secretary desk makeover

Hi everyone! I’m Reeves from The Weathered Door and I am excited to be here today sharing a fun furniture makeover with you! Updating and revamping furniture is one of my favorite things to do, so it only seems right to share my most recent piece.

Navy Secretary Desk WD-10

I found this antique secretary desk at my local Habitat ReStore. I do sometimes stain pieces, but for this desk staining was not a great option because of marks and rings on the top as well as some problems with the veneer on the flip down section of the desk. So, paint it was! Maybe it’s just the time of year, but I’ve been into darker colors lately and blue is one of my favorites so settling on navy was a pretty easy decision.

Navy Secretary Desk before WD-1

I had a few options for the navy color but they were too dark. Instead I chose to use a few of General Finishes Milk Paint colors (it’s an acrylic paint, not a true milk paint) to make my own custom color. I started with the color Coastal Blue and added some Persian Blue to lighten up the color. Then, to grey out the color I added a small amount of Pitch Black. There was no measuring here, I just added a bit of one color, mixed, then added some more and mixed to see how I liked it. 

Before painting I prepped the piece by removing the hardware and sanding all surfaces with 150 grit sandpaper. The main goal was to rough up the surface to give the paint something to stick to, but the areas that had more wear (the top and the writing surface of the desk) required more aggressive sanding with an electric palm sander. I then vacuumed the piece and wiped it down with a damp cloth. I used a simple 2″ angled trim brush to paint 2 coats onto the piece. I waited 3 hours in between coats to let the paint set and I lightly sanded with 320 grit sandpaper before applying the second coat.

Navy Secretary Desk WD-9

After the paint cured for 24 hours I applied a coat of flat, water-based poly. I chose water-based poly over other topcoats because it is easy to use, but durable. With a piece that will receive a lot of wear, like desks and table tops, poly is the best option for a topcoat. For durability I applied additional coats of poly to the writing surface using #0000 steel wool in between coats to smooth out the finish.

Navy Secretary Desk WD-8

While I chose to leave the original wood finish on the interior of the piece I wanted to jazz it up with some paper on the drawers. I like mixing vintage and modern styles together, so I chose some mod triangle gift wrap. I know the pattern is not for everyone, so I only temporarily applied it with sticky tack, but if I choose to keep it there permanently I plan to adhere the paper to the drawers with modge podge and then seal it with poly. The last thing to do was finish the piece off with new hardware. I chose octagon milk glass knobs for the exterior drawer, and some modern glass and nickel pulls for the interior drawers.

Navy Secretary Desk  WD-12Navy Secretary Desk WD-11

Thanks so much for letting me visit today! I’d love it if you would follow me over at The Weathered Door where I share Furniture Before & Afters as well as DIY and Home Decor Projects.

Stay connected and see what else I’m working on:

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Check out more of her work

DIY Geometric Headboard | Mid Century Credenza Refresh | Salmon Dresser Makeover

coral geometric headboard WD b-23

MC danish modern credenza WD -7

Salmon Real Milk Paint Dresser WD-1

Isn’t Reeves SO darn talented?! We loooove her style, her staging and her amazing transformations! 


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