Vintage Desk Makeover

Vintage Desk

For a Wednesday morning there sure were a lot of people lining up outside Goodwill for 50% off day. The furniture selection was exceptionally intriguing and I took home a vintage desk in need of some TLC. The glass knobs were cheap, the veneer top was pulling off, and the right front feet were broken in half, but the drawers work well and I knew I could fix the issues.


Wood glue and wood filler are your friends when rehabing furniture. I glued and clamped the broken pieces from the feet (luckily they were inside the drawer) and the top. The gaps in the glued feet I patched with wood filler, as well as one of the back feet that was chipped pretty badly. After patching the chipped corner with Minwax stainable wood filler, I took my palm sander to the top to smooth things down. I want a really clean surface to stain.

Now for the fun part! I painted the base of the desk CraftSmart’s “Silver Gray”, one of my all-time favorite colors. It’s a great neutral that works well on vintage pieces but also blends with more modern decor. The top I stained Minwax “Driftwood”. It’s a rustic color that’s not too dark and not too light that brings out the natural beauty of the wood.

A word about staining over wood filler: even if you use stainable wood filler and stain meant to work with said wood filler you will not get the same look and color as the rest of the natural wood top. I used a dark walnut gel stain over the wood filler corner and the other corners to blend it in for an aged look to the top. It’s not what I was originally going for, but I think it works.

Once everything dried and was sealed and distressed, I added some vintage-style ivory crackle knobs and lined the drawers with patterned liners I got a while back at Target.

When looking for drawer liners make Target’s “Dollar Spot” your first stop. The rolls are small but only $3 each isn’t bad. I’ve used Contact brand paper and I’ve found it so thin and difficult to work with compared to the thick, heavy duty Target liners. If you have larger pieces to line you can try wrapping paper and a double-sided tape or spray adhesive, but the thin paper tears easily and can be difficult to work with. I’d recommend self-adhesive wallpaper rolls from Target or Michael’s. They’re expensive (use coupons if you can) but are worth it.

I’m in love with this desk and wish I had the space to keep it…even though I recently got rid of my old desk to make more room for the twins! Sometimes it’s difficult to part with the projects I put a lot of work into and turn out really nice. I know I can’t keep them all and it is really satisfying when I know they’ll be appreciated in new homes.

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