I get on Craigslist nearly every other day. (Click here to check out my Top 10 Thrifty Decorating Tips) Sometimes I’m looking for something in particular, and sometimes I’m just looking to see if anything catches my fancy at a steal. For the past several months I’ve been looking for a dresser set and some nightstands to replace the hodge-podge rickety old make-do pieces we’ve lived with for years. Our style can be defined as “modern-rustic” so I was looking for things that fit into that style as well as met the functions we would need. And, of course, all for a good price.
A week ago I hit the jackpot for all the items on my list all in one day. I ended up buying 2 solid would chests to serve as nightstands for only $25 each and a vintage mid-century modern dresser set that was also solid wood and had 3 pieces (a nightstand, a long dresser, and a chest) for $250. They were on the higher end of what I’d normally pay for my bargains, but considering they were in great shape and were perfect for our needs, I felt it was definitely worth it. Another $25 or so in paint and I had a completely new-to-me bedroom set. We are in love with these projects! Take a look below at the Refinished Vintage Modern Dresser for before-and-afters as well as the nightstand redo.
To refinish the nightstands I removed all of the hardware and sanded them moderately with an orbital sander to give the wood some tooth. This is a really important step in refinishing any piece of furniture because a roughed up surface gives the primer something to grab on to. Even though many paints and primers now claim that sanding is not necessary, I would still advise a light sanding anyway. Particularly on high-use surfaces.
Next I taped off all the areas of the stands that I didn’t want paint to get on such as the inside of the cabinets and the steel legs. I used wrapping paper and painters tape to cover those areas as well as tape off the hinges.
I used Krylon Primer in grey to prime the nightstands with one coat. Then I used about 3 coats of Rustoleum Enamel Gloss spray paint in Stone Grey as the finishing top coats. The trick to getting a smooth finish with this glossy paint is to apply it pretty thickly and evenly. I tried my best to put the 3rd coat on thick but also avoid drips and the overall finish turned out pretty nice and smooth. I like using the enamel paint on high-use items rather than regular spray paint because it dries really nicely and is incredibly durable. I painted my bathroom cabinets with the same exact spray paint over 4 years ago and they’ve really held up nicely. See that tutorial here.
For the beautiful vintage mid-century modern dresser and chest I followed the same plan as the nightstands, sanding first with the orbital sander on the frame of the dresser only and then very lightly sanding with fine grit sand paper in hand on the drawer fronts. Then I removed all the drawers and used Krylon spray primer in white to give the dresser and chest frames a coat of primer. I then used Rustoleum Enamel Gloss spray paint in white to paint 3 coats over the primed frames. Again, thick and even applications were the key to this glossy paint finish. Also, I did sand very very lightly with fine grit sandpaper in between coats to remove any rough over-spray spots on the dresser frames.
To freshen up the drawer fronts I simply wiped them down well with a wet paper towel (I only use Blue paper towels for these projects because they are thick and leave very little lint), and then I used a paint brush to apply Minwax Polyshades stain in Bombay Mahogany to the drawer fronts. Using a blue paper towel folded in fourths I wiped off the excess stain evenly and following the wood grain. The stain I used had a polyurethane coat built in so there was no need to apply a clear coat which is great because I love anything that cuts down on steps.
The combination of the glossy white and the rich wood is so beautiful and really helps give these pieces that modern-rustic vibe we are going for.
In the next couple of months I’m hoping to upgrade our bed and make some changes to our flooring and master bathroom. I will definitely be posting more before and afters when that happens. In the meantime, have fun, refinish, and don’t forget to be creative!