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Home Office Desk Makeover

Today, we’re excited to share how we created our French Farmhouse inspired home office desk makeover from a $17 thrift store find!

Shortly before the One Room Challenge ended, I was out shopping with my mom trying to finish up a few last-minute details for the bedroom makeover.  I was laser focused on finishing the room so on the way to the store I asked my Mom to help me not be distracted by “shiny things” and to only let me take home those pieces that were perfect for the space or would be functional, long term.

Honestly, I knew we would be shoveling out everything from closets to the garage over the summer and the easiest way to deal with excess clutter is to not let it come into our homes in the first place, you know?

While we have a list of rooms that are scheduled to be completed by October, I had no plans of buying a desk or even starting on the office makeover before I had finished the bedroom makeover.

But the minute I walked into the first store on “The Loop” and saw this desk, I knew it would be perfect for my office.  Not only that, it was $34.95 and half off that day.

For the sake of full transparency, the desk was not in perfect condition.  It had all sorts of bumps and scratches and scrapes, but I knew the desk could easily be refreshed for the home office makeover.

That said, I knew from the beginning I wanted to buff the scratches out of the top of the desk so I could leave it wood and paint the bottom.

I used two coats of the color Primitive by Déco Art because it’s the same base color as the hutch in the dining room as well as the same color on the French farmhouse mantel and the bed crown too.

Once the two coats of Primitive had completely dried, I created a wash (equal parts paint and water) using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen and applied it to the base of the home office desk.

It’s very subtle but you can see how it adds another layer of patina to the desk.

To create a European oak style top for the desk, I simply sanded down the wood with a heavy grit sandpaper (40) and graduated slowly to a fine grit sandpaper (180) until the top was smooth.  As always, safety it paramount so make sure you’re using caution, care and proper safety precautions when performing these steps!

Next, I added a wash in French Linen so the paint would seep into the all the nooks and crannies of the wood and when it was almost dry, I wiped away the excess with a lint-free cotton cloth.  Then I used a wax brush to apply a layer of clear furniture paste wax followed by a layer of dark furniture paste wax. When the dark furniture paste wax was almost to a haze, I used a piece of fine steel wool to go over the entire top of the desk.

This technique takes away any extra waxy buildup and really helps to smooth out the surface while allowing you to maintain that worn over time rustic feel.  My only caution is if you’re new to using wax or even steel wool is to use gloves and a light touch because you don’t want to take off too much of the wax.

I know painted furniture has been declining in popularity over the past few years but if you love French farmhouse or cottage style, pairing a wood top with a painted bottom is a really easy way to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Plus, it’s an added bonus that this project can be completed in an afternoon give or take the drying time for the paint.

Keep in mind, you’ll want to make sure the furniture paste wax has plenty of time to cure so be sure to read all the instructions on the back of the can of wax.  It was a few weeks before we put anything on our home office desk.

Speaking of being completed in an afternoon, don’t forget changing out the hardware on furniture is a quick and easy update!

All in all, we’re making pretty good progress with the board and batten install for the office makeover. I painted this section shortly before I took these pictures.  My original plan was to paint the top in Bistro White and the bottom in Ultra White just to keep things light, bright and airy.  This room is definitely smaller than my last office and the window which would normally reflect the natural light is tiny.

I really wanted to try and use as many pieces of furniture from my old office as possible but honestly, I’m starting to wonder if it’s going to have the same preppy meets equestrian feel, I’ll keep you posted. If you’re new to painting furniture, you can find our step-by-step guide to painting furniture here.

Are you guys planning to paint any pieces of furniture this summer? Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. Bonnie Schulte says:

    I love how our desk turned out. Beautiful! And the price…what a wonderful deal.

    1. Thank you so much, Bonnie! I could not believe we were able to buy the desk for $17 either. We were definitely in the right place at the right time and I’m thankful to have plenty of elbow room now 🙂 Hope you have the best day, CoCo

  2. Vicki and Jenn says:

    CoCo – this desk transformation is stunning! We still love painted furniture because it is the easiest and most dramatic change that can be made.The finish that you created is amazing! Much love!

    1. I really appreciate it ladies, thank you! I think I’ll always be a fan of painted furniture for that same reason no matter how in style or out of style it might become. Give me a thrifted find, a can of paint, and an afternoon of creativity any day. Sending you both hugs, CoCo

  3. CoCo,
    Your new/old painted desk may be going out of stye because of being painted, but I believe good design is always in style. This desk has good bones, and the refresh brought it back to life. Thanks for the details about how to refinish with paint and wax.


    1. Such a sweet compliment, Judith, thank you! I could not believe I found a desk that had such specific measurements and on sale for $17 too. It definitely going to be a big blessing to have a desk this size to work at each day. Hope your day is a fabulous one, hugs, CoCo

  4. I never find deals like this Coco and you seem to all the time. I love the style and size of this desk. The color you have it painted is pretty too. Can wait to see the rest of this makeover.

    1. I was totally shocked to find this piece for $17 Sarah, it was totally bananas! We rarely see deals like that anymore. This will be on the biggest desks I’ve ever had as far as surface area goes so I’m really excited about it. We have just a few more things to do on the board and batten and then we’ll be ready to move onto decorating the office. It’s always my favorite part. Thanks so much for following along! Hugs, CoCo

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