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Painting Mid-Century Modern Furniture: Gray And Metallic Copper Color Combination

I sometimes get in trouble for painting Mid-Century Modern Furniture but sometimes the furniture needs an update.

I have to say the gray and metallic copper color combination I used on this piece is not one I would have put together…..ever. I happened upon it by accident. It all started with Copper Spray Paint. 


sewing cabinet before makeover

The sewing cabinet came from the Nashville Flea Market. It has been sitting in the workshop since March of 2015. About time for the makeover.

missing veneer

The top was rough and the sides also had areas where a bit of the veneer was missing. Not a lot so I didn’t worry about it. I just painted over it. And no distressing. Can you believe that?

cabinet before makeover

The sewing machine had already been removed from the cabinet but a lot of the metal support was still there.

removing parts from sewing cabinet

I got a screwdriver and removed all of the excess stuff.

attaching top to the base

The next order of business was to attach the lift up top to the base….permanently. We don’t need it to open now.

sanding rough spots

I sanded the rough areas on the cabinet top.

painters tape

The JTS and I are talking about adding a shelf to the inside of the cabinet. There are drawers that can be used for a variety of things and the shelf would be a nice addition. Maybe a liquor cabinet? Anyway, I want to leave the inside as is, no paint. I taped all the inside edges with FrogTape so no stray paint gets inside.

Rustoleum Bight Coat Metallic Copper Spray paint

I decided to start with the legs of the cabinet. It made sense because spray painting after I painted the cabinet would be harder to accomplish without getting the paint everywhere. The spray paint is Rust-Oleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish Copper Color. Isn’t that pretty?

Gliddern Gripper Primer tinted gray

Next, I applied a coat of Glidden Gripper tinted gray to the cabinet. The little bit of copper spray paint over-spray was covered up with the primer. And I didn’t get primer spots on the legs. Yea!

This is the part where I had an aha moment. I looked at the gray primer and the metallic copper color and loved the combination. I would never have put those colors together in a million years. But I liked it! I even asked the JTS about the colors and he agreed with me. Now to find a color in my paint supply that is a similar color to the tinted primer.

ceramcoat paint color oyster shell

I found a color that was almost a match. The little jar of Ceramcoat in Oyster Shell wasn’t even full. But there was enough for one coat of paint and that’s all it took.

Gray And Copper Color Combination Is A Winner

I’m doing the happy dance because I love the color combination on the mid-century modern sewing cabinet. They seem right.

painting hardware with Rustoleum Bright Coat Copper Color Metallic Spray Paint

I spray painted the original hardware. Love the unusual design.

Metallic Copper Spray Paint is perfect for furniture pulls and hardware

I didn’t see any need for additional details on the cabinet. Clean and sleek and awesome.

Gray And Metallic Copper Color Combination

Let me know what you think of the gray and metallic copper color combination. Is it a winner…..or a “not my favorite”….or a “I really hate the colors together”?

See the mirror I updated with the copper paint. It looks so much better……Mirror Makeover With Metallic Copper Paint. And also my plastic mailbox is now metallic copper see it here.

Metallic Copper and Gray painted furniture makeover with before and after photos and complete tutorial

Mid Century Modern Cabinet – Gray & Metallic Copper Color Combination

is the Furniture Fixer Upper Tour and my talented friends have some beautiful makeovers today. Visit them by clicking the pink text links below the “before” photo collage.

Furniture Fixer Uppers Before Makeover September 2017

1. Girl In The Garage
2. Confessions Of A Serial Diyer
3. Petticoat Junktion
4. Prodigal Pieces
5. Just The Woods
6. The Interior Frugalista

Paint a mid-century modern sewing cabinet

That’s it for me. You guys have a great day!

Favorite DIY Tools and Paints:
Beyond Paint for Furniture 
Ryobi Drill (cordless)
Mouse Sander (cordless)
FrogTape Painters Tape
Howard’s Restore-a-Finish
Rustoleum Heirloom White Spray Paint
Rustoleum Metallic Copper Spray Paint
(Affiliate links for your convenience, read affiliate disclosure here)

Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com


  1. This looks amazing!! I really love the color combination. Thank you for sharing the details with us!

  2. Absolutely gorgeous! I agree that it would be even more versatile to add a shelf. I think I would call that style Mid-Century Asian. <3

  3. I know what you mean Naomi. MCM isn’t my style either but I do like how the makeover turned out. Thanks!

  4. That turned out so well, Kathy! The simple treatment is just right and the colors are great! I’m not really a fan of MCM but I wouldn’t mind having that piece in my home! MCM is what I grew up with, so I think that’s why it doesn’t appeal to me. Also, I’m more of a romantic type, so I like curves and carving and soft lines. But, you won me over with this little piece!

  5. What a nice comment Michelle. You are doing good work. Thank you for the compliment. Let me know how the Fall event goes please.

  6. I love it. I have a chest that I’m doing in the same gray color and I’m definitely going to paint the handles copper. Thanks Kathy.

  7. Before I went to my for pay job early this morning painted a few pieces with Parisian grey chalk paint getting ready for our non-profits big fall event Went back and forth with myself during the day do I do dark red? Maybe burnt orange or just basic charcoal– then I just saw your post!! Love love love perfect As always spot on and I’m using it but will tell all our customers that once again it was one of your ideasThanks from Iowa and know you had a part in making a child’s life better

  8. A winner for sure. I wouldn’t have thought of using copper and gray together but I love it, your cabinet is awesome and you did a terrific job as usual!

  9. Love it Kathy! I like the gray paint and I adore copper. One of my favorite metallic colors and I love old copper pieces. I agree with you that the original handles are lovely and should be kept!

  10. I agree with Carolyn. Those spots distract from the overall look of a beautiful piece. Possibly a little distressing here and there could even things out.

  11. I love the color combination, but I think I would have put wood filler in the places where the veneer was missing.

  12. When I saw the before picture I thought to myself what a fabulous cabinet – that hardware is too perfect. I had no idea it was a sewing cabinet. I never in a million years would have thought to combine grey and copper either and it really does look stunning and perfect for this MCM piece! I totally see a fabulous bar on the inside with martini glasses and crystal decanters. LOVE it, Kathy!

  13. I love the finished look of this little cabinet! The copper is pulls are very chic! XO

  14. Great cabinet and love the copper! how did you permanently close the top? screws and wood filler? I see sewing cabinets all the time and that is an easy solution to the top.

  15. Right click on your lovely sewing cabinet makeover, search for images, and see how many more show up just like yours, and how $$$ they are. This is one of your best makeovers, love how “mistakes” are magical.

  16. I wouldn’t have chosen that combination, either, but I think it’s a total win! The copper is beautiful and the pulls are amazing, but I think the best part is that you can see the grooves in the doors now. Total midcentury magic. Adding a shelf above the legs would make it even more functional.

  17. I thought the paint colors went great with the mid century modern look too. Glad you agree Tonya.

  18. Glad you are going to take on the challenge. It’s not hard, I promise. Without seeing the chair I can’t really tell you how to reupholster it. I would say look for screws to take out the upholstered part. If no screws, I have no idea!!

  19. I think the piece looks amazing. I was just gifted a sewing cabinet and small matching chair by a friend and now you’ve given me the inspiration to secure the hinged top ( wouldn’t have thought of that!) and give it a pretty paint job. Any advice on how to reupholster the back of the small sewing chair??

  20. Fabulous! I love this combination.The modern feel fits perfectly with this mid century piece. Great makeover!

  21. I love it! I think the combo looks awesome together. It would also make a great desk for a small space. Well done!

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