Thrift Store Desk: Trash to Treasure

Earlier this week I posted the above photo on Facebook of my little corner-of-the-room sewing space. This is just that, a small corner in our guest room I claimed as mine... all mine. No kid toys, no junk mail, no half-done ripped out coloring pages... just pretty. AND, this "pretty" I'm talking about is the DIY kinda pretty; made up of thrift store finds, dumpster dives, and DIY projects... including the desk (which is really what this is all about). Before we get to the trash to treasure desk, let me explain!
  • Mirror: $10 - Goodwill
  • Clock: $1 - Garage Sale (and it works!)
  • Glass Vases: FREE - Leftover wedding centerpiece items
  • Chair: $25 ish in supplies - Read about this garbage rescue/DIY project HERE
  • Pillow: FREE - Upcycle! Read about that one HERE
  • Curtains: FREE - More DIY mojo on those HERE
  • Desk: $40 - Thrift Store
  • Sewing Machine: FREE - It was a gift if you're wondering :)
That's right.  Even if we round up for things like tape and paint and supplies of the sort, this whole space was probably less than $100.

So where did I get the desk?  In a tiny thrift store in a strip mall behind a Wendy's. How's that for glamorous? After being turned off by the looks of this particular thrift store, I finally went in one day and discovered a gem. Yes, the place was small and kinda crummy but it was also a food bank for our community (had no idea).  All of their items were donations and all of their profits went to buy food for their pantry (which was also in the store). Anyone could come in and pick up peanut butter, bread, canned goods, etc... free of charge, no questions asked, at any time. How cool is that? I decided to stop by often to see if I could *ahem* do my part to help and purchase items. One day I found the desk.

I seriously looked twice, maybe 3 times, at the masking tape price sticker. Could it really be $40?! I asked to make sure. It was. I think I ran to pay and like a psycho calmly asked the loading guys to put it in my vehicle.... like right now! 

This picture actually makes it look in good shape... it was not. The veneer was lifting big time on the top. It was also chipped and missing in some places. There was a handle missing, some chunks of desk looked like they had been hacked off with a hammer, and it stunk like last years gym socks. But I saw the potential!

It took a week or so of glueing, sanding, filling, painting, and airing-out. 

In fact, I did the desk along side my dresser. You can read about that adventure HERE. Here they are as good buddies in my garage. :) This is why I have given up hope of parking in there. The desk was in no condition to be stained... unlike the dresser. This sucker needed paint to have a second chance at life.

Here's a closeup of some of the wood filler I used on the front.

I used the same white homemade chalk paint I used on the Goodwill end tables too.

I had to fill the original hardware holes in the top drawers since I wanted to use glass knobs there. The original hardware required 2 holes, the glass knobs needed only one hole in the center. So I filled, sanded, and drilled new holes.

After it was all painted I decided to add a scaled-down version of my DIY Moroccan stencil on the sides since that is the first thing you see when you walk in the room.
So, I hope you like my "trash to treasure" desk and that you're inspired to try out that sketchy thrift store you always pass but never go in :)


  1. That is a beautiful corner! I hope it stays "all yours".

  2. The desk turned out fantastic & I love a pop of yellow :)

  3. YOU always inspire me sister.. OMGOODNESS .. GOOD GRAVY that's beautiful and I love those curtains... STUNNING

  4. What a great makeover!!!!!! Gorgeous,fantastic..:)

  5. I love how your desk turned out and how clean your sewing area is... exact opposite of my area! lol.

  6. How impressive are you! Well done.
    I am currently trawling trying to find a crummy desk to give a little love to for my daughters bedroom. I hope it turns out half as well as yours!

  7. I, too, am in the middle of a desk re-do. Thanks for the inspiration to keep pushing forward!

  8. Gorgeous! I love the stencil on the side. Such a great idea! I'll be re painting a desk soon too and I'll have to swing by ye old craft store to see what stencils they have in stock

    1. Thank you! I still use this desk all the time. Just sat down at it last night to write a few post-Christmas thank you notes! :)