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desk makeover

My rickety little desk has been driving me nuts lately. I’ve lugged it around in every move for such a long time, I can’t really remember when I acquired it. I do know that it originally came from Ikea and was my dining table. At some point, I painted it and started using it as a desk. Finally fed up this week, I posted it on kijiji (along with 4 dining chairs I also refinished ages ago and was equally tired of) and was happy to see it all go out the door that same day.

I spotted this desk at a second hand store, liked the simple clean lines and the “old but not fussy” feel to it, so I scooped it up, and got to work.

Here are the steps to this makeover project:

1. thorough clean with a damp cloth, wipe dry
2. remove broken handle from drawer
3. paint one coat of Tremclad black gloss paint (let dry for 24 hours)
4. replace drawer handle
5. custom ordered Plexiglas to fit desktop (same day availability)
6. buy wrapping paper
7. cut paper to size of desktop & place under “glass” top

I chose a glossy black paint to give the desk a more upscale look. Tremclad rust paint is great for something like this because it can be painted on pretty much any surface without a lot of messing around. Most surfaces don’t even need to be sanded. Warning: this downside of this paint is that it has a really strong smell. I recommend painting outside, if you possibly can. It’s also next to impossible to clean your paint brush afterwards, so use one that’s seen better days or pick up a cheap one that you don’t mind throwing out when the job is done.

I also decided to splurge on a glass desktop because, well…I’m a bit of a klutz and I often drop things on my desk. My desk takes a beating just through day-to-day use as well. The top of the desk actually looked great on it’s own after it was painted and it wasn’t necessary to add anything. But I liked the idea of adding a glass top because it will keep the desktop looking good for a long time and it really allows for greater flexibility in the design. I can easily (and cheaply) change out the paper anytime I want to change the look.

Wrapping paper, wallpaper, photos…really anything flat that inspires me would work well here and dramatically change the overall look. All things considered, I bought a nice thick piece of Plexiglas with finished edges instead of tempered glass. I dare you to look at it and say it’s not glass!

This 2-day project was done on a small budget (my favorite kind!) that breaks out like this:

desk– (Army/Navy Store) recently reduced to $49
paint – left over from past painting projects $0
vintage glass drawer handle – (Renovator’s Resource) $10
two new nuts & bolts (for handle) – (Canadian Tire) $1
Plexiglas top – (Speedy Glass) $86
Note: the cost of a tempered glass top would have been approximately $25 more and taken a few extra days.

I’m very happy that I now have a solid, beautiful, new (to me) desk that inspires. I recycled my old desk by passing it on, gave something old a new life, and have another truly unique piece that will last me a very long time – you gotta love that! And I did it for $146. If you factor in what I got for my old table and chairs that I put towards the project, I really did it for a mere $56. Don’t expect to see this one on kijiji anytime soon…

In my mind, this is upcycling at its best.

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