• DIY Project: Old School Desk Revamp

    diy project old school desk revamp

    We picked up two old school desks a few years ago. Dumped in the trash when they were rebuilding one of the schools in our neighbourhood.  After giving it a good clean up and varnish we placed it in our daughters’ rooms.  Which served a good purpose.  Fast forward 10 years later and my eldest daughter, Lea has outgrown her desk. Initially I was going to get rid of it as it looked a bit distressed.  At the end I decided not to chuck it as there are certain things my family and I just hold onto. It crossed my mind to do a DIY project and give this old school desk a revamp but never got so far to actually doing it.

    Any how, when Builders Warehouse  approached me to be part of their Speak Colour Campaign, I decided to give it a fresh new look.  If you follow me on Instagram then you would know about this DIY painting challenge which was posted on my Instagram Stories.   Do head over there and check out my saved highlights under #speakcolour if you missed it.

    From the start, I knew exactly how I wanted the old school desk to look once the revamp was complete. Although I still wanted a rustic look; I opted not to use chalk paint but enamel paint instead. Reasons for my decision was three fold in that chalk paint is too expensive, I wanted long term durability and didn’t want the schlep of continuously re-waxing it to maintain its look.

    Lea had a basic idea of the colour combination she wanted for her desk. Of course she had her favourite colours from the swatches but was still contemplating. So with the help of my followers, 90% leaned towards the exact same colours she had in mind.  After giving the colour consultant the codes, he mixed the paint colours to get the exact colours.

    Materials Used


    I must admit that I could not have tackled this diy project without the help of my husband, Brent. Although I did the easy work, he did all the “dirty” work. First off, Brent dissembled the desk. As Lea has outgrown the original desk; it required height adjustments.  Brent came up with the brilliant idea to add wooden blocks to the frame to give it that required height. I painted the blocks the same colour that the top would be. To see whether it would work, we tested the sturdiness of it, and whether it would be the correct height for Lea to sit comfortably at the desk.  Once satisfied, I then proceeded to lightly sand the wood top and bottom of the old desk.

    diy project old school desk revamp

    Sanding the top and bottom layer allows the primer to adhere. After sanding and prepping, Brent applied the wood primer. Note that instead of using a roller, he used a brush for the application. This was to achieve that rustic brush on look.  It took about two hours for the primer to dry.  Application of the paint to the top followed, using the same painting technique.

    diy project old school desk revamp

    I then spray painted the frame of the table. The Rustoleum lacquer spray paint is so effective, fast drying and the frame only required one coat. And let me tell you that spray painting is now my new favourite thing to do.

    We allowed the top of the desk to dry overnight. Assembling of the desk occurred the next day. Firmly screwing the top wooden block into the desk top. Ensuring that it does not protrude through, Brent used the correct screw size. As there were holes in the frame, screwing the bottom wooden blocks to the to the top block was easy. Making the desk nice and sturdy.

    diy project old school desk revamp

    With the desk having a fresh new look; it now brightens up Lea’s room. What do you think of the old school desk revamp?


    1. June 7, 2019 / 10:23 am

      We have a similar desk at home. Would love to give it a lick of paint. I love how yours turned out!

      • Noleen Miller
        June 7, 2019 / 12:53 pm

        Thanks. It is amazing what difference a coat of paint did to the look of the desk.

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