This desk makeover is a bit different than the furniture makeovers I usually show… because I stripped it down and refinished it to the same colour. Yup, an ugly and damaged black desk to a clean and almost-new black desk – that’s a great makeover!
There is a method to my madness though; first off, I couldn’t stain this oak desk because there was just too much damage that had to be fixed and filled and stain wouldn’t have covered all of the filler.
Secondly, the body of this desk is oak – but the desk top – underneath this plastic faux-wood sheet – is not. So I would have had two different grains and the stain wouldn’t likely have taken the same way to both woods.
You can see that this desk has been well-loved. Someone has tried to make it look better, but did a half-assed job as you can see (forgetting to paint the extension???)
I actually think the faux wood plastic sheeting is kind of brilliant. This protected the surface from nicks, scratches, dents and stains – I’d totally do this to a child’s desk! Problem here was that it wasn’t glued properly and so the top was barely hanging on. Half of it fell off in the car when I was bringing the desk home.
The top centre drawer has a lip underneath it for pulling it open – a routered groove specifically for that purpose. Whoever owned this desk before decided they wanted hardware on that drawer front, drilled a giant hole, and then reconsidered sometime after and tried to fill the hole back in and paint over it.
And the paint job 🤦🏻♀️.
The previous owner used a paintbrush to apply the black paint, and likely the colours underneath it, but they applied it with brushstrokes going every which way.
So now you might be thinking “Why on earth would you buy this desk?!”
It was $2 folks. Literally $2.
It was wood, so it had potential, and I had a vision of what I wanted to do with it.
I only planned to sand the previous brush strokes out of the finish and the glue residue that held the plastic top on.
Turned out it needed a LOT more sanding than I originally thought. You can see in the image below that even though I’d sanded down through layers of paint (black, blue, beige then white on top of the wood), the brush strokes were still showing. Applying paint over a bumpy surface would have just lead to a bumpy surface, so it had to be corrected.
I think I put 5 ½ hours into sanding to get to this point.
Sanding is sort of cathartic for me; mindless labour that I can plug away at, with the benefit of instant (almost instant) gratification. After a LOT of filler and a bit more sanding, I did finally reach the primer stage. Primer seems to clog my paint sprayer, so I applied Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 in a grey base, with a foam roller. It took two coats with a light sanding in between to get a nice, even coverage.
Even the extension (finally) got some love! 😂
The previous owner had also painted over the desk handles:
The fingerprint right in the paint made me laugh!
I used a friend’s secret recipe and boiled them in 1 part vinegar to 1 part water for 20 minutes and the layers of paint scraped off easily! Nice to not have to spend money and refit holes for new hardware. I’ll take the win!
Using Benjamin Moore Advance formula paint in a pearl finish, I sprayed on two coats of “Black Beauty”.
It dries much darker than you see above.
Yes, it’s a black desk makeover to a black desk – but it’s a new, and considerably improved, black desk!!
I try not to half-ass my makeovers, so I sand the inside and outside of the drawer boxes as best I can; no one wants a desk that’s beautiful outside, but full of bubble gum and ink inside.
The top drawer had stains that I couldn’t sand out, so I gave it a coat of black beauty as well.
This time, even the extension board was made to new!
How about a couple of before and afters so you can see that this black desk makeover really did make a dramatic improvement?
Black desk makeover
It’s SO NICE!!
So why would someone do a black desk makeover to a black desk?
My vision was for a couple of coordinating office pieces….
Yup, a black desk to go with the SPECTACULAR black bookcase I’ll show you this weekend. (this is just a sneak peek)
Now do you see why I wanted this $2 desk? The back is painted as well, so it can sit in the middle of the room with the black bookcase behind it. 😍
I love how this turned out, I love the two coordinating pieces, and I especially love the price tag!
Have a great one!