Color Month

Before and After: A Mid-Century Console Gets a Colorful Redo Using an Unexpected Material

published Jul 1, 2022
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About this before & after
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Mid-century Modern
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It’s Color Month at Apartment Therapy, which means you’re bound to see tons of incredible paint and wallpaper on the site all month long. But this redo by furniture flipper and self-proclaimed “Colour Queen” Chloe Kempster (@chloekempsterdesign) deserves a highlight because it adds color in an unconventional way: with plexiglass.

Clear acrylic furniture is big right now, and brands like CB2 and Perplexe are even starting to sell colorful acrylic consoles and side tables. And while acrylic furniture may seem out of reach for the average DIYer, you shouldn’t rule out adding your own pieces of plexiglass to an existing piece of furniture — if you’re willing to put in the time and measurements, that is.

“Measure twice, cut once,” Chloe says. “Acrylic is very expensive to use.” It can also be tricky to work with, she says, but “equally so effective!”

For this wood shelf, Chloe started with a basic piece that had a classic feel of a sleek shape, warm wood tones, and solid construction. But she wanted to replace the plain glass shelves and front with something that had a little more personality. To do that, she reached for colorful acrylic. Chloe’s process was mostly mathematical, since she had to precisely measure each piece of acrylic and figure out how much weight each section could withstand. “I sourced and had the acrylic panels cut locally and assembled everything myself,” Chloe says. “It was very hard to do.”

“My influence for this piece was to create something that looked like a piece of art; it’s almost a 3D painting/installation to me,” Chloe says, adding that she was inspired by the squares and intersecting lines of Dutch abstract artist Piet Mondrian’s work.

Chloe says one of the hardest steps in creating the console was painting the inside and the legs once all of the measurements for the glass were made, since that required carefully removing the glass to keep it intact. After her plexiglass shelving was in place, Chloe still thought the cabinet could still use a bit more color, so she added hot pink vinyl to the cabinet’s glass front door. Chloe also added LED lighting to illuminate the colors, which she says makes the cabinet look like stained glass.

“I love the contrast of using a vintage piece and adding a really modern design,” Chloe says. The bonus of Chloe’s artistic creation? “It’s also functional,” she says.

Chloe’s proud of the final look she created. “Ultimately anything goes when you are refinishing furniture, but for me it’s an equal balance of design and art,” Chloe says. “Your artwork has to enhance a piece which already has beauty in its own right, that’s the balance I always try to get right.”

Kudos to Chloe for bringing new, colorful beauty to this mid-century modern piece.

This piece is part of Color Month, where we’re showing you the best ways to inject more color into your home and life. From paint color combos to vibrant house tours, head over here to see it all.