How to paint a desk

Painting or repainting a wood desk is an excellent approach to offer new life to an outdated piece of furnishings and refresh your decor. Prepping and priming are necessary steps and help give your paint job an professional look. In case your desk has a varnished finish, sand it correctly to help the paint adhere to the ground. As quickly because the paint completely dries, you would wish to apply a coat or two of clear polyurethane to the desk’s prime. Polyurethane helps defend and shield the paint, and is very useful for desks in kids’s rooms.


Place a tarp beneath the desk. Mark the order of the drawers as you’re taking away them by placing their amount on a little bit of tape caught to the underside. Take away and put apart drawer handles and completely different {{hardware}}. Place a second tarp on a countertop or completely different elevated ground to hold the drawers with their fronts hanging the sting. This allows you to paint the drawers with out bending.

Fill a bucket with warmth water. Add a small amount of vegetable oil-based cleaner, if the desk’s ground is painted. If the desk’s ground is varnished, dissolve a small amount of trisodium phosphate, or TSP, throughout the water in its place. Placed on rubber gloves when using this stronger chemical decision. Wring out a rag throughout the acceptable cleaning decision and clear all surfaces of the desk. Allow the wood to dry.

Calmly sand all surfaces of the desk using a 220-grit sandpaper. Roughing up the ground on this methodology will help the model new paint stick. If the desk has a chipped or flaking finish, use a heavier 100-grit sandpaper to scrub the robust spots, then finish with lighter sandpaper. Wipe off all traces of mud and grit with a transparent, damp cloth.

Priming and Painting

Apply a lightweight coat of paint primer with a medium-sized paint brush. Should you’re altering the color of the desk dramatically, apply a second coat of primer. Making use of two or three mild coats of primer will give increased outcomes that one heavy coat. Search the recommendation of the product’s directions as to the amount of drying time needed sooner than painting.

Apply a lightweight coat of latex enamel paint, using a medium paint brush. Begin painting on the prime of the desk and work down. On the doorway physique of the desk, paint the entire horizontal gadgets first, adopted by the vertical gadgets. Paint the desk’s sides from prime to bottom, then finish by painting the fronts of the drawers .

Allow the paint to dry for not lower than two hours, or as directed on the paint can, sooner than together with a second mild coat. Counting on the diploma of color change and the paint’s safety, you would wish to use a third coat of paint.

Reattach the desk’s handles and {{hardware}} as quickly because the paint has completely dried.

Desk repainting might be a simple and easy course of within the occasion you place collectively appropriately and execute your enterprise with care and endurance. Select the appropriate devices for the job. Use a paint roller or top quality brushes to cease stray brush hairs from coming unfastened and sticking to your finish; use a screwdriver to remove {{hardware}} similar to knobs and drawer slides sooner than you begin; and buy sandpaper of assorted grits to meet your needs. Decide on a color that matches your tastes and the desk’s setting, and work in an open house the place any shut by flooring and furnishings will most likely be safe from spilled or splattered paint.

Painting Over Outdated Paint

If the desk’s ground is free from peeling or unevenness, it will probably prevent time by painting over the prevailing paint. Sand the whole ground with medium-grit sandpaper to scrub any robust edges or bumps, then go over the ground with a fine-grit sandpaper. This may increasingly create a significantly robust ground to which your primer can adhere. After sanding, apply a coat of primer and allow it to dry in accordance with the instructions on the container. After the primer dries, sand as soon as extra with fine-grain sandpaper, then wipe it clear and apply your paint.

Eradicating Outdated Paint

Chemical paint or varnish removers work correctly for eradicating outdated paint. Evaluation various paint removers and select the easiest one in your enterprise. Defend your pores and pores and skin with gloves and prolonged sleeves whereas making use of paint remover, then scrape the outdated paint with a metallic putty knife or chisel or wash it away. Older painted furnishings may comprise lead and completely different heavy metals, so have your paint examined by a state licensed Menace Assessor within the occasion you believe you studied lead paint. If there could also be lead paint, you would wish to shade instantly over the outdated paint or abandon the enterprise, as lead paint particles are extraordinarily toxic.


Some paint may escape your chisel or putty knife. Take away this with a rough-grain sandpaper, 60- to 80-grit, then sand the whole ground with medium-grit sandpaper to remove any imperfections. For a extremely clear ground, sand as soon as extra with fine-grit sandpaper. Use a sanding block on huge, flat surfaces. If a sanding block is unavailable, uncover a block of wood that matches comfortably in your hand and use it to press down in your fine-grit sandpaper. The smoothness of your wood determines the smoothness of your closing painted product.


Take into consideration the type of paint to utilize. Oil base coats are well-liked picks on account of they take longer to dry, and this allows the paint additional time to flatten and conceal brush marks. Their drawbacks embody strong odors and further downside cleaning up. Faster drying water bases lack the odor of an oil base and you will clear up spills with simple cleansing cleaning soap and water. Steer clear of brush marks by preserving your brush correctly coated or using a paint roller.

Drying and Sealing

Allow each coat of paint to dry for about one full day in case you’re using an oil base, or half that time for a water base. Your required finish determines the number of coats to make use of. Thinner bases reveal the texture of the ground beneath, so use fewer coats if you need your desk’s wood grain to point through the paint. To cover the ground, apply additional coats and use darker colors. After your closing coat dries, add your sealer. Polyurethane sealers present the potential for a flat or shiny finish, whereas varnishes current a additional typical look. In each case, do not apply your finish until your closing coat of paint dries, or you would brush some paint away.

Years up to now, I painted an outdated dresser white with turquoise knobs. It appeared truly cute, however it was apparent that it was painted – the ground wasn’t anyplace near the usual of the furnishings you will buy from the store.

There are so many tutorials on-line about painting furnishings, and so many say which you’ll be able to skip sanding or priming. Proper right here’s my suggestion – don’t skip sanding, don’t skip priming, and use high-quality paint.

Presently, I had been accessible available in the market for a model new desk in my craft room. I was determined to find an entire lot on an outdated picket piece after which decide one of the best ways to color the desk as an professional would.

You see, my current desk was an outdated kitchen desk. Ash was throughout the technique of updating my craft room with gorgeous built-in bookshelves and a window seat, so it was time for my kitchen table-desk to get the boot.

I didn’t want to pay $200 for a model new, modern-looking desk, so I scoured various flea markets and thrift retailers. Lastly, at a Habitat for Humanity thrift retailer. I found a brown picket desk that I may go with. It was initially $40, nevertheless with a 50% coupon – I paid $20.

Being that my craft room would have principally white furnishings, I decided to try my hand at finding out one of the best ways to color a desk like an professional.

How one can Paint a Desk White

Underneath is a picture from sooner than I started painting the picket desk.

It’s not a implausible picture. It had solely been throughout the storage for about two hours, and Ash had the desk lined with devices and wood from one different storage storage enterprise. (I should have taken a larger picture, nevertheless I am on a regular basis so excited to start out out my duties that I neglect.)

Preparing the Picket Desk

Sooner than painting the desk, the very very first thing I did was take away the drawers and knobs. Then I cleaned the desk very properly – wiping off mud and something that had collected on the ground.

The next step of the desk makeover was sanding it down. To sand, I used a random orbital sander with 80-grit paper. This purchased the desk proper right down to the bare wood quickly. Nonetheless, regardless that the desk was clear to the contact, I perhaps should have gone over it with 220 grit paper afterward for a additional super finish.

Proper right here is the desk after the sanding and sooner than painting. Uncover I put the toes of the desk on gadgets of wood to elevate it up, so I could merely sand, prime, and paint the desk’s legs.

Priming the Picket Desk

After I was accomplished sanding, I wiped the desk down as soon as extra to get the whole sawdust off. You must make the most of a cheesecloth for this and even paper towels. Subsequent, I was ready for the primer.

Priming Provides

I had a 2-gallon bucket of indoor/outdoors primer leftover from painting the shed ultimate summer time season, so I was all capable of go.

I used a giant roller brush for the desktop. Then I used a small roller brush and a 1-inch brush for corners and tight areas.

In addition to, I used a 1-inch foam brush for the rungs.

Should you’re questioning what primarily probably the most tough part of painting a desk – it was painting the rungs. The rungs on this desk have been in such shut proximity to at least one one other.

As shortly as I would paint one side of the rung, the paint would assemble up on the bordering sides.

I would then clear this, and as quickly as as soon as extra, the bordering sides would have some build-up, persevering with the cycle.

Thus, I wanted to very meticulously spend time painting the desk rungs, being cautious to not use an extreme quantity of paint, and being conscientious about going spherical and spherical to scrub the whole thing.

In case your furnishings has a design like this, make certain to go away quite a few time (and have a great deal of endurance).

Moreover, given that foam brush was positioned on such a lightweight coat of primer, I knew I need to don’t lower than two coats on the rungs of the desk I was painting.

After two coats of primer on lots of the surfaces (I did three on the best of the desk along with the rungs), I was pleased with the outcomes and continued on to painting.

Painting A Picket Desk White

After priming, I was ready to start out out painting. I was already pleased with how the white primer was making an attempt and was excited to finish up the enterprise.


For this, I used high-quality enamel paint (urethane acrylic satin).

One in every of these paint differs from frequent paint in that the paint pigments are floating in a urethane decision so it dries to sort a extremely laborious, defending ground – very like how polyurethane dries.

It is pricey (about $50 a gallon), however it’s actually helpful for furnishings that can get loads of use. (Moreover, I solely used about 1/three of the can painting the desk, so I had a superb amount left for future duties.)


To make use of this explicit paint on the desk, I used a foam roller brush.

It’s recommended to utilize a foam brush with one among these paint to supply it a clear finish.

Whenever you use a each day nap roller (like these you make the most of when painting partitions), it ought to take in and waste loads of the paint, and it leaves a textured finish.

Together with the froth roller brush, I moreover used a 1-inch foam brush for the rungs and tight areas.

I utilized a thick topcoat on the whole surfaces of the desk, taking my time with the rungs.

After it dried, I put a second coat on the best of the desk solely. This supplied additional security on this ground since it’s going to get loads of placed on and tear.

Moreover, this perhaps goes with out saying, however when it’s a windy day, paint your furnishings throughout the storage within the occasion you may, so particles don’t blow and stick with your piece.

Proper right here’s how the painted desk turned out:

The White Painted Desk

The ground of the painted desk had a pleasing defending enamel that made it easy to wipe, and it appeared expert painted.

Nonetheless, the painted desk nonetheless appeared like there have been ridges throughout the wood; it wasn’t a shiny, clear finish identical to the brand-new furnishings you buy instantly from the store.

Don’t get me incorrect, I was nonetheless very pleased with the best way through which the picket desk turned out. Nonetheless, in hindsight, as soon as I sanded the desk proper right down to the bare wood (regardless that the wood felt clear to the contact), I perhaps should have gone over it with 220 grit paper for a additional super ground.

The 80-grit paper quickly purchased the outdated finish off, nevertheless the 220 would have given it a smoother seal.

I nonetheless preferred the best way through which the painted appeared – it was a welcome addition to our shiny, ethereal craft room, and I found exactly one of the best ways to color a desk.

​​Proper right here’s a side-by-side view of the sooner than and after photographs of one of the best ways to color a desk. Not unhealthy, correct?!

Time & Worth of Painting a Picket Desk

The time span of painting the desk was the course of per week – along with dry time and airing out time. The paint fumes weren’t strong, nevertheless barely additional time certainly not hurts.

​All the worth obtained right here to $70. The desk was $20, and the paint was $50. We had beforehand purchased the primer and the painting provides, so that wasn’t a worth for us.

​And, there was primer and paint leftover for the next enterprise 🙂 Should you’re questioning one of the best ways to color a desk like an professional, the following advice and strategies should undoubtedly set you in your methodology, preserving you loving your professional-looking piece for longer.

30 Suggestions

Stopping by from Sunday’s Best. I actually like how the desk turned out. I’ve an outdated dresser that I’m hoping to finish this summer time season. Thanks for the concepts and the inspiration. I’m making an attempt forward to seeing additional of your posts.

Y’all know I normally circle the native thrift retailers throughout the hopes of discovering new treasures. Ultimate week, I found a secure wood desk with various scratches and dings, nevertheless complete in truly good scenario. I mixed up a batch of color with some leftover paint samples, and reworked this quaint desk into a good looking inexperienced gem good for my little girl’s room.

Proper right here’s the Sooner than and After:

I had been looking out for a desk for my daughter’s room, and acquired truly lucky as soon as I observed the $16.00 price tag on this desk on the native St. Vincent de Paul. Positive I do know. Sixteen {{dollars}}.

Nonetheless get this. I requested the supervisor for a discount, and he gave me 40% off, so I solely paid $9.60 for this secure wood desk. Full ranking !

It’ll have been easy to sand it down and stain it like I did with this dresser, nevertheless with these feminine base legs and that French style {{hardware}}, I merely wanted to position it in my daughter’s room, and that meant I wanted to color it.

I was impressed by these shiny gadgets I observed on the native Classic Truthful various weeks up to now, selling for plenty of of {{dollars}}.

I decided, reasonably than painting the desk a cream color like the whole completely different furnishings in her room, that I would mix it up ! Be daring ! Paint it inexperienced ! Nonetheless what color inexperienced ?

I had some leftover color from her wall paint, added some apple inexperienced paint from my stash, and I mixed in some gray too for a personalized color.

Painting Older Picket Furnishings:


Step One: Take away {{hardware}}. Sand your ground to remove any varnish or particles in preparation of primer.

Step Two: Prime your piece with an excellent primer. I need the spray choice as a result of it saves loads of time, nevertheless you may even use a brush on like Zinsser’s oil based throughout the brown can. Allow to dry for actually helpful time. I extraordinarily counsel these snap on spray paint weapons, they save time and finger cramps, plus assist with even software program.

Step Three: Roll on the paint with a roller and adjust to up with a paintbrush to scrub any uneven spots and fill in any laborious to achieve nooks. Apply two coats and allow to dry for 24 hours.

Just some helpful recommendations on paint software program:

  1. Use a model new roller brush (not the rolling software program, the roller brush itself). I tried to be “inexperienced” and reuse an outdated roller leftover from a earlier enterprise, however it had tiny fibers and dirt on it, which ended up in my paint, and I wanted handy determine all of it out, shedding about thirty minutes and inflicting intense frustration. Aaarrrggghh. Spend the extra $2 for the model new roller – perception me.
  2. Paint in an house the place there is no probability of a breeze. In my case, it was my storage with the storage door closed and the screened window open. I’ve tried to paint exterior various events, nevertheless the gnats and dirt on a regular basis results in my paint, and I truly wasn’t looking out for that additional “texture”.

Proper right here I am painting in my storage ultimate Thursday late at night in frustration on account of my non-public favorite was kicked off American Idol. I was working off my anger. (My poor Danny. Sniff, sigh.)

Step 4 (non-obligatory): Whenever you search a distressed or antiqued look, go over the edges of your painted ground calmly with sandpaper to disclose the wood beneath.

Step 5: Apply a protectant like Minwax Polycrylic to your piece to protect your marvelous paint job. I prefer to make use of Minwax merchandise for an excellent objective. Whenever you’ve distressed your edges with sandpaper, the poly moreover helps to bolster the wood tone beneath. Allow your poly to dry for not lower than 24 hours.

This French style {{hardware}} antiqued and beautiful so I didn’t paint or polish it.

I lined the drawers with some pretty paper too.

Proper right here’s the desk in her room:

What do you all take into account the model new desk? Are you about to paint a little bit of furnishings and completely rework it? Do inform.

For months, I watched TikTok video after video offering DIY recommendations on one of the best ways to color furnishings. I had the grand idea of eventually updating my desk, as an essential step in giving my workspace a elevate.

My long-overdue plan to supply my desk a makeover lastly obtained right here to fruition as soon as I went right into a home enchancment retailer and obtained right here all through some paint samples. I was impressed!

Energetic work time: Three and half hours

Desk Painting Offers:

• 150 medium grit sanding paper

• Dry cloth to remove mud

• Degreaser and cleaning towel

• 4-inch paint roller

• 1 ½ inch chip brush

Choosing a Paint Color

I wanted a color which may be soothing and pleasing, significantly since I’ll most likely be observing all of it day.

I decided on a muted pale mint inexperienced often known as Restful! The color was part of the Coastal Cool assortment described by Sherwin Williams as creating “a recent, breezy feeling that beckons barefoot comfort.”

Yup that matched the mood I wanted for my desk and room.

Along with the 29-ounce can of paint, which worth about $16, I moreover picked up some sanding paper and a paint roller. In all, I spent decrease than $30.

Prepping for Paint

As quickly as I had the paint and equipment, I went to work, emptying the whole thing inside since this was an excellent various to declutter and organize each drawer.

From there, I began prepping the desk for painting. I went through and eradicated the entire {{hardware}} and saved it for later.

Sanding the Desk

The desk had a thin layer of white paint that, via the years, began to look additional beige. Fortuitously for me, it wasn’t too thick and didn’t require a paint stripper.

I went throughout the desktop, gave it a lightweight sanding using the hand sander throughout the image beneath, and adopted it up with a dry cloth to decide on up any leftover mud.

I gave the rest of the desk a deep clear using a degreaser. Subsequent, I pulled out the entire drawers and as soon as extra cleaned a number of of the mud from inside.

Painting the Desk

Now to the pleasing half, the painting. Sooner than I did any painting I made sure to cowl the bottom with newsprint as a precaution. After opening my paint and giving it an excellent mix, I used to have the ability to pour it proper right into a small tray. I chosen a paint that didn’t require a separate primer coat.

Since my desk isn’t exactly massive, I knew a 4-inch roller and 1 ½ inch paintbrush would get the job carried out fast. It took me about an hour to finish one layer, prepared about 30 minutes sooner than the second layer. In all, it took about two and half hours to paint.

The roller did a implausible job defending the first layer, and I used the comb for some hard-to-reach corners. The roller left the paint go on a bit thick with some texture, however it evened out as quickly because it dried.

I gave the whole desk and drawers an preliminary layer after which let it dry sooner than giving it a second coat. Then I went once more with my brush to get some areas I missed throughout the legs. I let the desk sit out throughout the photo voltaic for the rest of the afternoon so it might proceed to dry.

Even if I gave it a number of layers I nonetheless had larger than half the can full. I closed it instantly. Don’t neglect to study our concepts for one of the best ways to retailer paint to have the flexibility to reuse for future touchups or presumably one different piece of furnishings!

Painting the {{Hardware}}

As I waited for the last word layer to dry, it was time to supply my {{hardware}} a pleasing substitute. Until I observed I certainly not picked up any spray paint. It wouldn’t be a DIY enterprise within the occasion you didn’t go to the home enchancment storage larger than as quickly as a day, correct?

After perusing the spray paint half for a couple of minutes, I decided to associate with a rose gold metallic spray paint on account of it stood out barely larger than the copper.

Honestly, I found spray painting barely tougher than painting my full desk. It was later throughout the day and barely windier, so I needed to confirm to hold down the newspapers whereas I sprayed on the color and wait about 15 minutes between coats to let it dry.

It took a number of coats to get the desire colored. To save lots of plenty of time, you presumably can determine up new handles collectively along with your paint reasonably than touching up the outdated ones.

Sooner than the day was over, with the help of sunny Southern California local weather, my desk was dry, and I was able to ship it inside.

The subsequent day I added the {{hardware}}, and I used to have the ability to have the benefit of the model new view!

If this has impressed to supply your furnishings a makeover, you then we’ve moreover purchased skilled adorning methods to freshen your own home. Whenever you’re in need of furnishings, then uncover methods to retailer like knowledgeable at a flea market to furnish your own home.

These good look at areas for distance finding out from creative mom and father may assist the youthful ones finding out in your own home.