How to Makeover an old Desk

Furniture Makeovers, Uncategorized

How To Makeover an Old Desk the easy way!

I want to show you how easy it can be to makeover an old desk. Even one that looks like it belongs in the trash! Can you believe this was the same desk? I think it was actually a Vanity? It was given to me by someone who was cleaning out their old home. This poor desk/vanity had good bone structure, but the top had seen some serious aging issues. Peeling veneer, holes that needed to be filled, and deep scratches.

I have never been one to be put off by something with cosmetic repair, or even structural repair! If it is free, found in the trash, and I think I can save it. I will do my best. The current state of my garage is a testament to this statement……

How to start your Furniture Makeover of an Old Desk

The first thing I always do is wipe the old thing clean. If you are picking something up that is super old, been in someone’s barn, on the side of the road, etc. You may have some unwanted guests. Don’t bring that thing home if you see Cockroaches, small bugs in corners, etc. (this goes without saying). I am referring to small spiders and lots and lots of dust.

I always begin with my favorite all-natural cleaning solution. It’s a little bottle of super concentrated cleaner. I mix half a bottle with one of these continuous misters. It really cuts all the way through must gook and you don’t have to rinse it before painting like you would TSP or Simple Green.



How to do cosmetic repairs to your old piece

Most old pieces my customers are making over are really just in need of a clean. Once in a while, you may have to do some sanding and if you are really rehabbing, you may have to do some scratch repair. I had to do quite a bit, but there are some really easy ways to prep a damaged surface and make it look like it never happened.

For deep scratches, I like to use a hardening compound like this one:

Scratch Filler

I love JB Weld. In my world, it’s kind of an overall fix-it of everything. My dad was a super fix-it, never throw anything away kind of guy. If something broke in our house, from the Kitchen Knife to a pipe bursting, my dad would “JB Weld” it. I never thought it would come in so handy with fixing deep scratches! It hardens pretty fast and you can sand it when done. Paint over it and it’s like the damage never happened!

Moving to the fun part, the painting, and transfers!

Now that the piece is cleaned up and smoothed out, time for the fun part. Paint and transfers! I used my favorite DIY Paint Yellows in Cake Batter, Crinoline, Queen Bee, and Liquid Sunshine. The legs are a combo of all the colors and the body is Crinoline.

Because DIY Paint contains only 9 ingredients, it’s really easy to blend and combine the paint. It’s best to paint a base coat of your main color, and allow that to dry. Then using the continuous mister, lightly apply subsequent layers with different brushed for each color and a “neutral” blending brush. Seal with clear wax or a brush on sealer. I used Dark and clear wax around the edges to give it an aged look.

I share the entire process in this popular new video. It’s doing great on YouTube, which makes me so happy that so many people are learning how to makeover their furniture like this piece!

Finishing Touches using an IOD Transfer and Stamps

I am definitely a “maximizer” and have a hard time leaving anything alone that I think could use a little more “zhooshing” up. My favorite go-to is adding IOD embellishments. I used the IOD Transfer Midnight Garden Here. It’s one of my favorites and customer favorites too!


Each IOD Transfer comes with at least 4 sheets of beautiful and easy-to-rub-on transfers. You just need a clean and dry surface, and they will stick to just about anything! Because I can’t leave well enough alone…I also added the Sprigs stamp to the sides.

How to Get a fake Wood Finish Top on your Old Desk

When I redo a piece of furniture that has a perfect top, my first choice is always to leave it as beautiful wood. Many times, that is just not possible as the tops are often where the most damage is seen. There are some fun ways to fake the wood look! My favorite is to use Dark DIY Paint colors and then mimic dark wood with Dark wax on Dark Patina.

I wrote a post several years ago about how to make anything look like real wood. It has literally been pinned over 5 million times. You could say this is my most popular post! To create the look on this top, I used equal parts DIY Paint in Cherry Picked and Marquee. I sealed with Clear wax, then added a generous “swiping” of black wax. You could also get a wood look by using Clear Patina, followed by Dark patina to create a “grain look”.

Overall I am so thrilled with how this piece turned out. I recently moved to a bigger space at Antique Coop in Brentwood. I have room enough for all the DIY Paint Products, IOD Products, and plenty of beautiful furniture. This piece is heading over there tomorrow!

I hope you enjoyed this post and are inspired to makeover something old yourself. Let me know what you think and if you try any of these techniques, would love to hear about and or offer any advice!


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