From 50's 4-Drawer Dresser to Faux Secretary Desk

Several years ago we inherited a dresser from my parent's first bedroom suite purchased in 1958. We were in need of a small desk and dresser for our small guest room. Instead, we repurposed the 50's 4-drawer dresser into a faux secretary desk with pull out drawer and it couldn't be more perfect for the room.

Vintage Dresser Repurposed Into Faux Secretary Desk

From 1950's 4-Drawer Dresser to Faux Secretary Desk

This is what the faux secretary looks like without the slide-out desk extended.

Vintage Dresser Repurposed Into Faux Secretary Desk

Normally this is where I include a before picture but unfortunately, the desk conversion was done in my pre-blogging days and I never took a photo of the original dresser.

But here's a close-up of one of the drawers. They don't make them like this anymore with solid wood and dovetail joints.

Faux Secretary Desk Dovetail Joint Wood Drawers

Here's a photo of the manufacturer's stamp on the back.

Furniture Maker's Stamp on Vintage Dresser conversion

The original finish on the dresser was a blonde wood, popular in the 1950s. In a previous makeover, it was refinished with a white pickling stain. The original brass hardware was replaced with black spray-painted IKEA knobs.

Here's how we converted the dresser to a faux secretary 

Remove the top drawers

The first thing we did was remove the top two drawers and the wood sliders. We kept the scalloped trim between each drawer to reuse. Removing the drawers provides an opening for guests to place their suitcase or for a basket of toiletries and snacks left for our guests.

Vintage Dresser to Faux Secretary Makeover

Add a slide-out desk

Immediately above the second drawer, we installed metal drawer slider hardware. Next, we cut a piece of 3/4-inch plywood to fit the opening and attached it to the sliding hardware to create the slide-out desktop. On the back of the sliders is a lock mechanism when the drawer is fully extended.

The scalloped trim that we removed earlier was attached directly above the slide-out desk.

With another piece of plywood, we built a shelf for the opening and attached it with brads from the sides of the dresser.

Vintage Dresser Turned Faux Secretary Makeover

Raised the dresser with feet

To raise the height of the dresser so the slide-out is at desk height, we added wooden feet from Home Depot.

Adding Wood Feet To Faux Secretary Desk

Add the pretty to the faux secretary

Beadboard wallpaper was attached to the back of the opening and chalk painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in the color Duck Egg Blue. The rest of the dresser was painted, Old White. The paint is protected with clear wax and aged with dark wax.

New metal pulls from Home Depot were added on the drawers.

Faux Secretary with paintable bead board wallpaper back

Here is a close up of the painted feet.

Painted and distressed feet on faux secretary desk

The center of each drawer looked bare so I gave them some French goodness with fleur-de-lis stencils.

Stenciled Fleur-De-Lis on faux secretary desk

The pull out drawer was begging for a pretty glass knob.

Glass knob on faux secretary desk

The pull-out desk was also painted Duck Egg Blue.

Pull out desk painted Duck Egg Blue on Faux Secretary

I always enjoy adding an element of surprise inside the drawers of my dresser makeovers. These were lined with floral wallpaper that I scored in a clearance bin at Home Depot. Because the wood on the drawers is in such good shape I decided not to paint them.

Wallpaper lined drawers on Faux Secretary Desk

For a special touch, I handpainted a French typography sentiment found on the Graphics Fairy website for our guests to enjoy. You can see how I did it in my Image Transfer Technique tutorial.

French Graphic on Faux Secretary Desk

So what do you think? Has our dresser transformation inspired you to turn an old dresser into a faux secretary?

1950's 4-Drawer Dresser now Faux Secretary with pull out desk

In case you're wondering about the antique chair I paired with the Faux Secretary Desk, you can find that makeover in my Antique Balloon Back Chair Makeover post. Have you ever seen the inside of an antique chair? NASTY

For more small desk inspiration, you can see how I gave a Queen Anne Writing Desk a Bombay Co. meets Anthropology makeover with French flair.

I also breathed new life into this Curbside Rescue Secretary Desk with chalk paint and new knobs.

If you have any questions about our faux secretary desk, please leave them in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

From Vintage Dresser To Faux Secretary Desk

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  1. Replies
    1. It's definitely not a faux desk but rather a faux "secretary" desk. A traditional secretary desk has either a roll top or hinged desktop that is concealed when closed in a tall heavy piece of furniture. Whereas mine has a concealed roll out desktop.


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