Well, I made a promise to myself. This year I’m going to clean up my inventory and start painting furniture that’s been stored for years. This old desk makeover is a good start. This desk was curb-shopped many moons ago and has been a solid workhorse ever since. I’ve been using it in my sanding-room for storage. We’ve all seen these dated desks at yard sales and thrift stores so it’s a perfect opportunity to share 5 Ideas to Update Old Desks!
Last week I was so impressed with the Up In Smoke Restyle, I wanted to try it again. So happy I did! Check out this before and after….
THIS POST IS SPONSORED/CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS I USE. YOU CAN SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.
- Curb-Shopped Old Desk – SALVAGED
- Hardware – SALVAGED
- Sponge + Water + Shop Towels
- Sandpaper + Tack Cloth
- Dewalt Sander
- Paint Brushes
- Hurricane Gray Chalk Mineral Paint
- Voodoo Up In Smoke Gel Stain
- Satin Clear Coat
5 Ideas To Update Old Desks::
Idea #1:: Update Stain
So many of these old desks have gorgeous wood under that orange stain. By stripping the wood and updating the stain color, it can make a huge difference. Just look at this weathered gray stain on this wood top and drawers! What do you think? 🙂
Idea #2:: Update Paint
Updated paint color can do wonders to hide old ugly stain. I once had a client bring me an older desk and chair that we painted a modern gray with a darker glaze. You can see the end result and the difference color can make here! For today’s makeover, I used Hurricane Gray which compliments Up In Smoke perfectly!
Idea #3:: Furniture Transfers | Decoupage
Another way I’ve added interest and updated old desks is to add furniture transfers or any type of decoupage with fabric, wallpaper or napkins. For example, on this French Country Bird Desk, I used a decorative napkin to add a fresh ‘french country’ feel.
Idea #4:: Stencils and Appliques
I haven’t used a stencil or applique on a desk makeover yet, but you can see a few other pieces I’ve used them on here, here and here. It would be really easy to do embellish a plain desk in the same way.
Idea #5:: New Hardware
New hardware doesn’t have to be new! The hardware for this desk makeover was salvaged from another piece of furniture. I keep all my handles and knobs because what may look dated on one piece could look amazing on another. If you don’t have any old hardware floating around, buying new knobs, handles or pulls is a great investment. It can make ALL the difference in updating an old desk. Check out these black beauties!
Tip: If using different sized hardware (from the original) and you’ve stained the drawers, the new hardware should hide the old [filled] hardware holes.
If I had painted the drawers, I probably would have used two knobs on the top center drawer of this piece. Instead, I used a matching handle to hide the Bondo filled holes. Unfortunately, I still haven’t found a filler that stains properly. If any of you know of one, pleeease fill me in…. pun intended. 😉
Oh, and before I forget, I DID upload the video I was working on last week. It’s a super short clip on How I Stained With Waterbased Gel Stain — the exact same technique I used on this desk. 🙂
I’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THIS DESK MAKEOVER. ALSO, IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR SUGGESTIONS FEEL FREE TO CHIME IN… I ALWAYS LOVE HEARING FROM YOU.
Happy furniture painting my friends!
Weathered Gray Stain | DIY RH Finish
Salvaged Sewing Desk Makeover
Annie Sloan White Wax | Desk Makeover
Poly Over Wax or Wax Over Poly | Desk Restyle
How To Decoupage With Napkins | Desk Update
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I love this desk and inspired to create a reading/writing nook in our second floor loft area. I’ve ordered supplies and excited for the challenge of repurposing an old desk similar to this post. Can you tell me where to find a stool similar to the one pictured?
Hi Linda! Oh I’m so happy you’re going to give this a try – have fun! And as for the stool, I’m not sure because mine was a curb shopped find.
Beautiful, I just purchased an old desk and trying to decide whether to paint or stain it. Love this one.
Thanks Kathy and have fun! x
Marie Blackburn says
It doesn’t even look like the same desk! Another gorgeous makeover, Denise. I’m swooning over the chunky black hardware too.
Thanks, Marie! The black handles looked ‘not-so-good’ on the original piece I found them on but I’m loving them on this piece too! 🙂
You worked your magic, Denise! And I agree, the paint and stain combination looks perfect together. I also appreciated the ‘live’ view of how you applied the stain. Thank you!
Thanks so much, Nicki! 🙂 And ya, the Up In Smoke and Hurricane Gray are a beautiful pair! 🙂
Gorgeous! So light & airy, I see it in a huge window overlooking the ocean..(We can dream, right?) Great job & video. Thanks for sharing it.
Thanks and I like your vision, my friend. 😉
Lorin Small says
So pretty! Just love this finish! Great job as always! 😍 😍 😍
Thanks, Lorin… and thanks for the follow and sweet comments on IG! Much appreciated. xo
Carole Atkins says
DAMN girlfriend! Is there ANYTHING you touch that doesn’t turn into a sensational and magical treasure?
Beautiful work as always <3
You always give me a chuckle Carole. Thank you SO much! Hope your new year is off to an AMAZING start! 🙂
I’m so Happy I can see you again.
🥳 happy New Year. This desk is stunning.
.thanks for being you!
Thanks so much and Happy New Year Roseann!!! 🙂 Wishing you a spectacular 2019!
Judy Reed says
OMG……I adore it…..I have been doing some updates in my house and my new color scheme is gray….sadly I do not have an old desk sitting around anywhere but if I did…..oh boy…this would be it…..lovely, lovely, lovely!
Aw, thanks Judy glad you like it! I’m slowly but surely updating a few rooms in my home – gray and white being my prominent color scheme too! 🙂
WOW – WOW-WOW
I just LOVE everything you do. You have amazing insight and such talent. This desk is GORGEOUS !!
Gotta get me some of that VOODOO MAGIC STAIN
I like the WOW’s! 😉 Thanks so much Maria! 🙂 XO
Ohh girl you did it once again! Love it, love the weathered gelstain. I saw the other project you did using this stain and said I have to get some, now you did the desk, oh boy I am going out and getting this gelstain today! I have a nightstand, dresser and now a worktable/ desk I want to do. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful projects with us. Huge fan!
Hi Susan! I love this gel stain too! So easy to use and gives great results. If you decide to give it a try, here’s a little tip. I find it easier to work with (and it stains more evenly) if you wet the wood down with a sponge first. For my first drawer on this desk, I forgot to do that and I found it came out blotchy… may have been the wood, I don’t know. I sanded and did a re-do with the damp sponge and it’s perfect. 🙂
Oh my goodness Denise, you’ve done it again. It always amazes me to see how you creatively turn old dated furniture into beautiful showstopper pieces!!! I’ve been following you for years and you never fail to impress me with your skills.
A BIG THANK YOU FOR THE VIDEO!!! Very helpful and I can’t wait to see more:)
Big hugs to you Monique, thank YOU! And I’m so glad you found the short video helpful!!! This encourages me to try another one in the near future so thanks. 🙂