How to Stain MidCentury Buffet

Update!  I have only used Debi’s Design Diary DIY Paint since publishing this post.  DIY Paint is 100% Natural Clay Based, which makes it different from every other chalk paint product.  It is perfectly smooth, the colors are beautiful, and it covers well, even their whites.   It paints like liquid Velvet.  You won’t believe how good a paintbrush and a can of paint can feel.  It is ahmazing stuff.  Check my sidebar if you want to know more.


I have been in the Dumpster again! It’s not a big surprise. I spend way too much time being fascinated with other people’s garbage. And I am not talking trash here. I am talking about finding REAL furniture and all kinds of good stuff to upcycle.

Last year I found this Drexel Heritage Mid Century Buffet/Credenza next to a Dumpster in one of my secret locations.  It was in nearly perfect condition, except the finish was peeling and needed rehab.

It was messed up! The finish was sort of orangeish, reminding me of the 1970s and someone who had been using too much QT.

I have sworn off other stain products. (But not self-tanners—they are so much better now!!) Furniture stains are smelly, chemically, and generally, a real pain to work with, and don’t get me started on Gel Stains. Let’s just say they are most definitely not my thing.

****UPDATE: I have switched to using Debi’s DIY Dark and Decrepit Liquid Patina; it acts like a stain; you can darken it or lighten it, and it is LESS EXPENSIVE.

Last weekend, I finally took the plunge. I removed all the hardware and sanded the entire piece to remove the existing finish. I did this inside! I removed the dust bag from my sander and attached the hose of my shop vac. It works like a charm—there is virtually no mess. In this video, you can see all the details of how to refinish a piece of furniture (I now only use DIY Paint Stain for this; the brand I used was similar, but the company no longer exists, and DIY paint has definitely improved on the product).

While the hardware was separated from its body, I gave it several coats of Gold Metallic Paint Spray Paint.  I did the same with the Metal at the bottom of the legs.

I got a little spray happy and sprayed my female bust (formally living as a lamp). She wanted to be shiny. DO NOT TELL MY FRIEND Deb, who did a beautiful faux marble paint job on it with another chalk-based paint. I can never leave well enough alone, and well, she had lived as a faux marble for the last two years, and she needed a makeover.

Back to the Buffet/Credenza.  I could not be happier with the finished project.  It was completely free, and I didn’t have to mess with any yucky chemicals.  I didn’t even have to move the thing out of my Dining Room!

I love how the Stain I used brought out the beautiful grain of the wood. 

**Update: I now use  DIY Paint.  100% natural, 9 ingredients + Love.   Consistency of color and thickness is 100% the same every time.  No more guessing what you will find on opening, and very little, if any, stirring is required.  Plus, it costs less both to the retailer and to the consumer. Why would you use anything else?

The next time you come across a piece of furniture that needs some love, remember that a makeover is easy—even a new stain job.

My “NEW” piece of furniture is now gussying up my Dining Room/Living Room.  Stay tuned, those MidCentury Modern Chairs I found FOR FREE are at the upholsterers and will be back soon to share.  

I love the updated look of a mix of modern furniture and traditional furniture.  If you want to see more of my eclectic style, check out my Furniture and Cabinetry Redouxs.

I hope you enjoyed my trashy transformation on my MidCentury Buffet madeover.

That’s it for my MidCentury Makeover. I hope I inspired you to check your neighbor’s trash and local dumpsters. You never know what trashy treasures you might find.




  1. Vicki at EntriWP

    Love it Karen! I think I may have to switch from traditional stain to CeCe Caldwell’s stain with Endurance – save my health & save the extra step of adding a topcoat. Thank you!

    • GTC

      Thank you for stopping by Vicki! Definitely try the CeCe Caldwell’s stain. I will never go back to any other chemical stain again.

  2. Mary Lyman

    BEAUTIFUL! I love that the staining is so easy! Now, do you have any tricks about stripping a piece with lots of paint? 🙂

    • GTC

      Hi Mary. I wish I had some good short cuts for stripping something with a lot of paint! I used to use a natural stripper that was made my Zinnser, but I can’t find it now, even in a thorough internet search. The other natural strippers I have tried do not work very well. The best suggestion I can give you is Jasco, but use in a very well ventilated area and wear chemical gloves and protective eyewear. It will take off about 1 or 2 coats at a time. I suggest using a product called After Wash to get the residue of the paint and stripper up too. Good luck!

  3. L. Grace Lauer

    Love love love you quick revamp! Also the quick tip about the shop vac and the sander.


  4. Jessica

    Wow, I did not know cece Caldwell paints have a stain line….I am starting to find out more about them and I like it! Your piece turned out beautiful, don’t you just love a good MCM piece? Good job!

  5. Victoria Kay

    I am so impressed by this little diy and I’m so looking forward to giving it a shot on my own little mid century modern rescue. Crossing my fingers it goes as well as yours.



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