DIY Desk Transformation: From A Desk to A Vanity

I had almost made my room almost exactly to my liking. With one DIY project after another over the years, my room was becoming my own personal oasis. There was only one huge problem. It was in the form of a big clunky eyesore. This eyesore was an old heavy brown desk that sat in the middle of my small room. It not only made my room look smaller than it was, it didn’t match with any of my cream furniture.

I had talked to a few of my family members and found out that this desk was actually purchased in the mid to late 70s. It was cool to know that this desk had so much family history. But I hated the way this desk looked in my room to be honest. It left a smudge on my almost perfect masterpiece. I’m dramatic, I know.

To solve my problem, there were only two options moving forward: either throw the desk away or remodel it! Since I didn’t have a place to get ready at home, a vanity was a great idea. I also was not looking forward in straining my back, moving that heavy desk down to the curb.

Here’s a list of the materials I used:

  • Sandpaper
  • Roller (Small and Large)
  • Paint Brush
  • Metallic Spray Paint
  • Primer (Shellac-based)
  • Paint
  • Wall Stencil
  • Contact Paper

I started off cleaning out the contents of my desk. I cleaned off dust and dirt with Windex. After this I sanded it and whipped it down again. My desk was super dirty so this process took quite awhile. But once everything was all cleaned up, I made my way to the hardware store to get my supplies.




When I went to the store, the salesperson helping me told me that I couldn’t paint laminate furniture at all. He said that it will chip no matter what. This didn’t sound too accurate so I went ahead and got the shade of paint I wanted and the rest of my supplies. I knew that the key was in the primer used, especially when painting difficult surfaces. So I did a little bit more research and I found that most blogs recommended a shellac-based primer! So I went out and got that.

With my primer in hand, I painted my draws and mirror along with the desk itself. I put about 3 or 4 coats of this primer. I wanted to be making a good foundation for my paint. The primer itself was expensive so I made sure use it wisely.



I used silver metallic spray to paint the desk’s handles as well as the legs.  This just gave it a nice clean finish to bring the colours together! The original colours were way too dark to match with the new look.



The metallic spray was also used to paint the edges of my mirror. I wanted to tie the look of the mirror into the metallic finishes of the desk.

I chose to go with a blue-grey colour for my desk. I put about 2 coats of paint after the primer had dried completely. I also sanded and whipped clean between each coat. I made sure to wait until each layer was completely dry before doing this.



After the layer of paint had dried, I stenciled the sides of my desk and the front of the draws. I went with a scalloped pattern. Whist stenciling, I made sure to pick a direction of the pattern and stick to it throughout the whole process.


To tie in the look, I went with a similar pattern for the cover up the sides and insides of the drawers. I was able to do this with contact paper. Here is a technique that helped me line my drawers.

And there you have it, the finished product:




It took me about 5 days and about $80 in materials to complete this DIY project. I’m happy with the finished product for the most part. This was my first furniture remodel. And I did it completely by myself. There were a few errors her and there, but I think it was a good first remodel.