How to upcycle an old desk

Ever wanted to know how to upcycle an old desk? 

Before I had my babies, I ran my business from a bedroom on our first floor landing.

This lovely room was chock-full of all of my work stuff; samples, paper-stock, cutting board, printer — and a HUGE desk.

But when we found out I was pregnant we decided that this particular room would make the perfect nursery; so bit by bit my workroom was disassembled and shipped out — in boxes — to my husband’s office.

As a result, my Mac lost its permanent home and was given ‘temporary’ residence on an uninspiring IKEA shelving unit in the dining room. Now don’t get me wrong, I love IKEA.

Not a whole houseful of it, granted, as you’d end up feeling as though you were living in one of their stores, but used sparingly it is fabulous (plus I’m obsessed with their meatballs.

Horse or not, they are the most delicious thing to come out of Sweden. Apart from Dime Bars).

That said, the white melamine unit — that was originally bought to dress our stand when we exhibited at the NEC — was never meant to furnish our home and certainly not a piece that I wanted on permanent display.

And not only that, trying to design — using a mouse — when you don’t have a proper, decent sized, desk-top is a nightmare.

So my mission was to find out how to upcycle an old desk.

How to upcycle an old desk.

Here’s what I did…

1. Bought a lovely, solid oak, desk off Ebay; a little bit tired…

How to upcycle an old desk.

2. …and in need of some love and attention…

How to upcycle an old desk.

3. …but with BAGS of potential.

How to upcycle an old desk.

4. I bought some paint and some furniture wax.

annie sloane chalk paint — perfect for upcycling an old desk

5. Took the old handles off.

How to upcycle an old desk.
How to upcycle an old desk.

6. Sanded the entire desk with fine grade wire wool. Then waxed it.

How to upcycle an old desk.
How to upcycle an old desk.

7. Got my glamorous assistant to drill new holes for the new handles.

How to upcycle an old desk
How to upcycle an old desk

8. Painted and waxed the drawer fronts.

9. Added the new handles.

10. The insides of the drawers were a little bit dusty and rough…

17_photo 2-2

11. …so I lined them with some gorgeous, vintage airmail stamp paper.

How to upcycle an old desk

12. Et voila. My beautiful new old desk!

How to upcycle an old desk
How to upcycle an old desk
How to upcycle an old desk

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Upcycle An Old Desk with Chalk Paint

Upcycle An Old Desk with Chalk Paint

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Difficulty: Medium

Upcycle an old desk with chalkpaint and give a piece of unloved furniture a smart contemporary look and a new lease of life!

Materials

  • A desk
  • Chalk paint
  • Clear furniture wax
  • Handles
  • Wrapping paper

Tools

  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire wool (fine grade)

Instructions

  1. Take the old handles off.
  2. Sand the desk with fine grade wire wool.
  3. Wash the desk down thoroughly then wax all over.
  4. If using new handles, drill holes to suit.
  5. Paint, then wax the drawer fronts.
  6. Attach the new handles.
  7. Line the base of the drawers with pretty wrapping paper

Notes

You can use wallpaper — instead of wrapping paper — to line the drawers.

So happy with it.

It doesn’t look quite as tidy now it’s got all my stuff on it but hey. You can’t have everything!! ;)

30 thoughts on “How to upcycle an old desk”

  1. Beautiful and such a fab project! You’re a clever lady! Thanks for being a super co-host :) Jess xx

    #HomeEtc

  2. That’s beautiful -and I love the character that old furniture has, but love it even more when it’s given a new lease of life – thanks for hosting #homeetc xx

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