before & after: jill and ashley’s desk makeovers

i am seriously in awe of the amount of skill that went into transferring these stencils onto the surface of this desk. i have hard time keeping a stencil straight when it’s simply on a piece of paper…seriously, way to go jill! this was jill’s desk as a child. she revamped it so that her boyfriend (a screenwriter) can use it for work. while the original does have rustic charm, i love that with some skilled handiwork the desk now has a totally different feel. the decorative stencil details you can only see up close are also a nice surprise. great job, jill! -kate

CLICK HERE for jill’s desk makeover after the jump!

a good desk is something very personal. i know when it came time for me to get a new desk, i searched high and low for the perfect one: it has to inspire me to work diligently while sitting at its edge, but also be a clean and attractive element in the room when i feel like stepping away from it. this makeover from ashley certainly accomplishes the latter, and it celebrates the desk in a fun, bold, exciting color. i just love this crisp green (i think it might be my new favorite color); it pops so nicely against the pale walls. i wouldn’t be surprised if the new desk makes the room. great work, ashley!


Wow, both of those are great! My hubs is about to build a desk for me, so I will definitely file these ideas away! :)


That green one is fantastic. The brass corners tie it all together. I could live with forever.

Timothy Curtis

I really love the green color. Could you possibly tell me what color it is? I would love to paint an old dresser that color for our baby that’s on the way.



That green desk looks awesome, and the first piece is so creative. It’s amazing what a little paint can do!

My sister recently bought a rather plain buffet/sideboard for $20 and painted it a gorgeous shade of red. Now it’s an amazing piece that she gets compliments on all the time. It’s great.



I’ll do it to my table :)

Is there any special paint for woods?


I made over the exact same desk as the green one. Brass handles and all! The green looks amazing though, so fun!


I looove the stencil desk, but I have to admit, I could never work there. I need a really clean, clutter-free, calm space to work in. I could totally apply that idea to a side table, though.

The green desk is lovely as well!

I love how these makeovers are so afraid of color. I go into a Lowes or Home Depot, stare at the paint aisle longingly, and then go home with my tail between my legs. Sigh…


that green desk is so precious! I love the visible hardware on the front. so so cute! xo

Kettle Confections

Love both desks! We can’t even decide which we like better. It is amazing what some handiwork and creativity can do to breathe new life into used and everyday objects. It’s always hard to find things that perfectly fit your personality/preferences, so any diy effort to overcome that is always so inspiring to read about.


Maybe it is time to make over my desk…. an amazing peacock blue maybe??


I can’t believe that I have the dresser that matches Jill’s desk for sale right now! I was tired of it, but a paint job could just breathe new life into it for someone. Nice job.


I’m with Kristan — both are so lovely but I’d get a lot more done at apple-y #2 than graphic #1.

I’m thinking Pups in the ‘after’ shot was the inspiration for jill’s palette!


That looks really great! Awesome job :) It’s always wonderful to give a fresh look to an existing piece to make it more useful and fresh.

Jennae @ Green Your Decor

I SO want a campaign desk, and this green makeover just reminds me of that! I did my own desk makeover recently, but nothing so bold as this green. Makes me wish I was more adventurous!

And that stenciled desk? I am swooning! I can only imagine the patience it must have taken to create a look that is so perfectly imperfect :)


I’m sorry – was there furniture in that picture because all I saw was THAT ADORABLE PUPPEH!


Normally I’m on the “keep the wood wood-y” team, but that green desk is gorgeous! Nice!


love the desk w/ the letters and #’s and also the green one


someone gave me that exact same desk that was redone in green! I have been wanting to redo it but haven’t decided what color or how much i need to sand it down and how to work around the hardware.

what was you process ashley? was it super time consuming?


Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments!

Timothy Curtis, the color I used for the green desk was Behr’s “Pepper Grass.”

James, what I did was remove all the corner hardware using a paint scraper, and the handles using a screwdriver. I then sanded it down almost down to the bare wood, and primed it with a gray Valspar primer. After that, I gave it about 4 very thin coats of the green paint so you can still see the wood grain showing through. It was a bit time consuming but well worth it!

Hope this was helpful,


re ecca

I have a dresser that matches the green desk — with those same sunken handles and corner pieces. It’s a hideous “pecan” finish. Alas, I still hate the style even in this awesome green. Good to know lol!!


I’m on the look out for an old bureau to hide my laptop away and use as an occasional desk. This has inspired me to buy something old and turn it into something new and colourful!


Love the green one. the first one i would have chosen to do ton-sur-ton, so maybe light bluegray on white. I think this is a bit too ‘busy’ for me.

Vicki Martin

what is the print in the frame that is hanging over the green desk?


The green desk is my absolute favorite before-and-after piece yet! The brassy metal looks AMAZING on that gorgeous green!