Upcycling Gives Vintage Furniture new life and Purpose
If you have ever noticed a piece of furniture or decor that was a little “down and out” but knew that it had potential if you gave it some love? Upcycling old, vintage, outdated or worn out pieces of furniture and decor can be a great way to preserve what we have, and maybe even save a little money too. Sometimes all it takes is a little paint and stain (and a little bit of elbow grease). That’s just what I did with this vintage desk makeover.
When I rescued this vintage desk from a Facebook Marketplace sale. I was looking for a unique desk to place in an open space in my entryway, near my living room. Here’s what my living room looks like:
On the Hunt for a Desk
Since my entryway / living room is such a mix of styles, I wasn’t quite sure the best desk that would fit in the space. First of all, it couldn’t be too large, as the width available for the desk was limited by the swing of the front door. I wasn’t sure of a style either, as I had a mix of traditional and mid-mod style in the room. And budget-wise, I really didn’t have a ton of money to spend on a piece. So I started checking out Facebook Marketplace, where I had been successful selling my own furniture in the past. That’s when I came across this desk for $50 on a post, and fell in love. So I bought it.
A word of caution when buying secondhand
When you are buying furniture from a third party, you should keep a few things in mind. First, try to find out all the details about the piece’s history, such as who owned it, how much wear it has, whether the drawers work, and if it is damaged. I didn’t ask enough questions about this desk, but the price was right and I loved the style, so I basically bought it sight unseen. In retrospect, I should have asked more questions, because the desk was damaged a bit on the top and pretty scratched up. The worst part was that the owners were very heavy smokers, and the entire desk and its drawers had to be aired out for several weeks before I could do anything with them. Using baking soda, dryer sheets and other methods, I finally got the smoke smell out.
Another consideration when you are buying furniture secondhand is to be careful to meet in a safe location to purchase the item. Try to bring someone else with you to help you load the furniture in and out of your car and home. In this case, I had just enough room to fit the desk in the back of my new car, and I had a neighbor help me load it in the house that afternoon.
Live With The Piece For A Little Bit Before Giving it a Makeover
I loved the desk as it was, but because it wasn’t quite the right color to match the rest of my furniture, and it was also a little damaged, I knew that I needed to give it a little more love. But for at least a year, I lived with it unchanged in this spot. It fit perfectly in my entryway. I used it to store seasonal decorations and little things that you tend to set down as you leave or enter the home. I had planned to use this secondhand green chair in the space, but unfortunately it was too wide to fit under the desk. Again, lesson learned that I need to measure everything!
Let’s add some color to this Vintage Desk
So after about a year or so, I was finally ready to do something with the desk. It needed color. After all, this room has a lot of color already, and the desk needed to be refurbished. I scoured Pinterest for ideas, and came across a few colors that suited me. I didn’t want to necessarily go too bold with the color, and was trying to match the colors in my living room rug, which were jewel tones of plum, navy, aqua, orange, yellow and blue. So really any color would do, but not every color would do the desk justice.
Painting and Staining the Desk
Initially, I thought I could tackle the process of painting and staining the desk. After all, I’ve done many staining projects around our house, including our staircases and balusters. But I was afraid to ruin the desk if I made a mistake when painting it. So I elicited the help of a local artisan who was more experienced in repainting and staining furniture. She was also able to help me select the right colors and finishes to achieve the look I wanted. We ended up going with a Peacock blue mineral chalk paint by Dixie Belle, with a black wax glazed finish, and a walnut-stained top to match the existing living room furniture.
Finishing the Vintage Desk Makeover
I was excited to see the final transformation of my vintage desk. The process took a few weeks, as the lady painting the desk had to strip the top of the desk, sand it and cure it, and then stain and poly it. Then, she had to paint the base and the drawers. Next, she applied the black wax to seal the desk. Finally, she spray painted the original hardware drawer pulls black. I’ll show you the pictures of the process, and then the final result.
The Finished Vintage Desk Makeover reveal
I was so excited to pick up the desk when it was done being painted and stained. The suspense was killing me! And now, to reveal the final makeover of this vintage desk in all of its blue peacock glory:
It was worth saving and restoring this vintage piece
What is even more interesting to me about this desk is that I really don’t know who used it prior to me. Perhaps it was a writing desk in someone’s home for years. Was it used to pay bills? To study or do homework? I may never know. Today, it sits and looks pretty in my entryway. We use it for storage of odds and ends and to keep the clutter at bay. I am still looking for a vintage wooden chair to fit underneath the desk — perhaps another painting project? Keep posted on my blog for details. For now, here it is styled in my entryway:
My Thrift Store Challenge
Well, I’m happy with how my vintage desk makeover turned out. I hope I’ve inspired you to take a second look at your old, outcast furniture and decor. Perhaps you can give them a second chance and a makeover too. Some of my decor-loving friends on Instagram have joined together to present our thrift store makeovers. Check out what they found at the links below, and read how they transformed them and styled them in their home.
- Cloches and Lavender: Framed Wreath Art
- Shae at Sweet Southern Grace: DIY Valentine Pillow
- Emily at Le.Cultivateur: Vintage Wall Sconces
- Teresa at Through a Vintage Door: Styled Louvre Doors
- Danya at Just Another Farmhouse: Vintage Chest Makeover
- Dori at This Full Life 5: Painted Antique Hutch
- The House House Blog: Pub Table Makeover