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A Beachy Desk Makeover with Chalk Paint

This is the story of how I gave an old antique desk a chalk painted beachy or coastal style makeover. This beachy desk makeover brightened the old wood.

Oh how I love the feel of a coastal home with all of it’s beachy furniture. Who doesn’t love the bright colors and the light and airy feel a beach inspired home gives? Even if you don’t love the beach, coastal colors would brighten anyone’s day, right?  I know I’m a little biased, being that I live only miles from the beach. When a friend of mine asked me to transform his antique dresser I couldn’t say no! Let me show you how I painted this desk and gave it coastal desk makeover with a fun nautical vibe!

chalk painted desk in coastal theme

Let me first share with you this antique desk’s sad beginnings.

vintage desk before makeover
vintage desk before makeover
vintage desk before makeover

I know in its “heyday” this was one beautiful antique piece of furniture. Today, though, after years of sitting in an attic with a few (maybe a lot) of hungry rats, it had seen better days.

Even with the rat poop (yep, and lots of it!) and the stains, there was a beautiful vintage piece of furniture underneath.

Normally I would refinish the wood on an antique piece like this and bring it back to its original glory, but my friend wanted the desk finished in a “beachy” or coastal style.

That was ok with me because “beachy” or coastal isn’t a style I normally create, so I was excited to try something a little different.

The first thing I did was take the desk completely apart, call the hazmat department and clean out all the rat poop! (I’m being dramatic, it really wasn’t that bad, but it did have an odor…….:()

Next I gave the wood a light sanding. I used a fine grit sandpaper to make sure it still had a smooth finish. I was trying to remove the “impurities” without disrupting the wood grain.

Next comes Chalk paint!

Since we’re going for a coastal vibe for this desk makeover, I knew a light color on the wood was the way to go!

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A Chalk painted desk makeover in a Coastal Style

The paint I decided to use was Rust-Oleum’s Ultra Matte Chalked Paint in Linen White. Honestly, I prefer Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, but I was out and I didn’t have the time to order and wait for more paint.

Just a little FYI: you will pay way more for Annie Sloan, but I still prefer it over any other chalk paint that I’ve used.

Below is the desk after the first coat of paint.

first coat of chalk paint on desk
chalk painted legs on the desk

After the first coat of chalk paint dried, I added a second coat. 

second coat of chalk paint on desk

I then added a second coat of chalk paint to the spindled legs.

Next I distressed the chalk paint a little.

When I distress wood I use a fine grit sandpaper (like 600) and distress lightly IN THE DIRECTION of the grain. This is important to make sure the “aging” or distressing looks natural.

distressing the chalk painted desk with sandpaper

After I finished distressing the wood, I knew I wanted to add a little color. I was thinking a green or blue hue.

Sometimes my favorite part of painting furniture is mixing colors! So here we go…

I had a bright green that I mixed with white to give it a softer pastel hue.

adding color to beachy desk

I also removed the existing knob and found another coastal or beachy style knob with the same color of green paint I was using.

I wanted to add a little color to the wood inlays to make it “pop.”

adding color to the seat of the desk

Of course I had to add a little color to the chair too (I’m still unsure where that red color came from)!

painting the inlay on the desk

There were two pretty diamond inlays that I wanted to accent with color.

painting the desk in a beachy style

The last bit of coastal flair I wanted to add was the wired jute rope.

My purpose in using the rope was two fold:

  • to accent the beachy or coastal vibe to this antique desk
  • to add support to the chair

The chair legs were previously broken, so I needed to find a way to secure them. I figured the wire in the jute rope would help with that!

Beachy Desk Makeover with Chalk Paint and Jute Rope

beachy desk makeover
chalk painted desk
desk makeover with a coastal or beachy vibe with chalk paint
coastal style chalk painted desk makeover
desk makeover with chalk paint for beachy style

What do you think of the new knob? It came from Hobby Lobby. If you are ever looking for artistic and unusual pulls or knobs, that’s the place for it!

Thanks for stopping by friends!


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Love when anything old is made new again! Awesome job!

  2. […] Recipe.       Lindsey, of Repurpose and Upcycle, shows us how she used chalk paint to transform a desk and chair to achieve a light and airy beach feel. So charming, isn’t it?!   Congratulations to our […]

  3. Liz says:

    This is absolutely gorgeous!! Awesome job! Thanks for sharing on Homestead Blog Hop!

  4. […] on the crafting scene, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by this Beachy Desk Makeover from Lindsey at Repurpose and UpCycle, since I own a desk almost exactly like that one! There may […]

  5. Absolutely love this adorable little desk!

  6. […] on the crafting scene, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by this Beachy Desk Makeover from Lindsey at Repurpose and Upcycle, since I own a desk almost exactly like that one! There may […]

  7. […] on the crafting scene, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by this Beachy Desk Makeover from Lindsey at Repurpose and UpCycle, since I own a desk almost exactly like that one! There may […]

  8. […] on the crafting scene, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by this Beachy Desk Makeover from Lindsey at Repurpose and UpCycle, since I own a desk almost exactly like that one! There may […]

  9. Carol says:

    Stunning! I just love it. Featuring when my party opens up tonight.

  10. Ellen says:

    Love it! A little love and elbo grease are so worth it. Trash to treasure projects are my favorite because I like to think of the story/history that might be behind each piece.

  11. lol, I know, I prefer original wood too. But, the wood was in terrible condition.

  12. Natalie A says:

    This looks wonderful! You did a great job with the desk makeover! All your extra hard work paid off on this makeover!

  13. So pretty, Lindsey! And I’m stealing your twine accent idea! LOVE that!

  14. Katrin says:

    I love everything beachy and the twine accents are so cute!! Lovely desk!!

  15. Emily says:

    I’d love to upcycle something. I did buy a table years ago to be a project, but haven’t got around to it yet. This is great. Thanks for joining in with #ThatFridayLinky

  16. Jenny says:

    I love how you added the jute for a subtle coastal feel. Plus, adding green to any piece makes me happy!

  17. Julie says:

    It’s really beautiful. Enough beachy theme without overdoing it.
    Interesting to read about your paint preferences too. I’ve tried Rustoleum chalk paints and find they need loads of coats, so it’s good to hear that the Anne Sloan paint is worth the money.

  18. Julie Downes says:

    Looks amazing and love the other hints of colour! #bloggerclubuk

  19. Anonymous says:

    It really turned out beautifully. I bet he was very happy! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  20. Rhonda says:

    I love the makeover. The rope really gives it a beach feel. I’m a big fan of Annie Sloane too. Thanks for sharing on Sunday’s Best.

  21. OMG, rat poop! I like the subtle contrast of colors that you used…I really like the Annie Sloane paint as well, I’m on the lookout for some cool furniture piece I can update like this!

  22. Teresa says:

    Great job! I almost can’t believe it’s the same desk. Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned.

  23. This is lovely! You did a great job. #MMBH

  24. What a transformation. wow!!

  25. What a great makeover. It must have taken a lot but it was well worth it.

  26. Judy says:

    Lindsey, the desk and chair look beautiful! I think the finish you achieved with the chalk paint is fabulous. Your creative finishing details, “private recipe” green paint and burlap rope completely capture the “beachy” look. I have yet to use Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint. I live in a small city with no Annie Sloan retailers, like you, when I decide on a project I want to do it NOW, not after I order paint and wait for it to arrive. I’ve been pleased with the results I’ve gotten with a couple of other brands. You achieved lovely results with the Rust-Oleum and you still say Annie Sloan is better? I’ve been tempted to order some Annie Sloan in a color(s) I like and wait until I find a prize piece to paint. You have given my temptation a nudge. Thanks for sharing your creativity with us!

    • Thank you Judy for the sweet comment! As far as Annie Sloan vs the other kinds of chalk paint, yes, I still love Annie Sloan more. For some reason, I feel like it goes on smoother. Is there a type of chalk paint you prefer? I’m always curious what others like to use. Have a great weekend!

  27. […] A Beachy Desk Makeover with Chalk Paint – Repurpose and Upcycle […]

  28. […] A Beachy Desk Makeover with Chalk Paint – Repurpose and […]

  29. […] A Beachy Desk Makeover with Chalk Paint – Repurpose and Upcycle […]