Reader Robert has just acquired two vintage blond dressers for the bedroom at his new house. He’s basically starting from scratch and wants to know — should he keep the blonde finish, or refinish these two bedroom dressers in a teak stain. Read on for Robert’s dilemma and our decorating ideas…
I recently found these ultra cool dressers — marked United Furniture Corporation – Lexington NC. The drawers are dovetailed. The exposed wood is veneer. They are very heavy and well built. My question is, do you feel that if I redo these dressers in a teakish/fruitwoodish tone, that it would ruin them? Should I leave them this blond color or proceed with teak?
I like the 60’s era for furniture the best. Perhaps late 50’s and a tad of 70’s. I just like it all blended together via my finds and redoing them to blend. My hobby is to go to thrift stores and find things and play with them. For example get a mirror in a 1970’s era yellow fake/plastic wicker frame and redo it to look neat in my home today. Or take a cheap plastic brass candle sconce and redo that to look like pewter with black in the crevices. I like to have new modern day timeless things mixed in with finds that I can blend together. I generally do not like the Haywood Wakefield Blonde and their furniture.
For these dressers, they are going into a blank slate bedroom so I either blond or teakish/fruitwoodish, I will just decorate around them.
I am just concerned about the integrity of the dressers.
Kate’s advice: Have a fling with these blondes!
Well, Robert, I think you know what Pam and I are going to say — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. From what I can see from the pictures, the finish on both dressers seems to be in great shape. I think it would be a shame to refinish them — plus I can imagine refinishing the tambour (rolling slot) doors would be tedious! Instead of refinishing the dressers, I think you should work with them — they are fantastic! Hey, have some fun with these blondes! You mentioned that you weren’t generally a fan of Heywood-Wakefield blond furniture, but these are very different in style and with a few creative decorating ideas, you can make a very 60s-70s/modern looking bedroom room with this blond finished furniture.
If you’re into a 1950s Heywood-Wakefield look, then light pastel wall colors work really well with blonde furniture — however, Robert is a fan of 60s and 70s style — which is why he needs to take a different approach to choosing a wall color for his blonde dressers. To make the light blonde dressers feel a bit more punchy, contrast is key. Placing a light blonde dresser on a mid to dark wall color will make them really stand out in the room. Highly saturated colors — like the two I chose for Robert — will make the room feel lively and modern.
For Robert’s consideration, I made two mood boards — one orange, one blue…
1. These white curtains from IKEA really pop off the dark wall. The silver pattern on them coordinates with the grey floor and the curved shapes found in the dresser pulls, hairpin table and headboard detail.
2. Robert’s ultra cool long and low vintage dresser!
3. I’d put something eye catching on the wall — possibly this metallic starburst mirror from Crate and Barrel — or since Robert likes to come up with creative projects to transform his thrifty finds, he could find a cool mirror and repaint/refinish the frame if necessary.
4. A bright orange wall color for the bedroom is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it works well with the grey rug and really makes the blond dressers pop off the wall. Personally, I’ve had two orange bedrooms — waking up in one is like having a glass of orange juice before you even get out of bed!
5. This vintage lamp from Etsy seller AustinMetroRetro (link now gone) is a lovely shape and would also work well with the orange and grey color scheme of the room. (Blue and orange are complementary colors.)
6. This mid century inspired bedding (now discontinued) from Crate and Barrel really caught my eye. Not only are the shapes colorful, but they also add a playful aspect to the space.
7. I went looking for non-Heywood-Wakefield style blond bed frames to fit in Robert’s bedroom and found this lovely vintage bed frame (now sold) from ebay seller buckscounty. Even though this retro bed frame has a blond finish, the style of it is very 60s & 70s — right up Robert’s alley.
8. With all of the thick wood furniture going on in the space, I thought it would be nice to inject a lighter-legged nightstand into the space, such as this hairpin leg stepped end table (now sold) from ebay seller pjzredskins13. The shape of the hairpin legs echos the pulls on the dresser drawers and the iron detail in the headboard nicely.
9. Robert’s tall vintage blond dresser!
10. I love this retro alarm clock made by Newgate (link gone) and found on Amazon.com. The shape is fun, and it fits right in to Robert’s room — which is sprinkled with little bits of black and white.
11. I’m not sure what type of flooring Robert will have in his new bedroom, but he could either do an area rug with this silvery grey FLOR carpet tile in Fog (discontinued) (if his floors are wood), or even wall to wall if needed to replace any flooring that doesn’t go well with his style.
Now I realize that not everyone loves orange as much as Pam and I do, which is why I made a slightly tweaked alternate plan for Robert.
4. Using a dark blue — similar to Pam’s 2012 Color of the Year, Bitossi Blue — for the wall will make Robert’s bedroom feel cozy and act as a striking backdrop to the blond furniture in the room.
5. This white and orange and mustard mid century lamp (now sold) from Etsy seller lavintagefurnishings will also pop off the dark wall and coordinates well with the blond furniture while also adding more color to the space.
6. If Robert is not a fan of patterned bed linens, this simple and silvery quilt (no longer online) from Crate and Barrel is simple and sophisticated while coordinating with Robert’s room.
So there you have it Robert, two ways to design a room around your retro blond dressers without refinishing them. Of course we’ll be interested to see what you decide and as always, would love to see pictures of the final results!
Readers — what’s your 2 cents?
Would you keep the dressers as-is — or refinish them?