Color Month

Before and After: A Vintage Bureau Gets a Just a Hint of Color with a Clever Geometric Makeover

published Jul 14, 2022
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Before: Brown vintage bureau

Several of Apartment Therapy’s furniture redos prove that you don’t have to paint over an entire piece of furniture to give it a refreshing new look. This IKEA dresser and this “dipped”-look piece, for example, both prove that letting a little original wood show underneath any new paint job is a great way to create a striking design.

Plus, as professional furniture flipper Chloe Kempster (@chloekempsterdesign) puts it, a partial paint job is “a great way of reusing something that has seen better days” without having to completely overhaul it. When Chloe was flipping this vintage veneer bureau, which had “very flaky peeling varnish,” she decided to use paint to cover up the problematic areas.

“I came up with a plan to cover any damage with a geometric pattern created with masking tape and a selection of bright colors,” Chloe says. She used chalk paint to cover damage on the lower lefthand side of the dresser, but she was pleasantly surprised by the way the bureau looked after sanding the piece, so she left some of it uncovered, too.

“Sanding this piece was a labor of love — this piece had been really well used and the varnish had completely worn in parts — but it was worth it,” Chloe says. “I didn’t expect such pretty veneer underneath.”

Chloe says she likes the modern-meets-vintage final look. “It makes me smile!” she says. “It feels good to have rescued it and especially with uplifting color combinations. It has a fresh new look but has also kept its vintage appeal.”

The only other change she made was to the hardware. “I didn’t like the handles; I felt they were a bit old-fashioned,” Chloe says. “I found replacement handles with a retro feel.” She also removed the circular hardware from the door pulls for a more minimalistic look.

Chloe’s advice to furniture flippers far and wide, especially those who love to use a paint brush and painter’s tape to create a new look? “Be clever with your geometric design so it covers up any damage.”

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.