How to Turn an Antique Piano into an Amazing Desk!

I know my husband probably wishes he could banish the words, “What do you think about …?” from my vocabulary, and I think his brain automatically translates them into, “She needs my help.”  Generally, it’s an accurate translation.

Repurposed Antique Piano Desk |

You may recall, several years ago, I was bemoaning the fact that everyone seemed to have a beautiful mantel that they were decorating for Christmas, and I didn’t.  When I came across an antique piano at a thrift store, and they were willing to take $35 for it, I decided it could be a mantel, of sorts, for me (seen here).

Since the piano was really battered looking, I painted it (seen here).  I love the piano, but I’ve gotta admit, it takes up a lot of valuable floor space in our small living room.  I don’t have anywhere else to go with it though, and my husband would bust a bolt if I asked him to move it somewhere else anyway.  I begged him to let me buy it and he was convinced our floor would cave in when I told him I wanted it in the living room.  It was a beast to move in there, and I don’t think he’ll ever agree to move it again.

So…that leads me to my discussion with my husband.
ME – “Honey, what do you think about…turning the piano into a desk?”
HIM – “A what?”
ME – “A desk…come look at this.”

Cruising Pinterest, I came across a photo of an antique piano that had been converted into a desk.  That seemed like the most genius idea to me.  At least, the space the piano takes up, would become useful space.

Surprisingly, he didn’t balk at all – probably because it would mean that I’d get my computer and paper pile off the kitchen table, and we could actually eat there occasionally.  I think he might have even considered it a great idea, because he got busy right away taking the keyboard apart, without any nagging from me.  Things got a little scary when he removed the keyboard cover and started taking the keys off.  It appears a mouse had made its home inside at some point, but thankfully it seemed to have been a long time ago.

How to Turn a Piano into a Desk |

Once he got all the keys removed, he had to pull out all the little metal rods you see sticking up, which probably took about an hour and a half, but he was watching the Olympics at the same time, so I don’t think he minded too much.  We spent about $50 buying an oak laminate board and about another $8 to add trim to the front edge, then my husband stained it with walnut Minwax.

I sold all of the keys in my shop, so that paid for the new desk top.  I decided to remove the large wood panel above the foot petals, and I’m sure I’ll find a project to use it one – probably a sign, so converting the piano to a desk basically cost me nothing.
How to Turn a Piano into a Desk by  Knick of Time |

After painting it a few years ago, some of the edges at the bottom of the piano, which had been loose before painting, came off completely.  I didn’t feel like painting the piano all over again, so I decided to just distress some areas of the piano, so the whole thing looked like it had been battered around a little.   Then, I got to have the fun of setting it up my “new” desk.  The desk top offers plenty of space for my computer and several metal office baskets.

The shelf above the desk top offers more space to hold a can for pens and pencils, an antique eyeglass case holding my business cards and some old clocks and a calendar.
How to Turn a Piano into a Desk by  Knick of Time |
On the other side of the shelf, I plopped a few of my favorite battered, old books and 2 wooden shoe forms.
How to Turn a Piano into a Desk by  Knick of Time |
The top of the piano still serves as my “mantel” to create vintage vignettes on.
Front and center is the antique Underwood typewriter I love so much, which probably weighs a good 50 pounds.
How to Turn a Piano into a Desk by Knick of Time |

I selected some of my favorite clocks to go with vintage spools of thread and some book stacks, loving all the warm and natural colors together.

How to Turn a Piano into a Desk by  Knick of Time |

This really is such a doable project for nearly anyone, as antique pianos are frequently available free or dirt cheap.  They usually take too much money to fix them, so people just want to get rid of them.  In fact, I could have gotten another one for free last weekend.  My husband and I were in St. Louis for my son’s basketball tournament, and a thrift store had one they were giving away, but since it couldn’t fit in our Jeep, I had to sadly leave it behind.  It doesn’t take much money at all to turn one into such a unique desk, with minimal woodworking skills.  I have no idea where I’d put another one, but if I came across a cheap one, I’d still bring it home, though my husband would probably have a conniption, with a capital C.  Eventually, he always comes around!

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  1. What a great idea…I love it! Hugs, Pennys

  2. What a fun idea! Kudos to you and your husband for really thinking outside the box on this one!

  3. It turned out great!
    I just gave away our beautiful old piano before we moved.
    Now I could kick myself!

  4. That’s by far the most special desk I’ve ever seen and I’m lovin it! Wish I had enough space for a piano in my small cottage.

  5. What a great idea! It’s beautiful! I understand you’re husbands reluctance to move it. I had an upright grand for years and it was a bear to move. When I got a new(er) piano, I couldn’t bear to part with it, so we took it apart. If you’re interested, you can read my blog posts about it here ( ) and here
    ( ).

  6. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Looks over the top fabulous! – Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Genius!!!!! Genius!!!!!Genius!!!!!! Looks beautiful & every bit was used for a good purpose!!!!! Love it!!!!!!!!!

  8. Such a useful Idea to convert this unusable piano. Again, pat your hubby on the back since he is such a good sport.

  9. This is the best recycled, repurposed, project I have seen in a while!! Next time someone asks me if I have a use for an old piano…well I do now!! Thank you!1

  10. I want to do this sorry of project so bad and i happen to have a friend who wants to get rid of a piano. Yours us wonderful and now i have some great inspiration for when i can tackle the project. Beautiful Angie!

  11. Hi Angie,
    What a wonderful project. I LOVE your beautiful desk. A great idea !!

    Blessings to you,
    Wilma, Shabby Royale.

  12. Outstanding Angie! I’ve never wanted an antique white piano more! They are usually such a light reducer in a room but not yours! Just beautiful!

  13. What a fabulous idea and you did a fantastic job! Really clever!

  14. You did good, really good! Love this transformation. I know it’s almost impossible to unload these vintage beauties, so happy to see that you saved it and made it functional again.

  15. as a pianist, my first response was…NOOOOOOO!!!! AGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!! But you want to know something? I LOVE IT! It looks really cool. but no, I won’t do that to my piano. lol

  16. I love this. I always see old piano’s turned into bars but the desk is awesome. I have an old piano just like this, got for free that has been sitting around taking up space just waiting to be transformed. Thank you for this great, useful idea!!

  17. Shut Up Angie…not literally 😉 Brilliant idea – love everything about it including the pretty vignettes on the top. I’m inviting you to share your piano desk at the DIY Sunday Showcase Party that goes live at 5pm on Saturdays. You never cease to amaze me girl!
    Marie @ The Interior Frugalista

  18. OMG Angie, this is amazing. I love this so much and what creativity. This just fits in perfectly. Your vignette on top is so pretty.


  19. This may be my favorite revision EVER! What an amazingly cool desk it made – so YOU! Pinning it for sure.

  20. This is totally awesome, Angie!!! I LOVE it and want one too now!!!

  21. So gorgeous, so amazing! Thanks for linking up Angie–pinning!

  22. nice Angie! ~jb

  23. Thank you for linking to my piano desk! Yours turned out lovely!

    Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek

  24. You’re killing me here. That is gorgeous! Love how you can see the innards in the back and at the bottom. It turned out great!

  25. Great transformation and your styling is stunning!

  26. Great idea Angie … good that you can make that big piano earn its space but double-duty as a “mantel” and a desk.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures.

  27. Such a great re-purpose Angie…beautiful and so useful, too! Wonderful job!

  28. I’m speechless Angie…this is amazing!!!

  29. Hi Angie! I love this piano turned desk so much, I’ll be sharing it on my ‘Weekly Wonders’ post tomorrow morning. Awesome job, and so clever! ~Lisa @ Practically Perfect Home

  30. Well Hello! What a friggen outa sight transformation! Turned out like a dream!
    Feel free to ship over here to Australia if ever you get sick if it! Lol!
    Hugs, Kyra

  31. Love the piano/desk conversion!

    And thank you for explaining about the change in the blog.

  32. Oh my goodness I love this so much! I recently got a piano and I had to laugh at your post…my mister would definitely have a duck if I decided to move it again! I think mine will remain in it’s place for all eternity…and if I ever get tired of it, I’m totally copying your idea!

  33. Angie, this is so CRAZY cool. I know I asked this before, but really, DO you ever sleep?? haha This is just genius!

  34. This is probably the best repurpose project I have ever seen. I love it!!

  35. This makes an absolutely stunning and unique desk! Beautiful idea! I love how you styled it after!

  36. My parents had an antique piano with a cracked sound board. My mom dismantled the pieces she wanted, repurposed the keys, and offered the bulk of the piano to a family member who the piano originally came from. She told them about a piano desk on Pinterest and they are going to do exactly that!! Your’s turned out lovely! I’ll direct them to your post so they can see how it turned out. 🙂

  37. This is awesome…that’s all 🙂

  38. I absolutely love it!!!

  39. Anonymous says

    I love this project! I have an old refurbished pump organ that would go nicely with it. I think I’ll keep my grand piano though. (I need one to play.)

  40. WOW! this piece is amazing, it has a steampunk feel to it as well, i would love to feature it, if that would be ok please let me know,

  41. I was just looking at this post again….
    You said you sold individual keys in your shop. what do people do with them? were they ivory or plastic??
    (I have another organ to take apart, and thinking selling keys ind. may be worth more than selling whole keyboard)
    thanks for help.

  42. Yeah but does the laptop play the piano?
    Antique Piano Emporium

  43. This is absolutely gorgeous and you are SO talented! I’m always seeing pianos FREE on Craigslist. If I had room I would go right out and get one. Pinned for future reference as, who knows, maybe one day I’ll have the perfect space 🙂

  44. Thank you so much for sharing all of this! We have a neighbor’s old piano in my parents’ house, and now I HAVE to turn it into a desk! (I really hope the neighbors let me keep their piano; they haven’t touched it in over ten years!)

  45. Awesome. Everything about it!

  46. Love it! I have a 45 yr old piano. How do you know if a piano is valuable as an antique. I would love to do this to mine but im afraid of ruining its value. Could you send response to my email if you dont mind. Thanks for sharing your genious!!

    • Cindy, from my experience, pianos aren’t generally valuable as antiques, because most need extensive work to bring them back into playable condition, and few people have enough room to use them solely for decorative purposes.

  47. Ok, thanks much!!

  48. LOVE your old piano desk!! I have my grandparents’ piano that was manufactured in 1904 that is way beyond tuning/repairing unless I spend thousands of dollars. I love the piano SO much as it was the first piano I ever played and it’s beautiful. Turning it into a desk is the perfect idea to keep this family heirloom useful and visible for many years to come. I can’t wait to get started (I’m sure my husband will cringe when I come home with this idea). 🙂 Thank you for sharing your project!!

    • Thanks so much, Susan! Old pianos are usually too expensive to fix and too large to just have as decor, so turning them into desks at least makes them useful! I ‘d love to see your piano if you turn it into a desk!

  49. Brilliant! Very lovely results! Question… what are some the reasons or uses people buy old piano keys?

    Great work!!! Love your posts!

  50. Looks great, question… does it collect crazy dust? How do you combat that?


    • LOL – The desk is always full of papers and junk, so it can’t collect dust! It really doesn’t though – since it no longer has keys. It’s pretty easy to dust/clean.

  51. How did you get the inside level enough for a flat top? I’m actually doing this project now as a present to myself for going back to school.

  52. I am assuming that you didn’t remove the harp and soundboard. “We” (that is hubby!) is making a side board out of our old church piano to turn that eyesore spot into a place of beauty! Hardest task was figuring out how to remove the harp. He began cutting it in pieces and then I saw an article describing how all of those pins are sunk into the wood behind the sound board. He didn’t hsve great tools but removed all of these which separated the harp and made it easy to pull out, All that is left now is to fit a tabl top inside and a shelf and then lightly sand and paint it Can’t wait to see e results or the church response!

  53. Angie I love your old piano and what you have done with it. I wish I had place for one. I don’t have a mantel also.


  1. […] music inspires your productivity, this reclaimed piano desk is the one for you. A Knick of Time offers a full tutorial on making your own statement piece. You’ve never seen something like […]

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