July 19, 2012

Mid-Century Modern Dresser Makeover - Part 2

Yesterday I showed you how I refinished the mid-century modern dresser I got off of Craigslist by staining the body of the dresser and all of the drawer fronts dark walnut.

If you recall, I couldn't stain the top of the dresser because it's made of laminate and laminated wood won't accept stain:

So because of that, I'm going to show you how I painted the top of the dresser by following the steps at the bottom of Young House Love's refinishing a veneer dresser tutorial.

After I applied the first coat of paint (I used Olympic ONE's Paint + Primer In One's off the shelf paint "Base Coat 1", if you're wondering), I started to worry:

The internal monologue I was having after I realized how awful the first coat looked went a little something like this: "Nooooo! OMG! Did I just ruin this gorgeous vintage piece?! What was I thinking?! I should have left it as-is!" Pure panic.

After I calmed down and convinced myself that the first coat of anything always looks pretty bad, I sanded the top down with 220 grit sandpaper and applied a second thin and even coat 24 hours later.

Then I waited another 24 hours, sanded the piece again with 220 grit sandpaper, and applied a third coat. Then a fourth. And then a fifth! I don't have pictures of these coats because I'm a bad blogger, to be honest, I wasn't expecting it to take 5 coats of paint!!!

After I finished painting, I turned my attention back towards the drawers. I wanted to seal them to protect them and to add some sheen to them so I broke out some semi-gloss polyurethane and tested it on one of the small top drawers we weren't going to be using:

Awful, right? The bottom section doesn't even look like I applied any poly to it! Once again, I started to worry because I wasn't sure how I was going to seal everything and make it look glossy and beautiful.

Thankfully I had a can of Valspar's Hi-Gloss Lacquer (clear) on hand so I took one of the drawers outside, sprayed a test coat on it and let it dry. An hour or so later, I was grinning from ear to ear because the lacquer made the drawer look 100% better than the poly!

See how shiny and even the lacquer finish looks on the top drawer? Love it! After I realized the lacquer was going to work, I put one coat of lacquer on all 6 drawers before I had to run out and buy more. I bought 3 more cans and sprayed the drawers with a second coat of lacquer when I got home and then I gave the dresser three coats of lacquer the next day.

After everything was said and done, the dresser looked amazing! I left it in the garage for 72 hours so the lacquer had time to fully cure.

I'm SO happy with how it turned out and it looks even better in my living room! Check back tomorrow to see how it looks with the drawers in place as an entertainment center :)


  1. I LOVE It. I have been looking for a piece just like this style for a while now. I do not want to spend much because I will refinish it like you have. Fantastic piece and a great job you are doing reworking the furniture. I just added you to my twitter feed and I would love to add you to my website if you would like to exchange links. My site is http://homeinformationguru.com . We are a home and garden tips and tricks site with lots of content. check us out and if you would like please contact me at corlisslearningsystems@yahoo.com,
    Thanks and keep up the great work.

  2. Thanks Tom! Good luck on your search! Off to check out your website now :)

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  4. Hello! I just found your blog! I have a dresser very similar to the one you have. I refinished itas well. I did a really pretty blue dark deep teal and white front to it. I was just curious did you apply the lacquer to the painted top, or only to the stained drawers? I'm thinking of applying the lacquer, so I can achieve the high gloss look. I've seen people achieve the high gloss look using oil based paints. Unfortunately, oil based is no longer sold in NY state. Thanks for your time! and again it's a lovely piece!

  5. Hi Nadia! Deep teal sounds beautiful! I applied the lacquer to everything but be careful on which lacquer you buy because it can yellow the finish over time. If your piece isn't painted white, you shouldn't have a problem but I just wanted to give you a heads up :)

  6. Thanks so much for responding so quickly! I will probably use the spray lacquer on the top and sides where it is painted teal. What kind of lacquer do you normally use?

  7. Valspar's hi-gloss lacquer is my go-to choice. I've used Rustoleum's lacquer before (on a different piece) and it didn't compare to Valspar's at all. It went on looking yellow and although it dried clear, I have a feeling the piece will yellow more quickly over time. Valspar's went on looking clear and still looks clear - even on the white paint!

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  9. Did you paint the top with a roller brush?


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