G Plan Side

DIY | 1950s Uniflex Chest of Drawers

Living in a Victorian cottage is not without it’s practical problems. Apart from the beautiful but drafty sash windows which cause havoc in the winter, there are the fireplaces and alcoves to contend with which adorn every room. Modern furniture is often too large to fit comfortably, without looking a little odd, so I’ve been on the hunt for a medium size sideboard or chest of drawers to position in one of these arkward spaces.

I spotted this beautiful 1950s chest of drawers by sought after brand Uniflex in a charity furniture shop in Hampton Hill. It only cost an astonishing £10 (check for the brand on Ebay and it will set up back up to £1000!), but it was damaged with a number of large scratches on the top which had unfortunately ruined the veneer. Not one to run away from a challenge, I decided to head straight to B&Q to find some chemical stripper and suitably mid century coloured paint to bring it back to its former glory.

You will need

  • Paint/Varnish Remover & Shave Hook
  • Gloves, Goggles & Mask
  • Rollers & Paint Brushes
  • Masking Tape & Sand Paper
  • Undercoat Primer
  • Paint of Choice – I chose French Turqoise by Craig & Rose 1829
  • Clear Matt Wood Varnish


  • Strip down the veneer on all the surfaces you wish to repaint. Follow the instructions on the bottle carefully as it is strong and dangerous stuff!
  • Wipe furniture down to take away any excess chemicals.
  • Paint two layers of undercoat, leaving a couple of hours in between for it to dry properly. Use a roller for the larger areas and a small paint brush to get into all the nooks and crannies.
  • For this piece, the drawers were set into the furniture, so I needed to mask a line inside of about 1.5inches and paint the same as the outside.

  • Once the undercoat was dry I painted the chest French Turquoise and left the drawers their original colour.
  • I painted three coats of French Turquoise and used two fine bristle brushes – a big one and small one to get a good finish.
  • After the last coat, leave to dry over night before varnishing to make sure the paint has soaked in.
  • I used clear matt varnish to make the finish as authentic as possible. It is quite difficult to use as you can’t really see where you have already varnished, so do this early in the morning and take your time.

If you find  a piece of furniture that isn’t damaged, why not try painting the drawers instead. It will have the same new retro effect but requires a lot less time and work.