Dramatic Desk Makeover

By Polly Conner
July 7, 2014
before and after deskIt’s pretty safe to say that after this furniture makeover, every piece of furniture in my house is at risk of being painted teal. This is probably my favorite furniture makeover I’ve ever done. Before I jump into how I picked the color and fixed up the desk, let me share a bit of the history of this guy. This desk was left in the basement of our house by its previous owners. I can see why. It was in very rough shape. I almost sold it on Craigslist but after giving it a little more thought, I decided against it. This desk was in rough shape but it had so much uniqueness and character. I love the paneling on the sides and all the fun detailed curves. I thought with a little work, it could make a great desk for my little girl’s room.desk before glidden paint What I also didn’t realize about the desk was that it is solid wood. It was the real deal, people. It’s hard to find quality furniture like this anymore. desk before details This pretty little guy needed some TLC fast. The first thing that needed to happen was to give it a good clean up and remove those icky drawer liners. I’m pretty sure they had been in there since the early 80’s. desk drawer before Luckily they peeled off fairly easily. It was very satisfying to rip that ugly plaid out and see the bare wood underneath. fixing drawers before I was also lucky to have a little helper in this process. My two year old would promptly measure the drawers after I had removed the old liners. Good thing. Someone needs to be double checking measurements around here. 🙂 big helper At this point I started to seek out some inspiration for my desk. I have always loved the color teal so I started an inspiration board on Pinterest. More on my color choice later. I found some handles that I loved at Hobby Lobby so I had my dear husband drill some holes that I would need to install those when the painting was done. What’s funny is when I removed the existing handles, I saw that there were already two sets of holes. This told me that this desk had already gotten a makeover in its previous life. Now it was on its third set of handles! drilling holes Oh, and don’t worry. I had help with that too. A two year old is NOT going to miss out on drilling holes in something. big helper2 After all the holes were drilled, I busted out my palm sander and got to work. The desk had tons of bumps, scratches and unevenness so I wanted to try to sand some of those out. I also am a firm believer that paint just sticks better when things are sanded. I used an 80 grit sand paper to start with and then another round with a 120 to smooth it out a bit. I did the most sanding on the top of the desk because that was where the most damage was but other than that I didn’t sand it all down to bare wood. Just roughed it up a bit. sanding sanded down After wiping off all the dust from sanding with a wet rag, I gave the piece a coat of quality primer (that I had leftover from painting our kitchen cabinets). Again, this probably wasn’t necessary but I knew this desk was going to get roughed up a bit in my 2 year old’s room so I wanted the paint to really stick. I let it dry for about 24 hours.  primed Now the fun part begins: PAINT! Thanks to my inspiration board, I had no doubt I wanted to go with a fun teal. The color I ended up going with was Teal Lake by Glidden DUO. I got a quart of it at Home Depot and had plenty leftover. What I really liked about going with Glidden paint is that they didn’t have 50 different teals to pick from. Their simplified color palette made it super easy to pick the right teal. I love that I didn’t waste any time fretting over the different shades. I picked a semi-gloss finish because I wanted a little shine and semi-gloss is pretty durable. glidden paint teal lake I used a 6 inch roller for most of the painting. As soon as I started painting the desk, I fell in love with the color. teal lake blue Using a roller made the paint go on smooth. I did have to use a 2 inch brush to get into the hard to reach areas of the desk though. I would just make sure to smooth my paint strokes out with the roller. The Glidden paint went on smoothly and I was more than happy with how the color was turning out. (Sometimes you never know what it’s going to look like until it’s dried!) painting deskAfter two coats of the paint, I gave it a day to really dry. Meanwhile, I started working on relining those drawers. To make this process go quickly, I measured the bottom of one of the drawers and made a template (since all the drawers were the same shape). template for drawers I had some contact paper that I had previously snagged at a craft store a while back and decided this would work perfectly for this project. Using my template, I cut out 6 rectangles that fit into each drawer. template I wanted the drawers to pop out a little more so I ended up painting the outside of them a light gray color that I had leftover from painting a room a few months ago. It’s always a good idea to keep that extra paint around! drawer Ready to see it all done!? teal lake desk Aren’t those handles cute? They were 50% off too! drawers You can see the semi-gloss finish in this shot. Doesn’t the right paint make such a dramatic difference?desk after I love how the drawers turned out. I love the pop of color on the outside of them, as well as the fun lining paper on the inside. drawers with liners Anyone can do a project like this. Glidden paint can help by walking you through the color picking process (if you need it). They have lots of fun tools on their website to guide you. painted drawers We just got the dresser moved into my little gal’s room. She loves it and we are busy stocking it with toys.

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112 replies
  1. Tamara says:

    I love doing furniture makeovers! We bought a desk that looks very similar to yours, and we painted it black. Although, sometime I’d like to do something a bit more colorful and bold. 🙂

  2. Betty C says:

    Most of the furniture I have is solid wood and I’m always afraid that I will hate it if I paint it. I do love the look of maple and cherry wood..

  3. Cori Westphal says:

    Usually price holds me back! We’re on a tight budget, so all of the projects I’d like to do our usually on the back burner!

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

  4. LAMusing says:

    I do painting projects all the time! The great thing about paint is if you don’t like the result you can just do it over again 🙂

  5. Abby Millar says:

    I’m so anxious to make over some of our furniture pieces, but with 3 littles running around, I’m positive I will start and not finish. 🙂 Not yet anyway. Seasons right?

  6. Madeline says:

    I’d like to paint a stand we have in our bathroom. It has gotten a bit yellow over the years and would look so much better with a new coat! What holds me back is pure procrastination. I will get to it eventually!

  7. Elle says:

    I painted an older bookcase that was a hand me down a few years ago a lavender color. I love it and now it’s filled with books.

  8. Amy says:

    I honestly think the space (to air out the pieces) keeps me from starting a project =) I’m also afraid that i’ll be so slow I won’t be able to finish, I’m not the most handy or crafty lol

  9. shelly peterson says:

    I’m not a very handy person and have never done a project like this before. sanding looks like a lot of work.
    cshell090869 at aol dot com

  10. Amy S says:

    I love how that turned out! I’ve painted furniture before, but the only thing that will hold me back or make me apprehensive about a project is somehow messing things up!

  11. Barbara Montag says:

    I’d like to repaint a dresser and nightstand.
    I’m hesitant to do it because I haven’t done much painting.
    Love how yours looks!
    thank you

  12. Erika W. says:

    I recently did a makeover on my husband’s bachelor days nightstands. The only thing holding me back from redoing our computer desk is my lack of motivation. Maybe once school starts back up and I have more free time!

  13. patricia c. says:

    I am waiting to find the right piece that needs a makeover. Most of the furniture I come across at yard sales don’t have anything unique about them.

  14. Eliz says:

    What keeps me from doing a project like this: I have a few unfinished projects that we lug from one home to the next (it’s been years) and I should probably finish those before I take on a new one!!!

  15. Carla S says:

    The things that hold me back are the big mess and I have no idea what I’m doing or where to start.I don’t like using saws, either.

  16. Erika says:

    I just don’t have a lot of extra time, but we recently finished a coffee table, and it was so satisfying!

  17. Kristen says:

    I always think maybe I’ll forget a step (like drilling the new holes before painting) but most everything can be fixed anyway!

  18. Jaclyn Reynolds says:

    What holds me back is that we don’t have alot of room in our home. I’m not sure where I would put a finished product! 😀

  19. Lisa Brown says:

    i am not a creative genius when it comes to decorating/improvements the house or anything. i do have a iron table that needs work, but i don’t have a clue as what to really do with it.

  20. Ashley Dawson says:

    Fun makeover! I love to redo furniture, and time and energy are the only things holding me back right now. 🙂 I’ve got some awesome doors I’ve got great plans for, if I can just stay awake during naptime to work on them!

  21. Ashley C says:

    I’m a perfectionist and so instead of failing or having a project not turn out exactly the way I want it to, I tend to avoid and not attempt things!


  22. Natalie says:

    To be honest the thing that holds me back the most is that it won’t be perfect. I am a perfectionist and it prevents me from starting a lot of projects.

  23. Lisa says:

    I just am afraid of starting a project and not being able to figure it out or finish it and be stuck with a piece of junk that I can’t ‘makeover’

  24. Margot C says:

    Nothing holds me back but sheer laziness, and that’s the truth. We are moving though so I have this hope that when I get to my new house I will be a new person who paints things! I hope so. I LOVE that desk!

  25. heather says:

    I love doing projects like this one. I love to paint and to do DIY projects the only thing that holds me back is time and money. I sure hope I win this one I love Glidden products.

  26. Kelley Wampler says:

    I love this! When I saw it in your house I was immediately drawn to it. Inspires me to get going on the couple of furniture projects that need paining around here 🙂

  27. Kelly D says:

    The only thing that holds me back from refinishing me furniture or doing these types of projects is that I have a hard time envisioning the final results and choosing the right color.