Do you ever buy things…like big things…pieces of furniture, not knowing where they are going to go? It seems like a piece of furniture should be a big purchase that requires lots of thought and consideration before buying. It usually isn’t for me. When I find something that I like for a good deal I usually buy it (assuming that by the time I refinish it I’ll have a use for it).
That is the story of this desk and chair. I really fell in love with the chair more but for the pair only being $30 together, I knew I wanted it. They weren’t always so pretty though. When we got them home they were a nice dirty, ugly brown. I saw the potential though.
I want to quickly show you how I revamped this piece of furniture, so you too can find an old ugly piece of furniture and give it new life.
My first step in revamping old furniture is to remove all the hardware and give it a nice Clorox bath. I like to know that any germs, dirt, or dust on that piece came from me or my family.
The next step is to sand it down. Although the desk is real wood, the top of my desk is some kind of laminate/coated wood. I went ahead and sanded it too with a piece of 60-Grit sandpaper, since it had dried paint, pen, and glue stuck to it. Sandpaper Tip: The lower the number the rougher the grit. 40-60 = stripping. 80-120 = general use. 150+ = fine tuning and finishing. Change out your sandpaper based on your project stage. I often use 60 at the beginning to strip down and rough up my pieces. I then move to 100+ for smoothing and finishing.
After everything was sanded, I primed it with a nice coat of Kilz. Since I was using Kilz paint, I could have skipped sanding my piece (for my paint to stick) except that I wanted to create a nice even base for my paint. There was a lot of discoloration in the wood. Sanding it helped to give everything a more even start to then prime and paint.
I didn’t know what to do with the top, since it was not real wood. Around this time I was thinking this was going to be my craft desk at our new house. I decided to not paint it because of how this desk was intended to be used. I knew as a craft desk that it would get scratched and things would get stuck to it quite often. The original laminate covering would wear better versus a coat of paint on top of the laminate. I then used left over paint from Reagan’s dresser makeover to paint the rest of the desk. My color is Disney Paint’s Pluto’s Paws.
I then layed out the stencil I had bought (Learn how to use the stencil over here: a colorful stool).
Using Disney’s Cool Marine, I started filling in the stencil and was then forced to decide how much of my new color I wanted to be on the desk. The answer would decided which way I used my stencil as you can see in the picture below.
I stared at those two wider drawers for the longest time, trying to decide which one I liked better. I struggled to decide. I’m not usually a “yellow” fan, so I opted for the design on the right that featured more of the Cool Marine. I really liked the look of the design on the left though, so I used that technique on the middle drawer. I like how the mix all looks together.
I think it’s important to realize that everything doesn’t have to be exactly the same so it “matches”, and different things together can really be beautiful.
I then sanded the edges of my drawers and desk. I wanted the desk to look more rustic. I was going to be staining this piece to tone down the brightness of the yellow a bit and knew the rough edges would help to hold the stain’s color better.
My stencil job is not perfect as paint smeared under parts of the stencil where it was not supposed to. I think the sanded edges go with that “imperfect” look better. It kind of makes the whole piece imperfect and rustic with charm.
I like to paint the back of my projects to have an area that I can test things out. On this project, there were a couple different stains I was thinking about using. I tested a gray stain out on the back and didn’t like it so I went with Early American by Minwax.
I think the wood color stain compliments the warm yellow color better than the cool gray would have done.
I went ahead and stained the top laminate as well. I don’t think it changed the color much, but it did give the desk back its shine (that I had sanded off during the cleaning and stripping process). After my stain was dry, the last step was changing out the hardware! This is an old desk and I couldn’t find hardware that fit the exact width of my horizontal holes. I used carpenter’s wood filler to fill one hole then drilled a new hole to line up with my new hardware. It was a couple of extra steps but totally worth it. The newer slick handles allow for the stencil to be the major eye catcher rather than the old handles. I also used three different handles on this piece and I love how they all look good together but are different.
My new desk was then done! I simply had to move and set it up! Although I didn’t totally know how it would fit in our new house, I knew I could use this piece. I love how it turned out and it is perfect in the corner of our bedroom. (a.k.a. my new area for creating!)
- One of my favorite pillows I have made.
- A new, sweet reminder embroidered hoop art that I made right before we moved. I also really like how I can use my Ikea hanger as an old school (before Pinterest) memo inspiration board.
- The week we moved in, we found this bird’s nest with three little eggs just a few feet off our deck. We got to watch the birds hatch, feed, and learn to fly away that first week we were here. It was such a special and exciting time as a family discovering our new place and experiencing joy together in our new house. It is one of my first memories in making this house our home, and I love the reminder of sweet family moments the nest brings.
- Scrap sewing pieces and an awesome light that I won from Red Head Can Decorate.
- Fun metal tin to hide my paperwork, receipts, and patterns.
- Vintage playing cards from my favorite childhood movie that helped inspire my blog’s name.
This area is not done. I have to hang up some of my organizers and figure out a shelf system I like. I’m making progress though and was so excited to share with you a new piece and place that will help me bring lots of creations back here to show you!
Thank you so much for stopping by! I am excited to show you next week the piece my husband was making over simultaneously as I was working on this one!