Mid-Century Modern(ization)

Redefining modern for a family-friendly home

Upcycling a Vintage School Desk


We’ve had this little school desk forever — well, actually Kirk has had it forever.  Apparently he used to do his homework at this desk when he was a kid!   When we lived in our craftsman bungalow and I always figured I’d strip, sand, and restore it.  Well, I never got around to it (although I did dust it off!) and times changed so this period piece doesn’t really fit with the aesthetic of our new abode anymore.  And we have kids now, so I decided it was time to paint it and give it a little refresher so it can be used for yet another generation.

Kirk's desk before

It was a spontaneous project — about 20 minutes after I put Logan down for his nap my eye caught this desk and I thought, “I can’t stand that thing for another minute.”  It resides in our living room and Logan does “work” at it pretty frequently, but really, it was an eye sore.  So I grabbed what was left from when I painted the kitchen wall navy and decided to give it a go.


It took two coats, and I still need to poly the top for durability (and maybe wax the rest), but I think it looks SO much better.  It’s a really dark navy — it almost looks black in this room which is odd because the wall in the kitchen never looks black!  It really pops off the white brick now and I think it plays well with the adjacent Bermuda Blue brick wall, too.  The navy wall in the kitchen is just out of frame though a door to the right and the navy bicycle print is only a small bit away as well — I like that they all tie in together.


Anyway, I just wanted to share this little update with you all because I’m totally smitten … and not just because when Logan noticed he said, “Ohhh!!! Mommy! You did this for me?! THANK you!”. :)


Author: Olivia @ Mid-Century Modern(ization)

I am a wife, mother, and writer. I am also a crafting, furniture-refinishing, home-designing nut.

3 thoughts on “Upcycling a Vintage School Desk

  1. Nice work! This looks stunning :)

  2. Things like this, that can be passed on from one generation to the next, are so wonderful. You did a lovely job refreshing it.

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