Desk Makeover. What shall I do with it?

So a craft room makeover I said. Yup, I decided to work my way around the room and change everything that no longer tickles my fancy, is not practical anymore, bugs me or simply is in line for a little change.

Starting with the little corner I use as my office space.

Writing Desk copy

The biggest project in this corner will be a makeover off this little writing desk I inherited from my in-laws. When I brought it in the house two years ago I asked you, my blog readers, for advice on to paint or not to paint. The lovers of all things natural wood won back then. But no longer. This table needs an update and I need it to become me.

And really in the proper light and with the help of a little Photoshop this desk looks quite ok. But in the real harsh light of daylight it looks much more like this:


Office Desk Before 1


The wood is dull, the varnish is tarnished. The veneer is peeling, there are holes and dings everywhere. And the top faux leather is coming off loose.

Desk Damage


As you can see a big nail even has been hammered in to hold the veneer down. So a makeover it is. To start I wanted to get a closer look on how things stand underneath that leather.


Office Desk Before Top

Luckily it peeled right off, leaving me with only a small edge of glue and paper to be removed. And I kind of like the rough wooden boards. Although the large number of nail holes are less enticing. So where to go next. I am still debating on that one.

So here is where you come in. Help me decide to bring this old tatted desk back to life. What shall I do?

I gathered some inspiration pictures and here is what I am thinking.

Beach Cottage Shippy desk

A Beach Cottage chippy painted desk

Maybe I should just paint it and distress it until it looks something likes this lovely shabby dress I spotted at A Beach Cottage.

Or should I even take the distressing a step further.

Coastal Living Shabby Chic Table

Peeled paint shabby table via Coastal Living

I love the look of those ‘hardly painted anymore’ pieces. Maybe leave the bottom part more painted and distress the heck out of the table top?

But then again I also live the crispness of a beautiful fine layer of fresh paint.

Happy Home Turqoise Desk

Bright Turqoise Desk top from the Happy Home

Wouldn’t it be fun to bring such a bright turquoise color in my home. I love the bright beachy look it gives. But that old worn tabletop on my desk would never look so crisp. It would need something to disguise its imperfections.

Maybe by using a decorative paint?

Chevron table by House to your Home

Chevron Table by House to your Home

I have to confess that as of yet I do not have any chevron in my house. Would this be the time to correct that?

Or shall I stay with the more romantic feeling I had going in my craft room before?

Lace table top by A Beautiful Mess

Lace Table Top by A Beautiful Mess

And stencil a lace pattern on my desk? Doable, quirky and beautiful.

Speaking of quirky. I could put something bold and fun on top of that desk. Mabye a faux sign.

Funky Junk Interiors Table Top

Table top with lettering by Donna from Funky Junk Interiors

Donna is of course the queen of sign stenciling. And this tabletop comes with a full tutorial. Well with Donna’s help I should be able to pull it off, n’est-ce pas?

Of course when it comes to makeovering old furniture pieces I had to turn to the ever so lovely Miss Mustard Seed for inspiration. I am sure she would now exactly what to do with my old desk.


Miss Mustard Seed Desk Makeover

Grandfather Desk Makeover by Miss Mustard Seed

She gave her grandfather’s old desk a makeover with chalk paint. It made the old worn desk just come alive. This one is heavily distressed and aged with wax.

The next piece combines two colors and a wooden top.

Miss Mustard Seed Desk Makeover 2

Two colored desk with dark top by Miss Mustard Seed

Really love the look of this too. But that would mean removing the veneer. And that seems like a daunting task.

Office Desk Before 2

So what do you think? How would you make this old tattered table look beautiful again? Have you done a desk makeover that might be my source of inspiration? Found one somewhere that I should know about? Let me know because I am itching to start on this one, and I still haven’t figured out what I am going to do.

I hope you have some ideas for me.


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  1. says

    I would stain the top a with something fairly dark, maybe even some grain sack stripes or stenciled numbers??? And paint the bottom white with distressing… That would look awesome!
    Nice piece!

  2. says

    I’m really in love with Funky Junk Interiors faux lettering. However, if your craft table gets used like mine does what was on the top wouldn’t matter as much as what was below as you would never see the top. After that I like Miss Mustard Seeds distressed look or even Beach Cottage’s chipped paint because they are all representative of the nd result of a workbench that is used a lot. Cherrie

  3. Kathy says

    I am normally a huge fan of chippy paint…well, I am a fan. But that photo of the aqua and white, was equally as appealing to me… I agree, it is a nice piece and I await your decision. Thanks for sharing…

  4. says

    Love the lines and hardware on this desk! A few options: turquoise and white; blackboard paint on top; signage or numbers on top. You have great style; therefore, I know whatever you decide it will look fabulous!

  5. says

    Yikes! Too many choices!!!! Love, love, love Miss Mustard Seed’s desk AND Donna’s funky table AND Sarah’s gorgeous distressed whites… Aaah! Glad it’s you making the choice & not me. xox

  6. says

    Hi Marianne, wow, so many choices, and I like a bit of all of them. Wanted to encourage you on the organizing and all the progress you are making. I have endlessly been organizing my sewing room. At first I organized items separately like thread, zippers, etc. then when it came to colored items…there were so many scrapbook, sewing items, etc. that I started separating them by color. so now I have pretty baskets and containers that have a label on them for pink, red, white, etc. What is good about that is when I want something…I know it by color…rather than wondering where I put it when I organized it. I’ve spent more time looking for things AFTER I organized them! hahaha…I need to make a master list of sorts to direct me where things are. I have 30 years of craft goodies…way too much. Anyhow I will be back to visit and encourage you on.

  7. says

    Your desk is so gorgeous but difficult to know what to do with it. maybe you could pick your favourites andmake a mix of it. I liked the rough letters on the table top but if you choose that rough look you might need to change the handles and mountings. I can understand that its tempting to remove the veneer, specially when it tends to loose. I painted a washing desk that had chipping veneer. After I had painted it the veneer hasnt fallen off. But, I agree with you that it’s tempting, because there are no particular rounded corners so if you remove it, it’s not ruined and you can paint it. It wasn’t any help I guess 😉

  8. says

    Hi, I love your desk. I would put a very light cream colored vinyl on the top space where the leather was and paint the desk the same cream color with a very light destressing. I would then paint the drawer fronts a pastel color or a color that goes with you room. It would look similar to the two colored desk by MIss Mustard Seed, escept the top around the vinyl would be the cream color.

  9. colleen says

    wow i would paint the inner part of the top leave the cool edges stained . paint the legs and drawer fronts and leave the framing stained as well. prob go with a darker stain light distressing on painted parts. good luck cool piece

  10. says

    Lots of great ideas! I’m really not a fan of the chippy look, especially heavy chippy like the photo. But this is about YOU, not me. :-) I think it would look fabulous painted and with a stenciled or painted design on top. Check out Korrie’s creativity at Red Hen Home. She is incredibly talented also.

    Will look forward to your finished product!

    • Marianne@Songbird says

      Thanks for the tip. Seems like everybody has their own fabulous ideas and I am still left making the decision myself :-)

  11. heather says

    I have just bought a desk with a similar top to it, and this is one of the pages i found in my googling of what to do with it. I really hope there is a blog post about whatever you decided to do!