More in Furniture

Wake Up an Old Dresser With Paint

A two-tone treatment adds dimension and interest to a vintage furniture piece

old dresser painted light blue with stripped dresser drawers, paint ideas
Photo by Wendell T. Webber; (Paint dab) Brian Henn/Time inc. Digital Studio
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When confronted by a castoff like this formerly derelict dresser, A.A. El-Kammass is seized by a desire to save and improve it. A furniture maker and shop co-owner in Hoboken, New Jersey, he says, "I want to protect the piece's history but make it younger and fresher." Here, he gave it a vigorous sanding inside and out to lift any mildew, shellac, or stains. Then came a linseed-oil rubdown for the oak drawers, top, and backplate trim. Two coats of latex semigloss—minus primer, to get an uneven, distressed look—reinvigorated the rest. "When a client brings me a piece, I will help come up with a color for the room," he says, noting the way the gray-tinted blue here plays off the mushroom brown of the walls. Kammass, as he is known to all, favors low-VOC paints for the bedroom and, above all, a "don't toss it, save it" approach to vintage furniture. "It's better than what they make now," he says. "And paint elevates the wood, so you appreciate it even more."

For a similar look, try: Pale Smoke; Benjamin Moore
When confronted by a castoff like this formerly derelict dresser, A.A. El-Kammass is seized by a desire to save and improve it. A furniture maker and shop co-owner in Hoboken, New Jersey, he says, "I want to protect the piece's history but make it younger and fresher." Here, he gave it a vigorous sanding inside and out to lift any mildew, shellac, or stains. Then came a linseed-oil rubdown for the oak drawers, top, and backplate trim. Two coats of latex semigloss—minus primer, to get an uneven, distressed look—reinvigorated the rest. "When a client brings me a piece, I will help come up with a color for the room," he says, noting the way the gray-tinted blue here plays off the mushroom brown of the walls. Kammass, as he is known to all, favors low-VOC paints for the bedroom and, above all, a "don't toss it, save it" approach to vintage furniture. "It's better than what they make now," he says. "And paint elevates the wood, so you appreciate it even more."

For a similar look, try: Pale Smoke; Benjamin Moore
 
 

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