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DIY Desk Makeover: From Old Wood Desk to Adorable Desk for Girls Room

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A DIY Desk Makeover of an Old Wooden Desk: Easy Makeover of a Wooden Desk for a Girls Room.

A couple of years ago, I picked up an old wooden desk at a neighborhood yard sale. It was sitting at the end of the driveway with a big FREE sign, and I couldn’t resist.

An old wooden desk salvaged from a garage sale sits on grassy lawn. The desk is black and scratched and ripe for a DIY desk makeover.

I knew it was a diamond in the rough! My daughter had been talking about needing a new desk for her room, and I knew with a little TLC, it would make an adorable desk for her pink girls room.

(Note – this post was originally published all the way back in 2011. I’ve since updated it to provide more information about how I did this desk makeover, in the hopes that it adds more value to readers!)

My DIY Desk Makeover: Desk Makeover Ideas for a Girls Room

One Old Desk: How it Started

I’m not going to lie. This desk was in pretty bad shape. Most sane people probably would have passed it by, not planned a massive old desk makeover project!

But that’s just not who I am, okay?

The handles were all chippy…

A close up shot of an old wooden desk and drawer pulls as a before shot before a desk makeover project.

The old desk drawers were lined with 60-year-old newspaper (which were actually pretty cool to see!).

Old newspapers from the 1960s line the drawers of an old wooden desk before a makeover.

And the top of the desk was covered in a “wood” contact paper that took a lot of sanding and Goo Be Gone to get rid of the stickiness!

Faux wood contact paper that is scratched and in rough condition cover the top of an old wooden desk prior to a DIY makeover project
Faux wood contact paper that is scratched and in rough condition cover the top of an old wooden desk prior to a DIY makeover project. The photo shows the corners peeling away to reveal the wood underneath.

The Paint Job

No matter what, I knew my old desk makeover would need a paint job. The wood was in too rough a shape to leave it au naturel.

It took me a long time to decide what colors to paint it. I actually went through a whole bunch of different colors before deciding on the final look.

Before my desk makeover was complete, I gave this old wooden desk 2 coats of white pain, a coat of red paint, 2 coats of blue paint and then 3 more coats of white paint!

I painted the top of the desk in a beautiful robin’s egg blue color, to coordinate with the DIY Michael Jackson Desk Lamp and Upcycled Bench project. I painted the body of the desk white.

(And while I was at it, I painted the frame I used in my button monogram art for the BabyQ Baby Shower)

Old furniture sits on a drop cloth and dries after being painted white.


After painting the desk, I talked to my daughter about a stencil, and we decided on a spring-like bird and twig theme to fit the robin’s egg blue color.

I used my Cricut to cut a stencil from contact paper. However, if you don’t have a Cricut, feel free to pick up a pre-made bird on branches stencil.

A bird on a branch shaped stencil being made to use on the top of an old wooden desk that's painted robin's egg blue

As a tip, cover the area around the stencil with newspaper before you spray paint the stencil area. That will help you to avoid overspray, and messing up your gorgeous desk top!

Newspaper covers part of a desktop in preparation for spray painting a stencil on the desk
A brown bird on a branch is stencilled on a blue desk top

Upgrade the Drawer Pulls

While the stencil was drying, I decided the drawer pulls needed an upgrade.

While I could have bought new pulls, I wanted to keep this old desk makeover cheap and cheerful!

Instead, I used Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint on the drawer pulls. It made such a difference! 

A detailed photo shows freshly painted drawer pulls in oiled bronze and a white distressed drawer as part of a DIY desk makeover on an old wooden desk

Distressing the Desk

Finally, I decided to distress the desk as part of the makeover.

It was my first time distressing, and I love how it turned out. Because I’d given the desk so many different coats of pain in different colors, distressing was a way for some of that to shine through.

I absolutely love how the blue came out from the undercoats!

The final photo of a DIY desk makeover project shows a white and blue desk for a girls room, staged with desk accessories
A final photo of a DIY desk project shows distressed desk drawers in white and blue

Behold My Gorgeous DIY Desk Makeover for a Girls Room

I absolutely love how this desk makeover turned out.

And best of all? My daughter loved her new desk.

She was so excited, she did all the “staging” for this photo!

A completed desk makeover project with a blue desktop.

Final Thoughts About My Old Desk Makeover

I hope you liked seeing this project as much as I liked making it! I can’t believe we turned a FREE desk into a gorgeous desk for a girl’s room!

If you liked this project, please share it!

A Pinterest Pin with a photo showing a wood desk makeover for a girls room in blue and white. The text says DIY Desk Makeover Easy Desk for a Girls Room

Audra White

Saturday 22nd of May 2021

I applied the same coats of paint the same colors even. It is in my garage the humidity came and now it will t dry what should I do ?? And did you use a polyurethane of some kind as a 6th coat to end the process?? Please help thank you so much


Friday 16th of April 2021

I like this desk. If you would ever sell it please send me a email. Or give me some help on one I have now . Thank you ☺️


Tuesday 6th of September 2011

This is GORGEOUS!!! I love it! And Would LOVE it if you would link this project up at my turquoise lovin' party going on right now!!

evie @ brown paper packages

Tuesday 6th of September 2011

Wow, it turned out great! I really love that bird stencil!

Sew Delicious

Monday 5th of September 2011

Fantastic job! Looks beautiful!