Old school desk makeover

Old school desk makeover

How I turned attic treasure into cute kids furniture.

You know that the kids from Goonies found that treasure map in their attic? And you know how the news will occasionally have a story about people buying an old house and finding some valuable art or historical item left behind in the attic?

Well, friends, I too was lucky enough to find some left behind treasure in the attic of our house. Yes!!!! It may not be valuable or even treasure to other people, but I loved it instantly. It was a rusty old school desk and chair.

Kids School Desk Makeover. How I turned a beat up old school desk into a cute family heirloom with a little scrubbing and paint.
This old school desk was rusted and covered in grunge when I found it hiding in the attic.

This thing looked rough. It was scraped up, rusted, and covered in gunk. It needed some serious DIY love. I found it in 2012, when we moved in, but it sat in the garage, neglected for another 2 years. In that 2 years, we were busy making this house livable and having our first beautiful boy.


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In 2014, I finally found time to give the old school desk a makeover. Yea for nap time! I scraped and scrubbed off as much of the rust as possible. I used Citri-Strip Gel on the chair seat and back to remove the layers of old varnish. I tried the Citristrip on the desk top, but it has some sort of laminate on the top. I had to leave it pretty much as-is after a good cleaning. The paint on the metal didn’t budge either.

But once the varnish and rust was off, I was ready to start the makeover. I couldn’t decide whether to stain or paint the wooden parts of the chair and desk. If I did it today, I probably would have stained it first then added a few colorful stripes. But in 2014, I decided to paint it the same color as my son’s room and top that off with lots of colorful stripes. It took lots of painters tape and many coats of different colors. I covered all of the metal in this spray paint. It has a rust inhibitor that has worked perfectly for the last 2 years.

Kids School Desk Makeover. How I turned a beat up old school desk into a cute family heirloom with a little scrubbing and paint.
Makeover complete on this old school desk
Kids School Desk Makeover. How I turned a beat up old school desk into a cute family heirloom with a little scrubbing and paint.
These stripes always make me happy!

I love this little desk. Now that my oldest is getting close to school age, I can picture him doing homework at it or just playing ‘school’ with his brother. How adorable, right! I want to find another so that each of the boys can have one, but that’s just another item on my never-ending to-do list. Maybe one day…

Kids School Desk Makeover. How I turned a beat up old school desk into a cute family heirloom with a little scrubbing and paint.
Desk makeover complete. Class is in!
Makeover that rusty old school desk into a family treasure. #schooldesk
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Looking for your next woodworking project? Check out my Chunky Leg Farmhouse Bench DIY.

Farmhouse Style DIY Upholstered Bench Plan with Tongue & Groove shelf. Makes a great end of bed bench, dining table bench, living room coffee table or entry bench.


Feeling inspired? Want to do your own old school desk makeover? Follow the links above to get the things you’ll need from Amazon. Have fun and let me know if you have questions. Or post pictures of your work and tag Abbotts At Home on FB, I’d love to see it!

7 thoughts on “Old school desk makeover

  1. Your desk turned out so awesome! I love the colours that you chose and the stripes you added! Great makeover!!

  2. I absolutely love this desk makeover and those stripes are perfect. Thanks for sharing it with us at Waste Not Wednesday as I picked it for my feature of the week. Keep coming back and inspiring us all. 🙂

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