from there. I work on the BACK of the leg (inconspicuous area) to do my test matching. If I botch it up, it’s easy to sand down the leg and give it another try. I also waited until the stain was perfectly dry before putting it up to the drawers I was matching it to so I’d get the “true” color.
PRIMING AND PAINTING
I primed this piece with two coats of BIN Shellac Based Primer by rolling it on with a foam roller to ensure NO bleed-through would show through the paint finish. Then I spray two coats of this Serenity Silk Paint which is a subtle and relaxing blue-green.
Then I spray two coats of this Serenity Silk Paint which is a subtle and calming blue-green. My color theory on Mid-Century-Modern furniture is to keep it simple or as close to the time period 1945-65ish as possible. Highly pigmented saturated colors go really nicely when painting MCM furniture. Terracotta oranges, mustard yellows, avocado greens, blues, and browns… think 70’s! If you’re pairing it with some of the original wood, anything goes imo. There are plenty of Mid-Century-Modern color Pallets on Pinterest you can check out for inspo.
I really like the cooler contrast against the warm stain on the drawers.
As the finishing touch, I lined the drawers with a heavy-duty vinyl I had on hand. I picked the more subtle design on the right to tie in perfectly with the Serenity Silk Paint.
I measured the inside of each drawer and then using a straight-edge ruler and rotary cutter, I cut the vinyl to size. I don’t like adhering drawer liners to my pieces just in case whoever buys them doesn’t like the design. I’d prefer to cut them exactly so they lay perfectly in the drawers and can easily be removed to clean etc.
It complements the piece beautifully!
Here’s the step-by-step on Youtube. If you have any problems viewing below, feel free to watch it on my Youtube Channel here… and don’t forget to subscribe! 🙂
I love the way it all came together. I think this painted MCM dresser would be adorable in a modern nursery!
And the peek-a-boo Serenity through those wood drawers… LOVE IT!
Here’s another look at the before and after. I hope it’s inspired you and given you some new ideas for your upcoming projects.
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS MID-CENTURY MODERN FURNITURE MAKEOVER. FEEL FREE TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE… I ALWAYS LOVE HEARING FROM YOU. IT MAKES MY DAY! 🙂
Happy furniture painting friends!
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