$40 Desk Makeover

Moving is something that is almost inevitable for all of us and it’s so expensive, especially furniture. My last place came furnished so we moved and had no furniture essentials like a bed, couch, or kitchen table. Furnishing a house or any place is expensive, but it is so easy to get cheap furniture that you will love!

So far, we have all of our beds from our homes and the one piece of furniture we bought was a desk for our office. I bought this desk from the Salvation Army for $40. It is stinking heavy and it had a bunch of scratches and marks along the top, but that did not deter me.

Redoing furniture is so simple and if you’re willing to take a day and put some work in, you can save tons of money.

For this desk, we purchased

-Bear Premium Plus paint from Home Depot in the shade Atlantic Pear

-A hook and loop sander to make the sanding go much faster

-A set of 3 sized paint brushes from Purty (my favorite name ever)

-A small paint roller meant for cabinets

-a canvas drop cloth

-60 grit sand paper

-new hardware for the desk

-polyurethane for the top of the desk

Now I need to disclose John and I have never redone furniture before TOGETHER on our own, which is why we had to purchase all of these things. Normally we would steal all of this from our Dad’s or have them buy it. I have redone furniture in my past, but we needed to buy all of our own materials to start. It’s a big initial investment, but long term, it will save us tons of money because we are redoing this desk, our kitchen table, 2 bedroom side tables, and a coffee table, but it’s totally worth it.

To start, we took all the hardware off the desk(the handles and knobs and a lock for one of the drawers) and took all of the drawers out. Once all that was done, we used the automatic sander to strip down most of the wood on the desk surface until the wood looked “foggy”. (This is really good to look at in the video because it looks foggy after you wipe the dust away.) This is super important because it will help the paint stick to the furniture and then you won’t have to do so many coats.

When you sand, if you are going to stain instead of paint, you want to make sure you sand with the wood grain or it will look very strange. I also recommend doing this for painting, but it’s not totally necessary.

Once this is done, you will also want to fill in any deep gouges with wood putty. We (luckily) got all of ours out with sanding so we skipped this step.

Now that the desk is ready to paint, start with the top desk surface and paint all in one direction. I choose to paint in the direction of the wood grain, but it really didn’t matter because the paint was going to cover it completely.

Take your time on the top because it’s going to be the most noticeable. I went over the top A TON and tried to notice every little detail to make sure it was perfect.

After the top side is done, then I moved on to the front face of the desk, but you can pick whichever you choose. When you start a side, start from the top and work your way down to clean up drips. Use the roller brush for large, flat surfaces and the hand brushes for smaller cracks and crevasses.

Make sure to do all sides all the way to the floor and slightly into the edges of where the drawers sit just incase they show. Once you finish the desk, you do the same thing for the front faces of the drawers.

After your first coat, I recommend going over it at least one more time. If you get the same type of paint we did, you shouldn’t need a third coat unless you’re really meticulous (which I am not, I’m quite lazy).

Let the desk sit and dry overnight and then polyurethane the top. To do this, we first taped off the edge with painters tape to make sure we just did the top flat surface, but you can do the whole top as well. We just did one coat to protect against normal damage or water marks and to also give a nice surface to write on. After 2 hours, we removed the tape carefully and let it sit to dry more. After a few hours of drying (about 6), we moved the bad boy upstairs!

We finished it off by adding new hardware I bought partially from HomeGoods and partially from Home Depot, but that was all! In all, the desk did cost us about $150 with everything we had to buy, but we have tons of paint leftover and now we have everything we need to redo our next piece of furniture!

We will most likely be doing some side tables next and because we have leftover paint and handles, they’re going to cost us about $55 a piece!

All in all it took us about 3 hours of sanding and painting and then about 20 minutes trying to get it up our stairs (did I mention it’s crazy heavy?!?!)

This was a great way for us to not only save money on furnishing our rental, but also to have a custom piece of furniture that we love! Putting in the effort will allow you to have exactly what you want and save money and what’s better than that?!

There will definitely be more home decor coming to the blog and make sure to follow me on Instagram to watch my stories of how our rental is coming along!


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