Rustic Industrial Vintage Desk Makeover for Tween Room

Back when I talked about our plans for Ari’s room, I mentioned how much I loved this two toned dresser at Simply Klassic Home:

….and how I planned to redo his desk in the same style. Fortunately, I also pinned it to my board of ideas for his room, so when I saw the announcement for the Pinterest Challenge (hosted by Michelle at Decor and the DogMegan at The Remodeled LifeSherry at Young House Love, and Katie at Bower Power), it immediately jumped to the top of the list. Truthfully, it was already at the top of the list, but the Pinterest Challenge assured that it stayed there and that it actually got done.
(Someone really needs to Truman Show-ify the internet for me so that every week a new “challenge” shows up that just happens to be about something I’ve been meaning to get done: “Oh, look, what a coincidence! It’s the ‘move a couch out of your garage and into the sunroom’ challenge!”)
(I am worried that Kristin is going to think I’m completely copying her whole (fabulous) room, because there’s also a plank headboard in there. But, while it is worthy of copying, I would like to state for the record that I posted my plans for a plank headboard or wall for Ari’s room a whole day before it appeared on Simply Klassic. But that dresser? yeah, totally copying. Because it’s awesome).
I have a different plan for Ari’s dresser, so I decided to give the two tone treatment to his desk instead. Here’s what his desk looked like before:
More of the orange-y maple, like his bedside table. First we wanted to take the mirror off. It had more of those scalloped edges interfering with our modern aesthetic, and we have better things to do with the walls. Dave remembered trying to take it off at some point in the past (maybe when we moved?) and having a terrible time and giving up. But he went into Ari’s room ready to do battle with the mirror and came out 15 minutes later looking very confused. “It was just held on with regular screws,” he said, “I have no idea why we had trouble before.” Don’t question it; just be glad!
We took all the drawers down to the basement to sand them down. The finish came off super easily. Even a child could do it! No, seriously–our kids did it:
Then I painted the rest of the desk with the same Valspar High Speed Steel (mixed with some plaster of paris to chalk paintify it) that we used on the bedside table. Two coats of paint, then I distressed it (this is the point where I realized that the sanding sponge I bought to do the bedside table was complete crap (or, at least, inappropriate for distressing). I got tired of it, found a piece of sandpaper, and things were much better).Then a coat of polyurethane.
For the stain, I mixed together the dark walnut we already had with some weathered gray. I brushed it on each drawer then immediately wiped it off with an old t-shirt. After they dried overnight, I screwed the rest of  the “hydrant” knobs from Hobby Lobby in and put them back in the desk.
Then I took pictures three separate times over the course of the day, trying to get perfect lighting, because I felt like the desk was So.Much.Prettier. in real life than it was turning out in the pictures. But I think, with the help of the late afternoon sun through the west facing windows, I finally got a  pretty good representation (it’s those dark walls again! If I just painted every room white, I’d have much better pictures, I think). I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and Ari loves it, too. He’s getting pretty into the room redecorating, which makes me happy. Especially since he likes most of my ideas.
I was so proud I even dragged stuff from other parts of the house to style it all fancy-like:
Mostly only the globe was from other parts of the house. This stuff was already in the room. In fact, we found the pencil holder at the dollar tree the other day. The Eiffel Tower and little viking are both from Epcot.

I moved one of the Tabouret chairs from Overstock in there. These were originally supposed to go with our farmhouse kitchen table. But, uhh, we still haven’t made that table. So the chairs have just been knocking around the house, and now I’m thinking I might want to go in a different direction for kitchen chairs (if our table ever actually exists). Ari asked if he could have another one (there are 4 of them) for when he has a friend over, so we’ll probably put another one up there. And then maybe paint them? Red? Silver? I’m not sure. Thoughts?

Maybe you would like to pin this?

Rustic industrial desk makeover for a tween boy's bedroom. #rustic #industrial #furnituremakeover

Linking with:
Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Feature Friday
Monday Funday
Under the Table and Dreaming’s Sunday Showcase Party
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Tutorials and Tips at Home Stories A to Z
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Hookin’ Up With House of Hepworths
Somewhat Simple
The Inspiration Gallery Link Party
The Shabby Nest’s Frugal Friday
Tatertots and Jello Weekend Wrap-up Party



Rustic Industrial Vintage Desk Makeover for Tween Room — 68 Comments

  1. The desk looks wonderful! A great second life to an old piece of furniture that’s seen better days. Inspirational!
    We bought metal chairs similar to your white Tabouret chair, though from Industry West in distressed metal for our dining room table (we don’t have a separate kitchen table) and I’m planning to replace them. I’ve found that though I love the industrial look and they’re very durable (food and pets can’t damage those babies) but they’re not very comfortable. And my biggest pet peeve is that they are cold on your tushy. So I have my eye on some mid century modern chocolate upholstered chairs at Overstock. The metal chairs will make there way to other areas of the house where they’ll be more appropriate, like in garage for me to sit on while I take off my shoes before coming into the house.

    • Thank you! Yes, one of the reasons we’re not using the chairs in the kitchen as planned is that my husband thinks they’re uncomfortable. We’re thinking of going with mismatched wooden chairs all painted the same color (upholstered chairs don’t get along with my cats!)

  2. You are in charge of orchestrating this Truman show home challenge together. I need it just as bad as anyone! The desk looks incredible. I love how the stain turned out on the drawers. I’m so impressed the boys sanded!

  3. I love how the furniture in Ari’s room is getting a fresh new look. I like the grey and wood tones together – perfect for a boy’s room.

  4. I love how the desk turned out! I’m really, really into the painted/natural wood mixed pieces lately. I just discovered your blog and am now following you. I’ve already checked out your home tour and I just love it. So many inspiring spaces.

    Have a great day!

    P.S. We’re homeschoolers, too! 🙂

  5. i love the weathered look of the wood… must find some of that weathered stain. weird question, but i’m very curious about the original star kind of knobs on the bottom of the dresser… do you know where you got them? are they metal with glass in the middle? i got a whole bag of something similar off of ebay for a greta price but have never seen them since!

    • Those are actually nautical ship’s wheel knobs….I almost took a close-up of them when I was doing the post. If I remember right, one or both of the wooden knobs was missing on the bottom drawers when we bought the desk, so we picked those up (at my mom’s second hand shop, same place we got the desk) to replace them. They’re all metal–no glass in the middle!

    • Thanks–we’re hoping if they grow up with it, doing all this stuff will be natural to them when they’re older…and we’ll have 4 helpers we can recruit for things when we get older, too 😉

  6. totally in love w/this idea, so i’m going to copy you. great instructions….but one question? did you sand the desk also before painting it grey? so ready to do this…..also: luv you blog. thanks

    • Thanks, Lesa! We didn’t sand the rest of the desk first…mostly because I was planning to use chalk paint, and you don’t need to sand or prime with it. We’re working on his matching dresser right now, and we did sand that whole thing down because we’re using regular semi-gloss on it. HTH!

  7. Visiting from Monday FunDay’s link up and just wanted to say how great of a job you’ve done with this desk. I love industrial style but I think it’s amazing how your boys helped you make it.

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