To our delight, both our older boys love reading, and they recently requested a little nightstand to put their books on, so I poked around on Craigslist and found this cool-looking Mid-Century low dresser that was cosmetically-challenged but I thought would look great painted in grey.
Well, you know how Craigslist is – some people are completely friendly and professional and others can be a bit quirky or flaky. The guy selling this dresser was definitely friendly, but he did push back the time of our meeting several times, including once when we were already on the road, and he seemed to be struggling a bit to adjust to his move and letting go of some of his furniture. Anyway, we finally brought the dresser home.
A couple of days later, the seller of the dresser texted me to ask if he could buy the dresser back. That’s a first! But knowing that he was very attached to it, I didn’t want to be mean, so I agreed to sell it back to him. I was disappointed, but by that point, I was committed to the look, so I found the Sveio dresser at Ikea that has almost the same shape. I’m not crazy about the look in white, but since I was planning on painting ours anyway, I figured it would work out. Fast forward a few more hours, and the dresser’s former owner had changed his mind again and said he was not coming to pick it up.
Okay?! Whatever?! I got to work transforming this great vintage find into something cool and functional for the boys.
BEFORE: Mid-Century dresser found on Craigslist ready for a makeover! I forgot to take a picture before I started patching the damaged parts of the wood.
Sveio chest with drawers from Ikea has Mid-Century lines.
While part of me hated to paint over this classic piece of furniture, it really had seen better days. There were a lot of chips in the veneer and a dark stain on the top – so I felt I was better off painting it than trying to restore the wood finish.
I started with wiping it down and using some wood filler to patch up the most damaged parts of the veneer. When the wood filler was dry, I sanded the whole piece and wiped it down again.
I was inspired by this piece I saw at The Wits Blog, with the brass leg caps, so I taped off the bottom of the legs to leave the original wood.
Grey dresser makeover by The Wits.
Go to The Wits blog
For the rest of the dresser, I used a coat of primer followed by a couple of coats of Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray (HC-167).
I finished by rubbing the dresser with some furniture polish to give it a smooth protective finish.
Mid-Century dresser painted in Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray with reverse “dipped” legs.
Close-up view of the legs of the painted Mid-Century nightstand, with a reverse “dipped” finish.
I’m happy with how the nightstand turned out, and it looks great in the boys’ room. They love it and have already filled the drawers with their books and treasures. Here’s how it looks in place. Their room still needs a lot more decorating, but this is a good start!
Mid-Century nightstand with a new painted look.
Boys’ room with a painted Mid-Century dresser.
Mid-Century nightstand painted in Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray with reverse “dipped” legs. The cool baseball player lamp is a gift from the boys’ uncle. He brought it home from Korea.
And here’s the final before-and-after picture!
So, this post turned out to be about making over a battered vintage dresser, but it almost became an Ikea Sveio hack, and that would have been okay, too. If you try this with Sveio, you could leave the legs white or paint them another color first, before taping them off. I hope this dresser’s former owner finds happiness, because our boys are very happy with their slick new nightstand.