$5 Kids School Desk DIY Transformation

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Working from home with 2 little kids is certainly an adventure.  I came up with a great idea to help them feel empowered AND to buy myself a bit more work time that’s so simple, I can’t believe I didn’t come up with it earlier.

Our school district has warehouse sales and I picked up this desk for $5 + tax.  Not bad.  It’s in perfect shape (some weren’t, but they helped me find a good one).  Except for a left over piece of scotch tape or two, it didn’t even look used.  I picked this desk because it has simple lines and it has a cubby for the girls to quickly store their “work” where it’s put away and not cluttering my study.  It worked like a charm, even months later, the girls love getting to “work” along side me.  My younger daughter generally puts princess stickers on everything and my older daughter works on her writing in her workbooks (yes, she’s a nerd).


However, it still looked like a school desk and stood out like a sore thumb in my study.  I still haven’t really put my study together since it’s so easy to just close the doors and forget it when I have a million other things to do.  But, the basic scheme is a lot of bright white and grey with a classic feel, but with a little glam mixed in.  Painting the desk had been on the back-burner because I couldn’t decide how I wanted to paint it until I came across a similar project over at the Lilypad Cottage.  My older daughter glanced over my shoulder and shouted “Oh. My. Goodness!  Please, will you paint my desk like that one?”  No one can say “no” to those big blue eyes — I’m not exaggerating, she lights up a room when she walks in and no one has ever been able to resist her charm.

So it was.

Now, my study isn’t nearly as cute as the girl’s room at the Lilypad Cottage, but we’re (slowly) working on it.  My new rule is fun first, work second.  I’d love to have my study complete, believe me, but it’s getting hot and that pool (and my children) are literally calling.


The chair was a rescue from my grandmother’s storage that I painted a million coats of white paint until it finally actually became white (that was one stubborn paint project).  It was originally a prop for taking photos of my kids, but I knew it would come in useful somewhere in our house at some point.

The top piece came off easily with a screw driver, but our desk has the legs riveted on, so I painted the pink part first, then used blue tape and trash bags to mask off the gold area.  I prepped everything first by wiping it down with mineral spirits so that the paint would apply evenly.  I removed the chrome part of the legs prior to painting since it’s tough to get paint to stick to chrome + now it goes nicely adjacent to my chrome & glass desk.


I stocked the desk with crayons in a pencil case along with stickers, notebooks, coloring books, and workbooks from the dollar store.


I have ideas for adding interest to the wall above the desk, but again, FUN FIRST!  I plan to let the girls help me with this area since it’s theirs so it will be a great summer project.  I’m also on the lookout for a second chair to pull up to the side of the desk for when the girls want to “work” together.  It does happen from time to time.


The paints I used are above.  I used the 2X Rustoleum paint on Cora’s nightstand as well and I still recommend that you avoid it at all costs.  I didn’t want to buy it, but I also didn’t want to run around all day looking for ballerina pink paint.  It randomly craps all over your work, fortunately, it did that in an inside corner of the cubby so I didn’t have to sand and start over like I had to on the nightstand.  I used lacquer for the top hoping that it would be more durable and used an oil-based primer first.  This gold paint is the best I’ve found so far.  It never turns out like polished brass, but it has the best golden tone of all of the gold paints that I’ve tried.

I’m quite happy with how this project turned out!



  1. DIY Bulletin Board Make-Over – remodelicious

    July 18, 2014 at 8:40 am

    […] you saw the sweet-glam make-over we did for Chloe’s school surplus desk on my study, you may remember the desk looking a little lonely over in that corner all by itself. […]

  2. nicole dziedzic

    March 24, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Wow pretty amazing redo, love the white with the pink and the gold metal! I always see stuff like this at flea markets, my daughter would love this.

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