before and after: my computer desk

| before and after makeovers

before and after: computer desk

thifted. ugly. brown. old. veneer. $20.

before and after: computer desk

functional. pretty. sturdy. revived. teal!

  • -chair is an antique find made form an old trough.
  • -blanket, picture frames and both lamps are thrifted.
  • -the map is of colorado springs (macvan maps; $10) (borders are a piece of molding from the hardware store that i spray painted black and stapled to the map to for easy hanging).
  • top picture is a piece of silk that i couldn't turn down at the fabric store- so i framed it!

before and after: computer desk

i refinished the desk by starting with a really good primer that would adhere to shiny surfaces (without sanding).  then, i painted it using two coats of teal latex paint.  once dry, i hit all the corners with a sander to give it that 'new but old' look and applied a stain to the entire surface (minwax, ebony).  after wiping off the stain and letting it dry, i topped it off with two coats of enamel.  it sounds like a lot, but i was done in two afternoons- and that was just because i had to let things dry!

before and after: computer desk

i lined the drawers with this pretty handmade paper (from the local art store) using permanent spray adhesive on the bottom and a polyurethane top coat to keep it from getting stained, scratched or torn.

before and after: computer desk

(i had to make at least one drawer manly)

before and after: computer desk

i repainted the old brass handles- a good primer, two coats of yellow latex paint, a cover of stain and then a protective coat of enamel (spray paint) did the trick.

before and after: computer desk

so there you have it! it's where i'm sitting right now- can you picture me in the chair?

happy weekend to you! and be safe on this halloween. :) david signed us up for a 5.5 mile trail run on sunday (eeks!) so i'll be sure to eat lots of candy afterwards. ;) see you monday! xo, bonnie


  • Oh my goodness! It’s SO beautiful! I just love it…the whole little corner is so sweet.

  • It looks AMAZING!!! Why did you put an ebony stain over it? Did I misread? haha- or does it just deepen the color a bit?? I am on the hunt for a new desk and I just LOVE how this looks.

    Good look with the race, too! Keep us updated :)

  • hi jessica! oh yes, it just deepens the color! takes it from bright aqua to a rich, ‘i’ve been this color for years’ look. you just brush it on and then wipe it off really well.

    i will! kinda nervous, i’m a bit out of shape!

  • You amaze me! I never seem to find the time for such projects. Kudos to you for a job well done (and then some!). So pretty!

  • Ooh la la. Loving the redo and the lamps. So sweet.

  • Bonnie, i Love Love your office area!!! so cute! I especially love the chair, i know you said it is an antique but where did you get it???

  • Great looking desk Bonnie. Good luck on the race!!

  • hi laina! we picked it up at an auction in clayton, ga. :)

    thanks michelle! miss you! :)

  • love the color of your desk! nice work!

  • Thanks, Bonnie! I’m getting together with Victoria (Klein) next weekend and I told her I’m lusting over your desk so I may need to go thrifting to find a desk of my own to turn uber snazzy. :)

  • Just found your blog, and this one is going in my bookmarks. Loving your design, photography, everything! Nice work!
    (Fellow BYWer)

  • Fab job! I especially love the paper in the drawers.

  • Looks great! I just bought some Sherwin Williams paint yesterday and I will get cracking on painting my $3 garage sale bureau…need new knobs as well. I just love repainting a piece of furniture like this. I was in a local Goodwill store yesterday checking out the furniture and they had ridiculous prices – desk for $20, coffee table for $4.99 and matching side tables for $4.99 each!!!! Aaah! I wanted to buy it all to repaint! maybe I will…:))

    • sarah, you should! then you should send me pics. ;)

  • Gorgeous! The teal is so pretty. I wouldn’t have known what to do with the shiny surface, so it’s good to know it can be covered up with primer – no sanding involved. So many good tips to be found here!

  • Gorgeous! What “good primer” did you use? I have some “shiny” furniture I want to paint…

    • hi teri! i think i used one for plastics, but listed veneer as an surface as well (i’ve already tossed it, sorry)!. just ask your hardware store and they’ll be able to tell you what the best is. i think mine was valspar brand- hope that helps!

  • Thank you!

  • Hi,
    I love how the color turned out so rich. What kind of stain did you use? Water based or oil? Does it matter what kind goes on top of latex paint, etc?

    • thanks nicole! i used minwax stain in ebony, i don’t think it matters what kind of paint it goes on but you might ask at the hardware store just to make sure! :)

  • Thanks Bonnie. My desk project is not working out! The top was veneer and the bottom was metal. So I thought I would do a two tone color scheme with teal blue on the wood veneer and either white or cream on the bottom. The issues started when I ran out of spray paint. I know it is best to use regular paint and brush on, but I have Fibromyalgia and between the pain and fatigue I can only do so much, so I cheat. lol So I decided I would go with a bright yellow base because that’s what I had at my house. Wow! It is ugly. It looks like Aqua Man! Going to repaint the bottom today if I can get out of bed a different blue tone. Perhaps a lighter blue/gray. What do you think? lol

    • nicole, sounds like a project you have there! mine had a veneer top as well so i just used a primer for slick surfaces. spray paint should work fine, it is just harder to create an even look and tone. i think a lighter gray would look great, or maybe the top should be yellow with the gray bottom? always remember that the stain will tone things down a bit. good luck!

  • Wow, I’d never have thought to use a stain. Nice work!

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