MCM - Mid Century Modern Dresser Recieves a Superior Makeover!

by Terra
13 Materials
4 Days
Clients purchased this dresser from a used furniture store and asked us to repair the damage and give it a makeover to suit their home.

I was so excited for this project as I've been dying to do a MCM piece in our shop... come see the transformation!

Here's the "before" photo of the dresser dropped off at our shop.

It has a lot of wear marks, scratches and areas where the veneer has chipped off … aka needs some love!
After having a consultation with the couple they knew exactly what they wanted to a "T"

#1 Repair the damage
#2 Paint the body and drawer pulls in white
#3 Refresh the drawer faces and feet
#4 Seal the entire piece in semi gloss varnish

Now time to get started! Here's the key products we'll use to update this piece.

Products needed:

300 Grit Sanding Pad
Painters Tape
Remover (chemical stripper)
Base Coat (primer)
600 Grit Sanding Pads
Sealer (Saman Semi Gloss Varnish)
Hvlp Sprayer (Earlex Sprayport)

Note: I left out wood filler, roll of brown paper and sander *sorry*
First step I always do is clean with Saman TSP ECO with a 300 grit sanding pad.

Once dry its time to chemically remove the finish off the drawers/feet and sand the wood.
Once the project is prepped and repaired it's time to tape off the drawers... this is like wrapping a present. I masked off the drawer and then masked off the drawer faces.
Now its time to prime and paint the drawer pulls and dresser.
Here's the primer we painted using an HVLP Sprayer.

NOTE: When painting a dresser always make sure to tape off you drawer slides... if not they may bind or prevent the drawer from sliding properly.
Now that the primer is on now it's time to let it dry.. primer works best when it has time to set up and cure. Make sure to let dry over night or a couple days is even better!
Time to paint! Here's inside our spray booth… we always do 2 coats of paint when refinishing clients pieces for full coverage using Superior Paint Co. Little White Chalk Furniture Paint.

We use a 600 grit sanding pad and hand sand between every coat for a buttery smooth finish.
Once the drawer pulls are painted we removed the masking off the front of the drawer to seal the drawer using Saman Semi Gloss Varnish.

*The bare minimum coats of Varnish in our shop is 3 - but we recommend applying 5-7 for a more durable finish*

P.S. We always spray with our spray booth door closed this was a staged photo icon
Tada! Here she is all finished!
We let the dresser cure in our shop for 7-10 days until it was ready to head back home.
We also always tell our customers to avoid putting anything on top for a full 30 days to ensure the finish is nice and hard.
Resources for this project:
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 5 questions
  • Nadine Hartman Bourne Nadine Hartman Bourne on Aug 16, 2018

    I have a dresser with that shape of drawers they are all uniform in size. the base is different though I wounder if I could get stick legs like that to put under. it sure would make vacuuming under easier.

  • Annie Annie on Aug 16, 2018

    Hi what is MCM and what is the difference between varnish and polyurethane and will the varnish yellow thanks

  • How would you repair large gash in the drawer front? And broken drawers?

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2 of 35 comments
  • Cindy Maslowski Heraty Cindy Maslowski Heraty on Sep 20, 2018

    This would be great but how many people have a spray room an the equipment that this post shows. Would love to see in a more DIY without all that stuff. This looks like a professional shop!!!

  • Ethel Kirkpatrick Ethel Kirkpatrick on Oct 06, 2018

    Gorgeous! Love how you left the drawers in their natural colour. Outstanding...