I am so excited to share with you this furniture makeover I just finished. I’m excited not just because I love how it came out and how much storage it’s giving me in my home office, but because I’m done with this project! Have you ever had projects that you were just so happy to finish? Now don’t get me wrong, I loved working on this piece and I knew it had so much potential but it was definitely a bigger project than I had originally expected. literally.
I found this gem on the side of the road this past summer. It had mid century written all over it and I heart mid century furniture. And it was free – how could I pass it up? I know my husband just loves getting these phone calls from me to help transport a big, old piece of furniture back home. Especially when the piece weighs over 150lbs and is 6-1/2 feet long. But I knew it had potential. And after a little research, I found that this piece is a Lane Mid Century Modern Paul Eames Dresser. It was made in the early 1960’s and according to several websites, Lane made very high quality furniture during this period. In great condition, this piece has gone for $2,000 – $3,000 at auctions. what? And I found it on the side of the road. It definitely wasn’t in great condition but it looked pretty good.
Here are the steps I did to transform this classic dresser into a fun, unique storage piece:
First, I cleaned it throughly with some wood cleaner, polish, water and lots of old rags. This really brought out the color and look of the wood without having to strip it and re-stain it.
Since the wood was in really good shape with just a few scratches and worn edges, I used a furniture touch up marker to fill in these areas. These markers can be found at any home supply or arts & craft store. Or you can get in online here. These markers are a quick, permanent solution for touch-ups and repairs on virtually any piece of furniture. Just be sure to pick a marker color shade that best matches your wood finish.
I knew I wanted the piece to have a lighter and brighter look to it. I loved all that wood and repeating geometric shapes, but I wanted to tone it down a bit. So I removed the three center drawers and the hardware for them. I pictured this area to have more open look with decorative boxes or bins instead of the heavy drawers.
I also took off the back panel. It was a little banged up and I didn’t think it was necessary to keep it. I filled in the nail holes from the removed hardware and sanded those areas down.
Next, I added some brightness – white! When I think of mid century, I think of shiny white finishes. Combining the wood and white would be a nice contrast. But I didn’t want the whole piece to be white so after I removed all the drawers, I covered the left and right sides, leaving the center open drawer area and top exposed. Then I spray painted these areas a glossy white. I thought this was the best way to achieve that clean, super shiny finish. After several coats of spray paint, I finished the top with a polyurethane – I made the mistake of using an oil-based polyurethane and it left a yellow tint to my nice, white glossy paint. So I had to sand it down and start over. More spray paint and an acrylic polyurethane. Much better but very frustrating!
I added these gold corner protectors mostly because they look pretty but they do actually protect the corners so that’s a bonus. I love the addition of gold to this design without being too much.
The hardest part of this transformation was finding the right bins to replace the three center drawers I removed. They needed to be a certain size and I just wasn’t finding what I needed. Or, if I did find something close to the size, the look just wasn’t right. They were either too country or too rustic to fit with this mid century style. And I wanted color. ugh. I bought several baskets/bins/boxes for these spots but ended up returning all of them. Then I decided to make my own. I’ll have a separate post showing you exactly how I made these boxes but they were super easy and they only cost me $14 each. They were the perfect solution for these odd spaces and I got to design them exactly how I wanted them – even adding a little touch of gold to them too.
I love how this piece looks in my office and the storage is amazing. Plus it adds a retro look to my space – with a little unique flair.
I hope you enjoyed this makeover and even though I’m so happy this project is finished, it was one of the most interesting pieces I’ve worked on. I’m so glad I stopped and picked up this oh-so-very heavy dresser. Maybe you’ll be inspired to tackle a project that seems too big or too challenging too. Sometimes those yield the best results. Enjoy!