Mid-Century Modern Dresser Project

2014-07-08 18.52.33

Over a month ago we found this gorgeous mid-century (aka 1950’s/vintage/or just plain old) dresser at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I fell in love with it instantly. After doing some serious googling, I decided that the mid-century modern style is absolutely fabulous, and finding this dresser at the ReStore when I never find anything good there was a sign that I should look towards the past more often.

Mid-Century Modern Dresser

It took a minute to make Graham see my vision. But basically, ever since seeing this on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to find an old dresser and turn it into an entertainment center. This one was absolutely perfect. It was well made (Graham was impressed with the dovetailed joints) and very sturdy. It was also ridiculously heavy… Anyways. We decided to buy it, but there were about 4 other people circling, waiting for me to step away. Graham went to go pay, I wasn’t leaving this alone for a second, so I hopped up on it and made myself comfortable until he got back with the bright green sold slip. We went home, got his truck, came back and loaded it up.

We didn’t plan on doing a lot to it. Sanding, new stain, new hardware & replacing two of the drawers with a shelf. We loved the legs on it. I think the vintage look to the legs gives it a lot of charm. Picking new hardware was easy. We wanted to replaced the ugly brass with something sleek, stainless & modern. Putting the new hardware on was challenging because of the placement of the old stuff. I’m not sure if you can really tell in the picture, but the hardware placement is staggered… definitely not the look we wanted, and the new hardware wouldn’t cover it. So Graham found some similar wood and made plugs to put where the holes were.
This worked really well. Once he sanded them down, they were barely noticeable, and even now I couldn’t find them until I actually looked for them.

This bad boy took a LOT of sanding. A LOT.

But finally it was smooth & finished, and we were ready to choose a stain. We ended up combining Minwax Red Mahogany & Dark Walnut to get the color that was closest to what we wanted. Being completely honest, I wanted to go darker, but Graham wanted the pretty grain of the wood to show through. I’m glad he convinced me, because I love the richness & warmth of the color we went with.

He stained it, put a few coats of polyurethane on it, and then went to Virginia for a few days, so I was forced to wait.
And re-evaluate our hardware selection. The one we picked out initially was small. And I thought something a little more substantial would look better.
Anyways, Graham got home late Tuesday night, and when I got home from work yesterday I came home to this. It’s absolutely beautiful! We spent the night curled up on the couch continuing Graham’s X-Files education. During an episode I don’t really care for, I swear I spent more time admiring our newest piece of furniture than I did watching Mulder become entranced by a vampire.
The dresser has always been a great piece. But I think as an entertainment center, it’s absolutely perfect in our home. I love the color. I love the warmth and richness of it in a room full of dark & cool colors. I love the height (it’s significantly higher than our old one). I love the drawers that keep all of our stuff hidden. I just absolutely love it.

14 thoughts on “Mid-Century Modern Dresser Project

  1. Heather says:

    Thanks Ann! All we need is an ottoman to replace the coffee table, and we're going to make a sideboard to go behind the couch, but we're pretty much done with this room. Finally =)

  2. Heather says:

    Thank you. We loved it as a dresser, but had no need for a dresser. I would have never left it as it was though, since I thought the color & hardware were awful.

  3. bridget b. @623designs says:

    Love it! Especially with the darker stain.

    Do you have any more details as to how you replaced the drawers with a shelf? I'm trying to do something similar to a dresser in our bedroom, but have no idea where to start.


  4. Allisen says:

    LOVE LOVE the color. Do you know what your proportions were for dark walnut to red mahogany? I was thinking of doing the same thing to a mid century dresser I just bought. Thanks!

  5. Heather says:

    Thank you!

    Once we removed the two drawers, we just removed the piece of wood in the center that was used as a drawer stop. My husband cut wood to fit the inside and used screws (underneath) and wood glue to secure it. The piece that we removed was actually structural, so while we had intended for it to be open, that had to be changed. He cut that wood, secured it to the shelf with more wood glue & underneath screws. Once this was finished, we put that back, back on and used more screws to hold the whole thing in place.

    He did the bulk of the actual woodworking, so if this makes no sense, I'll have him do a little write up of how we did it. Hope this helps some though!

  6. Heather says:

    Thank you!

    We actually used a 50-50 mix of the two stains. It wasn't as dark as I hoped, but apparently the type of wood we used doesn't get as dark as other types.

    Good luck!

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