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Once there was a little girl who drew and colored night and day. She had an imagination as big as the universe and loved expressing her creativity. She drew in the living room, she colored in the kitchen, she painted in the basement. However, the only place she didn’t do those things was in her own bedroom.
As I’m sure you know, this little girl is my four year old daughter. I’ve just finished redoing her bedroom as the result of my bribe to get her to sleep in her own bed. (You can read all about my good parenting here.)
And the one thing I was obsessed about putting in her new room was a small vintage rolltop desk. I think maybe because I was so obsessed with them when I was younger. There is something so magical as a kid, seeing this desk with a “hidden compartment” that you can hide by rolling the cover up and down.
Not to mention all the little organizers and dividers and little teensy drawers inside. So many places to stash your stickers and markers.
Something told me my daughter would love it.
Plus I wanted her to have an area in her room where she could create. Sometimes she tells me she needs to be alone for a little bit and have some quiet. She’ll then walk back to her bedroom and shut the door. Same, girl. I feel the same way.
I knew a desk would be the perfect spot for her during those times.
So I did what any good mother would do. I scoured Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace day in and day out. I found plenty of desks, usually too far away and pricey. But one fateful day I stumbled across a listing for the perfect one. It was nearby and the price was right. A perfect old desk to makeover.
Here’s some before pics:
And I should add as a disclaimer that while I thought this was vintage when I purchased it, when I got it home and was cleaning it, I found a sticker that said: Made in China. Womp womp. I still love the looks of it and it will still serve it’s purpose just fine.
There were a few spots of the desk that were some type of veneer, not solid wood. Luckily I already planned to paint the desk so that wasn’t a huge deal.
I had already used the stain from Fusion before and loved the results so I decided to try their mineral paint. I purchased a very pale blue called Little Whale. It’s actually from their nursery line. Here’s a link to the Etsy shop where I purchased mine.
Had I known that part of the desk was veneer I would have also bought some SureGrip primer from them as well. But I didn’t. And everything turned out fine anyway.
- Random orbital sander like this one here.
- Microfiber cloth or tack cloth
- Mineral paint- I used Fusion Mineral Paint in Little Whale.
- Coarse sandpaper disc
- Good quality angled paintbrush
- Small foam roller
- Paint tray
- Paint tray liners
I gave everything a rough sand using my handy random orbital sander. Here’s a link to the one we have. I used a coarse grit sandpaper disc to speed the process up. Then I wiped the desk down with a microfiber cloth to remove any dust.
Then, I opened the little jar and stirred it well. From there, it was just business as usual when painting. I didn’t put it on any differently than I would have with regular paint.
Two thin and even coats was all it needed. And since I was using this special Fusion paint, no additional finish was needed. Which is awesome. I hate that last step. I don’t know why but when the paint dries, I am done. Over it. No patience left to get out that last can of polyurethane, dirty up yet another paint brush.
And this light blue color? It is so, so sweet.
It matched the light blue pillow shams on her bed perfectly as well as the frame around her name on the wall.
I ended up leaving the hardware on it that came with it. Gold is making a comeback now anyway, and I loved how the gold looked with the blue finish.
Just in case you’re wondering how far that small pint of paint went, it was just enough to put 2 coats on the desk and I had enough leftover to paint this wall planter that I hung above her dresser. Sorry, I forgot to get before pics.
All that’s left now is to paint the chair that came with the desk.
My original plan for this chair was to sand it down to bare wood and stain it a light gray. I even found the stain I liked and bought it. But those spindles. All those nooks and crannies. The amount of time it would have taken to get that whole chair sanded correctly I just did not have. So, of course, the perfect option is to paint it white. I think.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on how to makeover an old desk. Leave me a comment below if you have any questions about any of the steps and don’t forget to sign up for my email newsletter for even more home DIY tips, inspiration, and more!
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