DIY Desk Makeover

I am in love.

I didn’t plan it. I didn’t expect it. It just came out of nowhere, and now I’m all googly-eyed and practically drooling over this new love of mine.

I locked eyes across a dusty room. My love wasn’t all dressed up; actually, more worn and dirty than I’d ever anticipated for myself. But those gorgeous lines, that overwhelming potential, it just cried out to me.

So I brought it home, researched endlessly about this new journey of mine, and then just jumped right in with leftover supplies from other projects.

I know, you shouldn’t begin any new relationship with the intention to change practically everything, but the POTENTIAL. I had a vision and I had to nurture it into this real world of ours.

Okay, fine. My love is a desk. Whatever, it’s not a big deal. I mean, it kind of is, but still. Ahem.

Before photo- the drawers are out, but look at that detailing!

So I was generously given this gorgeous old desk with the understanding I’d make it my own. It was dusty. Dirty. I found spider egg sacks on the bottom.

But it’s sturdy, well made, and all I saw was what could be. So I took out each drawer, removed the hardware, Old English’d the heck out of every surface I wasn’t painting. Then I needed to prep for the areas I was painting.

Now, I don’t own a sander, nor do I even know how to use one. Everything I saw online said I had to sand it with a power sander, I HAD to, or it would be a disaster.

Ha, ha, internet! I’m too lazy for that. So I took some sandpaper from a random sample pack we had, with various different grains or what have you, and I lightly roughed up the desk. Then I cleaned it again, took a deep breath, and used the leftover bathroom wall paint to do the first coat.

Then I did a second coat. In between those, I spray painted the grungy brass-turned-blackishbrown hardware with a couple light coats of white so they look all antique and what not (I mean, the desk is antique-isa, so I suppose the hardware is too?).

I considered sealing it with the poly I used on the kitchen cabinets and the kid’s chest of drawers, but honestly, it didn’t make a whole lot of a difference on the oft-used kid’s drawers and it was cold and I was tired of this project dragging on. It was nearly Christmas and there were simply other forms of magic to be made. Luckily for me, it’s been three months and so far there’s nary a scratch (knock on wood. Just not my desk.)

Once all the things were dry and spots had been touched up and dried as well, I placed it in my office and put all the drawers back in and ‘moved in’, so to speak. And I couldn’t be happier with the results.

I love the coral color, and how it contrasts yet compliments my (admittedly messy) turquoise filing cabinets. It goes perfectly with the tropical theme of my office (Hey, if I can’t be on a beach, I can at least pretend I’m near one!)

  • Paint- purchased at Lowe’s last August for the upstairs bath, named Lei Flower, is of the semi-gloss latex variety. I used a small roll for wide, smooth surfaces and a small brush for the details
  • Hardware- spray painted glossy white, Rust-oleum, but lightly and from a good distance
  • Center drawer hardware- leftover knobs from the kitchen remodel fit the old-timey look perfectly

So if you’re looking to paint something sturdy but the world keeps yelling ‘power sander’, try roughing it up by hand with sand paper, cleaning it well, and doing a test spot. At worst, you’ll have to rent a power sander and sand off the paint and whatever you were trying to cover. At best, you don’t have to put all the blood, sweat, and tears into using a power sander.  


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