How to Turn an Antique Dresser into an Awesome Desk
So, it turns out that when you blog or manage your family’s finances, schedules, and meal planning, you tend to spend a lot of time in your home office. I certainly have. Well, if you have a tiny desk to use as your work surface you’ve probably experienced the frustration of having little to no space to spread out and organize. We had an adorable little desk that got a few beauty treatments (Decoupage Desk, Beautifully Blue and Daringly Distressed Desk), but no matter what I did to the outside, it did not fix the one major flaw: its size. We needed something bigger, there was no doubt about that.
One day I was doing a little garage saling when I pulled up to one that had this really cool dresser. Too many times I’ll see something like this and upon closer inspection realize it’s either way overpriced or way over abused. This one was neither of those things. It was in good condition, had tons of character, and was only priced at $40.
I snagged it up and immediately began dreaming of changing it into a desk. If you have a similar dresser that you no longer need, but would like a nice big desk, stick with me, because I’m going to give you the step by step process for making that happen. Here is how to turn an amazing dresser into an awesome desk.
Take out the middle drawers. Save them for a really cool project in the future. You never know what you’ll need old drawers for (said the hoarder of odd furniture pieces).
Cut out the drawer supports in the middle. I was hoping to just buzz my circular saw through these, but space was too much of an issue, so I got out the hand saw. There was a wooden framing and then a cardboard like board to go between the drawers.
For the cardboard stuff, I wasn’t too worried about getting a perfectly straight cut as it serves no structural purpose and it’s going to be covered anyway.
Now, we want to cover the ugly parts of the inside of this dresser to make it more interesting and visually appealing. Add some boards into the middle to support your mini plank wall (or whatever you chose to hang in there). I used leftover pieces that were lying around. Make sure they are all the same height so you have a flat surface.
On a side note, I found it to be a lot easier to turn the whole thing over on its back for these steps.
Measure the back and sides of the cavity you just made to cut your boards to size. I had been given these really cool old horse fence rails from my aunt’s farm (check out here amazing blog: Our Friesian Stallion) that I decided would be perfect for the job.
Attach your back boards first. Take note that the ones at the bottom will be easier to see than the ones up top, so decide which boards you like best and arrange them accordingly. If you have big gaps in your boards from where the horses chewed on them like mine did, you can spray paint a dark color underneath.
Once you have them arranged, use a nail gun to secure them down.
The sides were tricky because of the lack of supporting boards. In hind sight, I would have added more. What I did to make sure they were all secured enough was alternate them in front and behind each other.
Now you are ready to get some painting done! Let me just say, I’m always amazed at how a little paint can completely transform something. I decided to try a whitewashed look, even though this is a smooth surface. I did my research and read many tutorials on how to do get the white wash look.
What it came down to was these simple steps:
- Water down the paint
- Less is more as far as how much you dip your brush in the paint
- Lightly brush on a layer in a straight line
- Wipe with a paper towel and dry brush to smooth it out.
I did this outside on a sunny day, so the paint dried really quickly. I was literally done in less than an hour!
Get your strong husband to help you move the thing in your office and enjoy the extra space.
And that is how to turn an antique dresser into an awesome desk! As I sit here typing this out, I’m admiring and loving how this piece turned out and I’m sure you’ll love yours. It is so rewarding to find a thrifted piece of furniture, like the dresser that this was, and turn it into something useful and beautiful.
If you are interested in seeing more furniture flips, you have to check out the blog: Prodigal Pieces. Larissa gives me so much inspiration there!
Thanks for stopping by! It would be so fun if you shared your furniture transformations on my Facebook page!