Thrift Store Desk Makeover & the beginning of a Home Office

Thrift Store Desk Makeover & the beginning of a Home Office

For a woman who spends a lot of time scouring thrift stores I should have my blogging license revoked as I have done exactly one – yes one – furniture makeover for my site since I started it.

There’s a simple reason for it. I hate about 90% of the furniture I come across at the thrift stores.

Oh yes I just wrote that.

Because what tends to be the trend of what one can find these days at thrift stores is all the old oak furniture with the curved lines. The china cabinets. The coffee tables with spiral legs and strange side floral motifs. Pieces that do really well painted in chalk paint, faux aged and put in a French Country estate style home afterwards.

My style however is so far removed from French Country that I am pretty sure my friends in Denmark would sense through osmosis if one of those items made it through the front doors of our home. And when I do come across something in a clean MCM meets Scandinavian style, over my dead body would I even go near it with a can of paint. In fact I’ll be showing you how our MCM credenza affected the purchase of our couch in the basement in an upcoming post. And no I did not paint it. As if.

But when I came across this little piece of metal, I was like now there is $14 I can spend towards our home office.

Thrift Store Metal Desk Before -

Yes. Yes we’re in the process of making a home office. Because the kids are getting bigger and having the computer in our living room and trying to do any work on it is a dark comedy reminiscent of the Stewie Griffin “Mom, Mommy, Mommy” clip.

As soon as I saw that desk I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like.

Don’t be fooled by the photo as I look at it and think “Hey it’s all Mad Men and perfect the way it is”. If it was in good condition I probably would have left it as is.

But the desk top was chipped, scratched and peeling. It smelled too. The left side of the desk was bent and breaking apart from the center. The handles were rotting inside as they were plastic. The black paint was chipping and covered in rust in spots. And it was filthy and covered in cobwebs.

Makeover? Challenge accepted.

Metal Desk Before -

Into the garage it went where it got taken apart, cleaned, given some TLC and the desk top went to recycling.

Four bottles of Rustoleum Ultra Cover 2x White Blossom in a Satin finish later…

Painting a metal desk -

It wound up like this.

Thrift Store Desk After -

The new desktop is an IKEA LINNAMON table top with new screws to hold it in place.

I know I am supposed to tell you that those leather straps are some amazing old belt I found and made leather desk handles out of. But the thrift store Gods laughed at me during this process and said “No old leather belts for you!” so I wound up ordering some from Etsy from a shop called cocosheaven.

They are held on with binding posts/Chicago screws and I am very happy with the quality of the leather.

DIY Leather Handles -

DIY Leather Handles on white desk -

The posts/screws (as they are called different things depending on where you find them) were a little loose for the depth of the leather with the desk, so we put some washers in between them on the inside to hold them in place.

Washer behind binding posts to hold desk handles in place -

During this time while the desk was getting its makeover, I got an email from the fine folks at Staples who did smile upon me and said “Would you like to collaborate on a project together?”

And I was like “Did you know that we’re working on finishing up a home office?” and they said “How can we help?”

So they sent us some stuff to help get this office underway.

Including this sexy little number, two of them in fact – the Monarch Cafe chair. That’s what this desk was missing. A sexy office chair. This. This is my kind of office chair. It’s matching chair will be going to the other corner desk in the room, which I will show in a future post.

White Metal Desk with Leather Handles -

Monarch Cafe Chair from Staples with a made over metal desk -

They also helped me organize the insane amount of card stock and craft paper I have with their Reversaflex Hanging File Folder frame and Coloured Hanging File Folders.

Inside of metal desk filing cabinet -

In the meantime we also got our first shelf up.


And found a temporary home for the copper planters. May I just say that taking photos of reflective pots is quite challenging. I should have waved for you all!

Copper planters -

White desk with Leather Handles, Monarch Chair, Pine Shelves - Home Office in Progress -

I am warning you now. If you see a lot of this room in the future, it’s because those white walls need to get filled up with storage containers, calendars, a computer, art work and so on. I haven’t even cleaned up the other side of the room to show what’s going on over there. And there is a lot going on. Madness mostly.

But I love the desk. I love that it’s not in a landfill. And I thank Staples for helping me get this room on it’s way.

Thrift Store Desk Makeover - northstory

DIY - Leather Handles - northstory