Before and After: A Mid-Century-Approved Redo for This Damaged Dresser

published Oct 25, 2019
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Carrie Waller of Dream Green DIY knew when she saw this vintage dresser at a local thrift shop that it needed some extra love. Although the wood had a pretty warm tone from far away, once she got closer, it became clear that the chest wasn’t solid wood, just covered in a wood veneer—and the veneer wasn’t even in the best shape. “The dated wood on the outside edges had seen better days,” Carrie says, “and the drawers were covered in grime.” Plus, the whole thing wobbled when she touched it.

But none of that dissuaded Carrie, who saw the dresser’s simple shape and long, thin drawers as the perfect canvas for the design she’d been envisioning. With some haggling, she scored the piece for $60, then took it home to get down to business.

A twist of the legs—which were screwed in place—tightened them up enough to remove the wobble, and a Magic Eraser made quick work of de-griming the drawer fronts. “As the daughter of a woodworker, I’m a strong proponent of letting stained wood shine as opposed to defaulting to paint,” Carrie says, so she knew she’d want to let as much of that peek through as possible.

Inspired by her love for mid-century design, Carrie planned out a teardrop design for the fronts of the dresser. Since the sides were in rougher shape, she painted over those entirely using Behr Chalk Decorative Paint in Silver Celadon. For the front, she taped off her teardrop designs, then used both Silver Celadon and Picnic Table (another Behr Chalk Decorative Paint) to fill in. Alternating the colors used on each side adds a splash of interest. “I also knew the cooler tones of the paint I chose would accent the warmer wood of the dresser drawers well,” says Carrie. “I let the stained wood act as the background to make the paint pop.” To protect the piece, Carrie used two coats of protective wax all over the dresser.

The result is a far cry from the rickety, dinged-up piece Carrie found in the thrift shop—now, it’s a vintage-meets-modern standout.

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