A Curbside Rescued Secretary Desk Makeover

When you see a piece of furniture discarded onto the curb, do you keep driving? It may look ugly but if it's in decent shape, it could be a diamond in the rough. Like this small secretary desk that my neighbor rescued from the side of the road. Other than a broken drawer guide and a dated finish, there was nothing wrong with it. I'm going to show you how to transform a Curbside Rescued Secretary Desk and breathe new life into it with a little chalk paint.

Curbside Rescued Secretary Desk Makeover

A Curbside Rescued Secretary Desk Makeover

Would you say it is landfill worthy now?

Many times I've opened my back door to discover the furniture fairy, a.k.a. my neighbor left a furniture gift in our back yard. She has been one of my biggest cheerleaders as I venture on my furniture upcycling path. In appreciation, I offered to give a piece of her own furniture a makeover and she chose her rescued desk.

Here is what it looked like before...

Curbside Secretary Desk Before Makeover

After removing the hardboard back that had several holes to accommodate electrical cords and filling in the nicks and scratches, I got to work giving the desk a base coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the color Graphite.

Base coat of Graphite chalk paint on rescued secretary desk

The top coat is a 50:50 ratio of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the colors Pure White and Old White. 

Once dry, I used 80-grit sandpaper to remove some of the white paint around the edges to reveal the graphite base coat underneath. The trick is sanding very lightly otherwise you risk going down to the original stained wood color.

Another option is to Wet Distress which means before the topcoat dries, use a damp rag to remove some of the white paint.

Desk makeover painted white and distressed to reveal graphite underneath

I replaced the original hardboard on the back of the desk but before installing it with a pneumatic nail gun I chalk painted it in the color Midnight Sky by Country Chic Chalk Paint.

Backboard on rescued Secretary Desk painted Midnight Sky

I also painted the sides of the drawers with Midnight Sky and lined the bottoms with a striped wrapping paper purchased at HomeSense (Canadian version of HomeGoods).

Wrapping paper lined drawers on rescued Secretary Desk

Midnight Sky painted drawer sides on rescued Secretary Desk

The pretty ceramic knobs were also purchased at HomeSense with the intention of using them on a future project. Less than a week later I started this desk makeover and they were perfect for this piece.

Floral Ceramic Knobs on Curbside Rescued Secretary Desk

I love how the pretty knobs compliment the colors in the wrapping paper lined drawers.

Paper lined drawers echo knobs on rescued secretary desk

I was thrilled that my neighbor liked what I had done to her desk. The colors compliment the décor in the room this desk will be used in nicely.

Curbside Secretary Desk with lined drawer

Here is a closer look at the pretty ceramic knobs...

Pretty Knob on Curbside Rescued Desk Makeover

I could see myself sitting at this desk with a cup of coffee and my favorite stationery to write my friend's across the pond a newsy letter about the day the furniture fairy arrived in my back yard.

Rescued Secretary Desk with rose petal stationary

Has this rescued Secretary Desk Makeover inspired you to think twice about driving right by discarded furniture on the curb of your neighbor's driveway? Just think of how many perfectly good pieces of furniture would be saved from ending up in the landfill.

This isn't my first desk makeover rodeo, I've done a few like this Faux Secretary Desk that used to be a 4-drawer dresser. I also gave a small Queen Anne Writing Desk a Bombay Co. meets Anthropology makeover with French Flair.

I hope I've inspired you to rethink the discarded. Have you ever rescued furniture from the side of the road? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section below or drop me an email by pressing the Contact Me button at the top of the blog. I love hearing from you!

Curbside Secretary Desk Makeover Before and After

I'm sharing this project at these inspiring link parties


  1. Marie, this desk turned out so fabulously! I LOVE the knobs! It was just SO blah before you re-did it and now it is as cute as can be. Did you sell it right away? Or did the lady who found it buy it back? You did a great job on it, that's for sure.

    Thanks for all the inspiring makeovers you share!

  2. Thank you very much, Naomi, I'm glad you like the makeover! My neighbor found it curbside and I did the makeover for her in appreciation for all the furniture she has gifted me to upcycle.


Post a Comment

Don't be shy, I love reading your comments and reply to every single one! If you want to be notified when I reply back to you, click the "Notify Me" button below the comment box.