before & after: renee’s desk + lindsey’s wall sconce


I’ve seen a string of DIY furniture projects lately that incorporate a mix of natural/stained wood and wood that’s been painted. I really hope this trend catches on with furniture designers so we can see more variations of this concept on the market. This salvaged desk by Renee is a particularly awesome example of this trend.

The desk was not bad to begin with; I could see it looking good with a simple refinishing. But Renee’s combination of the rustic dust-blue frame, dark stained drawers and bright Tiffany’s-blue legs and knobs? Brilliant! Not to mention unique and eye catching. I would love looking at this piece everyday so much more than I would a plain wood desk.

Check out more of the pieces that Renee’s made along with her business partner Steve at their design studio Salvage Interiors. Be prepared to see more amazingly cool reworked furniture. Thanks for sharing, Renee! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)



Unsightly wall sconces can be a huge issue. Well, maybe I’m over-generalizing. In my case at least, sconces are a problem. Mine are ugly, but as a renter I can’t replace them and I can’t paint them — basically I can’t even touch them. If I could, however, I would be seriously tempted to follow Lindsey’s lead and make my sconces look like hers. She simply spray painted the shiny brass base black and put an antique mason jar on top. The steps are almost too simple, yet it provides such a dramatic change in style. So clever. Great work, Lindsey! — Kate

  1. I love that desk! For whatever reason I’m still a little shy about painting wood furniture, so to me this feels like a lovely compromise…a touch of paint to jazz things up, along with staining the drawers. Great!

  2. carolyn says:

    wow i really love the contrast of the exposed wood and paint. and those little pops of turquoise. great idea!

  3. Claire says:

    I love the lamp, but doesn’t it get too hot?

  4. Holly Hatam says:

    I would of never thought to use a mason jar as a sconce! I have a bunch of them leftover from my wedding two months ago, now I know what to do with them!

  5. max says:

    Sconce is just perfect, I have to visit some flea market and get some jars.

  6. Michele Delo says:

    Kate – I once had bleary wall sconces in a rental, and here is how I transformed them into unique cuties that drew raves from every visitor – plus when I moved out they transformed back in a few minutes without a trace!

    Just take the shade off and stash it somewhere safe (I packed mine in boxes with packing peanuts and put them behind the water heater.) Then use bamboo sticks or heavy wire to make a frame in a shape you like – I make an asymmetrical flattish diamond – cover it with your choice of decorative rice paper, leaving the back open and some openings top and bottom for heat and air flow. Be sure your light bulb won’t be too close to the paper anywhere. Stick the thing to the wall with lots of doublestick tape or poster gum. Problem solved!

  7. Alyssa says:

    I’m in love with that desk! I love the mix of painted and exposed wood and the fun, colourful fixtures.

  8. imdb says:

    The light I love and can use! The desk….I’d take one look at it, and think it still needed to be refinished!

  9. amy says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE that easy breezy sconce! What a fantastic idea!!!

  10. ginny says:

    can you use any kind of spray paint on brass or is it special? both are lovely transformations.

  11. Calli says:

    LOVE the desk Renee! The spa blue isn’t too much and the front wood drawers are perfect. I like the distressed gray paint as well… seems to bring everything together… I might have to try that one out ;-)

  12. JACIN says:

    love the light!!!! it’s all beautiful but i have a thing for mason jars :)

  13. Lex says:

    Love love love the desk! I have a boring desk that I feel needs to be constantly hidden, but this is a piece that I would definitely show off! Wow, such a transformation!

  14. I rather like the globe light shade in the before photo! Although I do appreciate that she sprayed the brass fixture a darker color.

  15. Love the desk. I’m not usually a fan of natural wood, but I love the stain they did on the drawer fronts. Very nice!

  16. Carolina says:

    I love when wood is not completely covered with paint. Originally, I was going to do the base of my desk I’ve been working on with a deep russet type of orange-but make the top mahogany (was a yellow ugly finish). I did this to my dining table-painting the base green-but leaving the top wooden; however, I was just too afraid it would look ugly. I’ll think on it some more. New finish can always be sanded off:) Love this desk!

  17. BT says:

    No reason not to change the fixtures just because you are renting. It is often an easy change, you just have to find a place to store the old fixture for a year or more. For the amount of money involved, its usually worth it (at least if you’re not afraid of a few wires).

  18. deayea says:

    guys, u have some real great post here. but what has been done to this desk and this lamp is no improvement at all, it’s making it all worse.

  19. Rin says:

    I guess not everyone gets the idea put forward here. But I love something a little bit out of the ordinary. I don’t like to look like the next house I visit where everything is pretty and a safe choice in decoration. That’s why I really like the desk. It’s a bit quirky but to say that it looks worse than before…? I have to disagree.

  20. Bau Outdoors says:

    Your desk looks fantastic! It really draws attention to the remaining wood surfaces and looks nice and warm in comparison to any contemporary alternative.

    Great job!

  21. Adrienne says:

    Love the desk!

    The lamp is beautiful — but I’d caution people not to use vintage mason jars for that. I know that candles can cause them to explode, and lights get pretty hot. However, I think modern glass jars are safer?

  22. Sweet T says:

    LOVE this sconce. Thinking I may try to pull this off in my stairwell that leads up to my studio!

  23. juliette says:

    I’ll be another voice of caution regarding using a jar (any kind) like this. Regular light bulbs will cause them to explode b/c of heat expansion. There really needs to be ventilation at the top.

    We made a set of jam jar pendant lights and used energy saver bulbs (less heat) plus added ventilation holes to the lids for extra protection. Our electrician friend gave us the thumb’s up.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.