How to Fake MCM

If you think that means man crush Monday, you are totes reading the wrong blog.

I bought another dresser. (Well, two. I bought two more dressers.)

I saw it on clearance a while back at Target. It was only 30% off and was nothing great. I mean, it would get the job done, but it was neither a steal nor a beautiful piece of furniture. I wasn’t impressed enough with the price or the style to buy it.


In the mean time, I kept looking for a dresser for the boys. I bought a stinky one that I  decided couldn’t be used for clothes. (Update: It still smells fine and works well in the entryway!)

Finally I priced lumber and drawer glides. We’ve built kitchen cabinets before (including drawers), so I figure a dresser is no big deal. It’s like cabinets but free standing.

Thing is, I feel alright dropping a bit more money into kitchen cabinets than a dresser for my boys’ room. The lumber wasn’t too bad, but when you add another $40-$50 for drawer glides it added up to about what a new low-end dresser would cost. So I sketched out a plan but committed to looking a bit longer before I spent the money and time to build one.

Then I noticed that Target had further marked these down to 50% off. They still weren’t moving at that price; the store near my house hadn’t sold a single one since I first noticed them, and the store across town had seven the first time I looked there and seven two weeks later when I noticed they dropped to 50% off. (Yes, I counted. Duh.)


I decided I would wait and see if they had any left at the 70% off point. I came back and checked on the day that is supposed to be the furniture mark-down day. This is up for debate. Target reps and Snopes say that there is no official mark down schedule. The blogosphere says differently. I have also found it to be mostly true in my own searching/watching for deals at Target. So, there may not be an official Target policy, but the stores in my area seem to be following it.

They didn’t drop it again after one week and only one dresser from both stores combined had sold. I was feeling good about it.

The one across town is near our church, so I ran in there Wednesday night afterwards to see how they were doing. Still 50% off and they still had six.

I ran in the other store the next day while making a Lowe’s run (they’re next door) and they had dropped it to 70% off, right on schedule. And there were only two left. I bought both of them. Forty-six dollars for a brand new dresser? Yes, please.


One will be used in the guest room, mostly for blankets/fabric/etc. It’s not really needed for clothing, but we could use the extra storage in there.

Okay, but I didn’t love it, remember? So I decided to hack it. At least that’s what it would be called if it were from IKEA. By the way, it looks just like a Malm from IKEA and a Laguna from Walmart.

re dresser

Who doesn’t love a good IKEA hack? I love them. I also love IKEA upgrades. To hack an IKEA item, usually to be used in some way other than it is intended, is an IKEA hack. Hence the name.


Slapping a coat of paint on a Rast is not hacking. It’s just a modification. An upgrade. Not an IKEA hack! So yeah, if you guys could spread the word far and wide (don’t forget to tell Pinterest), that would be awesome.

Pet peeve. Can you tell? Words have meanings, y’all!

Anyway, I knew I wanted to paint the dresser. We’ve got plenty of this maple/birch tone in the classroom and more in the guest room. I didn’t want any in the boys’ room.

I decided to use both gray and green, to tie together the nightstands and beds. And just because two-tone dressers are fun.

Paint alone would have been fun, but I also decided to change the style a bit. Just because I love mid-century modern and that is what I had envisioned for this room.

Obviously you couldn’t fake MCM on a baroque style dresser or anything with very traditional details. This basic, timeless style is perfect for it though.

All I did was not use this base piece.

dresser base

do not use base

dressers base piece

And then I had the hubs cut off the ends of the side panels on that death trap of a table saw he’s still using.

tape cut line

When you’re cutting particle board, it helps it to not splinter if you’ll put painters’ tape where you intend to cut.

Painting laminate furniture is totally doable, but you’ll need a good primer. I prefer Zinsser, and oil-based seems to be stronger and holds the paint better. This is still from my quart I had tinted gray.

gray primer

I lightly sanded every piece just to take off the sheen. Then I wiped off the sanding dust and primed. I used two coats of primer, lightly sanding in between just to knock down any primer bumps.

sand primer

See how blue the primer looks next to this paint? The primer is definitely gray, but it is a cool gray which is very apparent next to this warm gray color. It’s called Cathedral Stone by Valspar and I love it! I would recommend it to anyone who is afraid that gray paint on a wall would feel too cold.


paint colors_1

I did my first coat of paint with it all unassembled, and another after it was all together.

dresser pieces

primed pieces

tropical oasis

We just followed the manufacturer’s directions. They were horrible. We’ve assembled a great deal of furniture over the years and this was pretty bad. Much worse than any IKEA instructions (which I usually find pretty simple). The pictures weren’t great at actually showing what each step was supposed to look like (something IKEA has mastered since they don’t use words), and the words left much to be desired.

my helper

hardware pack

Luckily, we could pretty much tell what they were meaning to show us and we’re both smart-ish people and we have lots of experience with dowels and cam bolts. (We=the hubs and I, though the four-year old is definitely gaining experience.) I wouldn’t recommend this product to a first-time furniture assembler. I think building from scratch might be easier. I see why they clearanced them out. Probably had a ton of angry returns.

Once it was all together I added little tapered legs that I picked up from Lowe’s. But not before we took it all apart and put the bottom piece on the right way and reassembled it all again. Dumb pictures. *Sigh.*

See how it was just flat across the bottom since we didn’t use that front piece? And the sides are flush with the bottom rather than extending past it to create legs?

no base

These legs were ~ $2 and the brackets were $1. They all just screw right on. Very simple.

tapered legs

attach legs

Then I wrapped the little metal part in tape and painted the legs.

paint legs

Once they were dry, we carried the whole thing upstairs and put in all the drawers. I gave it another coat of paint and let that cure for a few days before I would let the boys use it. Paint hardens as it cures. It is especially important with laminate that you don’t scratch it in those first few days or else the paint is likely to come right off. (We painted it last week during Spring Break, but just started using it a couple of days ago.)

faux mcm

two tone dresser

My son, the budding designer, wants to add stainless steel pulls to match the numbers on their beds, the legs on this dresser, the number 3 that I faux painted for them, and all the lamps in the room. We’ll see.



faux metal 3

lamp shade arstid lamp