Navy Blue Dresser

navy blue dresser front view

This classic MCM Lane chest of drawers took a long and winding road to become the navy blue dresser it is today.  I originally rescued it from my uncle’s barn.  A little bit dirty, but it was in great shape.  But, here is where things quickly started to go south.

secretary desk before

Color Inspiration

I wasn’t feeling any particular color inspiration (although navy had crossed my mind), so I asked my teenage daughter for suggestions.  She chose pink ombre, and since ombre was pretty popular at the time, I went with it.  I didn’t have any pink paint on hand, but thought I could mix some up.  Color mixing is not my strong suit.  I would say I achieved a Pepto Bismol pink.

Secretary Desk after

Needless to say, it didn’t sell.  I didn’t even try very hard to sell it.  Sometimes you just know you’ve  missed the mark, and you don’t have the heart to market a piece that isn’t a good representation of you.  So from there, it sat in my garage for over a year.  When I finally pulled it into my workshop for another paint job, it only took me a couple days to give it a whole new look.

Second Makeover

First, I sanded it a little just to ensure my surface was nice and smooth.  Then I decided to paint a coat of clear BOSS (which is a primer).  I don’t think it really needed it, but it adds a little grip and a little insurance that everything will adhere well.

MCM navy blue dresser after

Next came two coats of In the Navy, a beautiful deep rich navy blue color.  I could have stopped there, but it was a little plain.  The drawers have a built-in curved handle, so the lack of hardware makes it even plainer.  To remedy this, I took a Stick and Style stencil, and painted Gold Digger metallic gold across the drawer fronts.  I only had to roll out one section of the self-adhesive stencil, and re-use it on every drawer.  I find this type of stencil the easiest to use because the paint doesn’t bleed underneath it; it stays very crisp.

stencil glaze vs no glaze

I love how bright and shiny the gold metallic is, but for this dresser I wanted to tone it down a bit so it looked more aged and less brand new.  I painted on Van Dyke brown glaze with a chip brush, and immediately wiped it back with a paper towel.  In the picture above, the bottom drawer is glazed, and the top drawer is not so you can see the difference it makes.  It also took off a little gold paint in areas, creating more variation of color. I only glazed over the stencil design, not the drawer handles or top or sides of the dresser.

Finally, I sealed the whole piece with Satin Clear Coat.  I think the finished piece has kind of a Moroccan feel.  It’s so much more sophisticated than the pink! 


When I went to stage and photograph this piece, I didn’t like the navy blue dresser up against my new French linen brick staging wall.  It just seemed to clash and it was too busy.  So I turned my brick panel around, and used the streaky brown back of it.  Kinda weird, but I actually think this set off the dresser perfectly.

navy blue dresser right angle

Resource List:

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If you like this dresser makeover, you might like this one and this MCM one as well.  Leave me a Comment and let me know what you think.

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2 thoughts on “Navy Blue Dresser”

  1. I just discovered this little history and enjoyed sharing it with my daughter, who bought this dresser. She never would have bought it pink LOL! She is so excited to have it in her new “grownup” room and we feel honored to have been part of an artistic process.


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