Refurbishing a desk in six easy(ish) steps…

it depends on who you ask. I thought it was a little challenging at times, but for Jeff it was a piece of cake.

Jeff Sanding Desk

In case you were wondering (I’m sure you were on pins and needles), this is the project we worked on in the SUN last weekend that I bragged about sharing with all of you. I might have oversold it a tad, so I hope you’re not too disappointed. 🙂

Last week, Jeff and I took to Craigslist to see if we could find a small desk that would work for my little room. Luckily, we ended up buying the first one we found for only $30 dollars! Doing this instead of purchasing a new desk is more time-consuming, but definitely more budget-friendly. And these days, Jeff and I LOVE budget-friendly solutions. It’s all part of that being young and poor thing, right? At least that’s what we keep telling ourselves.

Desk Before

Since this project is more user-friendly than some of the others we’ve worked on, I thought I would walk you through our process in case you wanted to try your hand at a desk or other piece of furniture. If you’re as lucky as I am, you have your own version of Jeff around to help.

Here are the steps we took to refurbish the desk (with Jeff’s consultation of course):

1. Remove the old handles and knobs. I knew a head of time I wanted to replace the old ones, but if you plan on reusing them that’s great. Besides, you’re probably doing the environment a service too. 🙂

Removing Desk Knob

2. Sand off the old finish. Jeff says you can do the entire desk with sandpaper, but it’s much easier to use an orbital sander (don’t worry, that’s a new term for me too). Start with 80 girt sand paper and follow-up with 180 grit. Sandpapers with lower grit like the 80 we used are best for removing old stain. The 180 grit sand paper is best for preparing furniture for the stain and finish.

Jeff with Sander

3. Apply the stain. On this particular desk we used two coats, but it’s totally up to your discreation. You brush on the stain, let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe it off.

Staining Desk

Wipping Off New Stain on Desk

Wood Stain Can

In case you’re wondering we used Minwax Wood Stain in Driftwood

4. Apply the polyurethane. Once the stain is completely dry brush on a coat of polyurethane. Jeff also says to look out for dripping, because you don’t want drip marks to dry on the furniture.

Polyurethane Can

5. Let the polyurethane dry overnight, do a light sanding with a high grit sandpaper, and apply one more coat of polyurethane.

Polyeurathane on Desk

6. Last but not least, put the knobs and hooks on the drawers. I chose ones from Anthropologie, which you can find on their website, here and here. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that these cost more than the desk, but I guess that’s what happens when your desk is only $30.

New Desk Knobs

7. And this is completely optional, but show it off to all your friends! In 3, 2, 1…

Desk After 2

I’m still not 100% sure if this is going to serve as a desk, vanity or both, but as soon as I figure it out you’ll be the first people to know!

Desk Before and After

Hopefully this post came just in time for your own weekend DIY project! Let me know if you have any questions or advice for others.

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7 thoughts on “Refurbishing a desk in six easy(ish) steps…

  1. Pingback: A two cent fix… | Less Than Average Height

  2. Pingback: A little DIY project via trial and error… | Less Than Average Height

  3. Pingback: I’ve been meaning to post these updates for a while… | Less Than Average Height

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