Hi everyone! I’m excited to share a furniture makeover of an antique secretary desk. This blog post was originally shared on Lolly Jane back in January, but if you missed it I’m sharing it here as well 🙂
This desk came from my local Habitat ReStore. It was pretty to start with, but I wanted to paint it and it had some problem areas. 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.
I had a few options for the navy color but they were too dark for what I wanted. Instead, I chose to use a few of General Finishes Milk Paint colors (it’s an acrylic paint, not an true milk paint) to make my own custom color. I started with the color Coastal Blue and added some Perisan Blue to lighten up the color. Then, to grey out the color I added a small amount of Pitch Black. 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 lightly sanded with 320 grit sandpaper before applying the second coat of paint.
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.
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.