9 Creative Ways to Transform Old Desks

The other day I realized I've breathed new life into a lot of desks, it's one of my biggest furniture makeover categories on the blog. Every home needs a desk, right? Kid's rooms for doing homework, a home office, craft room work station, nook in a kitchen or living room. So I thought it might be inspiring to curate a collection of 9 creative ways to transform an old desk with chalk paint.

All of these are budget-friendly furniture makeovers because each desk was found either at a thrift store or local buy & sell website. I've included desks in many different styles from children's student desks, small writing desks, large wood desks, and threw in a vintage vanity too.

Oftentimes these desks don't come with a chair and so I also show you how mismatched chairs can be paired beautifully when unified with paint.

Nine Creative Desk Makeover Ideas



9 Creative Ways To Transform Old Desks


I've categorized the desk collection according to style starting with large wooden desks, perfect for a home office or niche in a main living area.

Please note: there is a link above each desk photo that will take you directly to the makeover tutorials. Please pin from the original source.

Wood Executive Desks

I have a soft spot for anything with French typography but didn't realize how much until writing this post. You'll notice a French theme throughout this collection.

Vintage Carte Postale Desk

I found this solid wood Vintage 7-drawer desk at a garage sale. It is one of those pieces I hated to part with because I knew one day it would be perfect for my future home office. Now that said office could really use this desk!

Redeemed with clean white and soft grey chalk paint and paired with a ladder back chair unified in the same two-toned color combination (not pictured). To add some flair I handpainted a French graphic on the top.

9 Creative Desk Makeovers - Vintage Carte Postale Desk

Sage Green Vintage Desk 

This next desk is almost identical to the one above but it was not painted by me. I invited Barbara from A Green Paintbrush to guest post on the blog during my recovery from knee surgery. I included her vintage desk makeover in this collection because I thought you'd enjoy seeing the same desk chalk painted two different ways. I love the bronze metal chair she paired with hers.

9 Creative Desk Makeovers - Sage Green Vintage Desk

Writing Desks

When space is limited, small writing desks are perfect. Sofa or console tables also make wonderful desks when paired with a small chair and tucked underneath when not in use.

Queen Anne Writing Desk 

This cherry desk with curvy legs got a Bombay Co. meets Anthropology inspired makeover with a French flair. I named this piece Marie Antoinette and you'll see why when you look at the photos of inside the drawer.

9 Creative Desk Makeovers - Queen Anne Writing Desk

Curbside Secretary Desk

This small secretary desk was rescued curbside by my neighbor. She asked if I could breathe new life into it so she could use it in her home. You have to see the before photos to appreciate the after. I wanted to keep this desk when the makeover was finished but she knew where I lived. 😉

9 Creative Desk Makeovers - Curbside Secretary Desk

French Provincial Secretary Desk

This French Provincial secretary desk makeover is one I did for a client. It had been spray painted a glossy white but she wanted a matte shabby chic finish instead. This makeover is a testament to how a little chalk paint and light distressing can completely change the look of a piece, even when painted the same color!

9 Creative Desk Makeovers - French Provincial Secretary Desk

Faux Secretary Desk

This faux secretary desk used to be a 4-drawer dresser from the 50s and a piece from my parent's first bedroom set. Needing a small desk/dresser combination for our guest room, we removed the top two drawers and turned them into a sliding desk.

9 Creative Desk Makeovers - Faux Secretary Slide Out Desk

Children's Desks

Small student desks are perfect for children's rooms to do homework. For younger children, vintage classroom desks make a wonderful coloring/drawing surface in a playroom.

Vintage Student Desk

This small 3-drawer vintage student desk went all glam in pink with gold accents. Perfect for a young girl or tween's bedroom. The top is stained and has an inspiring handpainted message that continues onto the handy slide out shelf.

The desk didn't come with a chair so I paired a ladder back wood chair and unified it with the same pink and gold paint. What makes this makeover so special is all the small details fit for a princess!

9 Creative Desk Makeovers - Pretty In Pink Vintage Student Desk

Vintage Metal Classroom Desk

This small metal classroom desk with wood top went from dated green to a pop of pretty aqua. The top has a chalkboard reminiscent of the slates used in the old schoolhouse days. The hole on the desktop used for glue bottles now houses a pencil/chalk holder. A perfect desk for a young child's playroom.

9 Creative Desk Makeovers - Vintage Aqua Metal Classroom Desk

Vintage Waterfall Vanity

Last but not least, while technically not a desk, oftentimes these dressing tables are used as desks and so I included it in the desk makeover collection. This art deco waterfall vanity went all Hollywood glam with a metallic silver finish and Breakfast At Tiffany's inspired painted drawers. Even the drawer knobs are wearing pearl brooches!

9 Creative Desk Makeovers - Art Deco Waterfall Hollywood Glam Vanity

I hope you found these desk makeovers inspiring. Do you have an old desk in your home that could use a makeover?

If you have any questions about these makeovers, please don't hesitate to ask in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I always love hearing from you.

Nine Creative Ways To Transform An Old Desk


I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.

16 comments

  1. Ahh Marie, when I saw that Queen Anne desk I involuntarily let out a sigh of contentment! If that is not perfection, then I don't know what is!

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    1. Thank you very much, Mary! It is one of my favorite furniture makeovers and I had so much fun with it. Would you believe it was purchased by a single male for his home?

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  2. Love your roundup and your ideas Marie! Pinned!! I'm working on a curb-shopped desk right now... just not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. :)

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    1. Can't wait to see your curbside desk, Denise, I know it'll be gorgeous! Thanks for the pin and your support of my work 😊

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  3. 15 ads, three revolving ones-changing constantly, One flashing at the top, and a video sucking enough bandwidth to make it really hard to even scroll.....let alone see your lovely 9 desks. Blog-land is getting very hard to enjoy, and I'm a BIG FAN of yours!

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    1. Sandi, you have been one of my biggest cheerleaders from the beginning and I truly appreciate your support of my work very much! I'm sorry you find the ads intrusive and I will take a look at my ad settings. A lot of work and time go into providing the project ideas we share for free in blogland and ads are a form of compensation to pay for the expenses of running a blog. xo

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  4. Marie, All your desks are very cute and creative. I always enjoy what you come up with to repurpose something.
    Some of the ads that flash across are not appropriate at all. I try to x out of them and it just brings more.
    I do love your blog, but not all these ads.
    Thanks.
    Leona

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the desk makeovers Leona! Sorry you're finding the ads intrusive, I am working with my ad network to find the best placement.

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  5. Hi Marie. LOVE what you've done with these desks! Very inspiring. I have to agree with Sandi about the ads, and I see them on all the blogs I get. It's understandable that bills have to be paid, but these ads are obnoxious on all the blogs I get. Have made my dissatisfaction known because I love what you all do--or I wouldn't subscribe. Sorry to be a little negative, but felt that you should know.

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    1. Ceyla, I appreciate your readership and support of my work and I'm glad you like the desks in this collection. I am working with my ad network to find the best placement.

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  6. So many different desks and they are all great. My favorite is the French Provincial secretary desk because I love that style of furniture. I also loved the way your redid the child's school desk, especially with the lettered chalkboard behind it. Such nice decor for a child's room

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  7. Thank you so much, Leanna! I love my client's French Provincial desk too and so wished it was mine. The school desk was such a fun makeover and it was given to me by the same lady who owned the French Provincial Desk!

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  8. Lovely, Marie! Pinned to my Furniture Makeover board... thanks for linking up at Homestyle Gathering!

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  9. You are the Queen of makeovers Marie. I remember so many of these from past posts but I did see one or two I missed. Heading over there to check tham out too.

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    1. Thank you Michelle 🙂 So glad you found a few in this collection that are new to you and appreciate you checking them out. Hope you like them!

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I always enjoy hearing from you so please don't be shy! I read and reply to every single comment.