Upcycle a Midcentury Modern Dresser into a Custom Vanity

While pedestal sinks used to be the bathroom norm, we often long for the look of the past. Learn how you can turn an older dresser into a new bathroom focal point.

Photo By: Christopher Shane

Photo By: Christopher Shane

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: Christopher Shane

Getting Started

Over time, the enclosed bath vanity became standard by offering under sink storage. With a little ingenuity and bargain hunting, you can have the best of both worlds. This upcycled master bathroom vanity features a mid-century modern base, dual vessel sinks, and a totally custom look! Plus storage is retained through the still operable drawers.

What You'll Need

Materials: Vintage MCM dresser (approximately 21” x 72”), (2) vessels sinks (approximately 19” x 21”), primer, semi gloss latex paint, and shellac or polyurethane

Tools: Jig saw, orbital sander with 120 and 220 grit discs, router (if required) and drill and ½” bit

Time: 4 hrs

Cost: $640

Step One

Start by finding a vintage dresser the right size for your bathroom. Some considerations to keep in mind are the depth of sink you plan to use and how the sink will layout to any of the existing doors or drawers. It took us a while but we finally scored this 5' wide dresser at an auction. It certainly fit the bill.

Step Two

I love working with vintage finds. The inside of this drawer still bares the original manufacturer's stamp.

Step Three

Next prep it by removing all drawers and sanding any areas to be refinished. We wanted to paint the base while retaining the rich look of the mahogany top. While in pretty good shape, the veneer started to chip at the perimeter.

Step Four

This required cutting the edge out and replacing it with a new piece of wood. Hopefully your original wood fares better than ours.

Step Five

We routed a 1” track around the perimeter for a new mahogany edge band.

Step Six

We glued and clamped the new piece in place.

Step Seven

Next, mark the center line of your sinks on the back of the dresser and layout the sink template. Align it so it fits to your donor dresser. In our case we wanted the sinks aligned to the wall and centered to the outer sets of drawers.

Step Eight

With the cutout marked on the top, drill out the corners so you can start the jig saw.

Step Nine

Cut out this area making sure to go slow. You can add any of this back once its gone.

Step Ten

Test fit the sink making sure to note where things like the plumbing trap below may interfere with shelves or drawers.

Step Eleven

Continue cutting out the other side.

Step Twelve

Once the sinks fit, start painting the base. We found that spraying the front open side was quicker than trying to brush in all the nooks and crannies. Continue with the drawer fronts. A semi-gloss enamel will wear the best in a bathroom.

Step Thirteen

Since our bathroom baseboard was already installed, it made the most sense to cut a piece out and bind it to the legs of the vanity instead of trying to install it later.

Enjoy Your Upcycled Vanity

This quick and easy DIY is an innovative way to create a custom vintage inspired vanity that doesn't give up any storage space. Through choosing the type of dresser, sink shape, and colors, you could match this project to any bathroom style.

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