Vintage School Desk Makeover

I’ve been given several old school desks over the years, from people whose kids had outgrown them.  I often repurpose parts of them, like the antique alphabet school page sign I made from the top of another desk, but this one didn’t have any parts that were easily removable, so it would get a makeover instead. vintage school desk

All in all, it was in decent condition, but a child had scratched some words into the top of the desk, and the “greige” color was pretty unattractive.

school desk damage

I painted the desk top with chalkboard paint, then painted the metal chair base with Renefrew Blue Fusion Mineral Paint, the same color I used on the Farm Store Sign I painted for my kitchen.   It’s such a pretty teal blue color.  Once the paint dried, I cut a stencil for my favorite pretty accent design, and painted it to the front.  I used wood stain over the whole desk (except the top) to deepen the color, and add some depth to it.

I worked on the project at night, and didn’t snap any photos along the way, But here’s how it looks now.

vintage school desk makeover

It’s been overcast and gloomy the last few days, so I couldn’t get a decent photo inside my house, and the forecast isn’t looking any better for the next several days, so as soon as there was a lull in the rain today, I took it out in the field by our house to get a photo.  Of course, as soon as I got the desk set down, it started sprinkling again, so you can see all those raindrops on the desk.

When my youngest son saw this photo, he said, “Who takes photos of a desk in a field…when it’s raining?”

My response – “Bloggers who can’t get a decent photo inside their house and are desperate!

Aside from the rain, it was actually the perfect lighting to take photos – not too bright and not too dark, and the field looked beautiful in that light.  This photo is a prime example of why I’m so glad I started learning to use the manual settings on my DSLR camera properly.  The desk, and grass in the foreground is sharply in focus, but everything behind the desk has a pretty blur, because I focused on the desk, and changed my aperture setting.  If you missed the Photography Friday post I wrote about getting this effect with your camera, you can read it HERE.

changing aperature bokeh

We homeschool, but this desk is much too small for my teenage son, (the only one who hasn’t graduated yet), so I’ll probably list it in my shop.  I’m sure he wouldn’t be too crazy about the makeover I gave it anyway.  Shipping is usually pretty steep for large items like this, so I’m seriously thinking about getting a booth somewhere this year, so I have a better avenue to sell bigger items.  I’m not crazy about the commitment of keeping a booth space stocked, so I’m still trying to decide if it’s a good decision for me or not.

Vintage School Desk Before and After Makeover

Click HERE to see more Furniture Makeovers.  This image is just a few of them.

Furniture Makeovers Blessings,


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  1. Oh my goodness, Angie! The color on that desk is so beautiful!

    I chuckled out loud over the photo shoot. I have the same situation here. I go outdoors during the summer for the best pictures. In the winter, I have snow in the background if I must.

    Love your 2014 projects to pieces! Looking forward to your 2015. Happy New Year 🙂

  2. Ellie LaJuett says

    You are very clever an d artistic! Love you pieces!

  3. Oh Wow! That Looks great. I have an old school desk like this that I’ve been saying I need to finish for a long time but just wasn’t sure what to do. Thought I should just paint it the same dull color that it is or it wouldn’t look good. But I was wrong. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great idea to paint an old school desk! Yes, I know what you are talking about…my house does not have proper light at times and I have been dragging large cabinets in the yard!!

  5. This is a wonderful vintage piece and you made a great job on it!

  6. I love this makeover. I use to sit in a desk like that. Brings back good memories. Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year.

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