before & after: painted desk + decoupaged side table

I’m spotting more and more furniture with color-blocked or dip-dyed legs, and I for one am totally on board with this trend. It adds a modern, unexpected touch to a simple design; plus, it looks like the chair or table stepped in a puddle of paint, which is awfully charming. This simple painted desk from Jacquelyn employs a similar technique and has similarly pleasing results. I love that she’s given the desk an elegant coat of glossy black, but left just a hint of wood at the base. Where a simple black desk might disappear, this one makes a bold, fun statement. Great work, Jacquelyn! — Kate

Time: 3 hours

Cost: $25 (for supplies)

Basic Steps: I began by lightly sanding the desk to ensure that the paint would stick to the surface. Then I measured and drew a pencil line on each of the legs, 8 inches off the ground. I wrapped painters’ tape around each leg, keeping the line of the tape flush with the pencil marks. Lastly, I added two coats of eggshell black paint (I used Benjamin Moore 2128, 10 Black Beauty), letting each coat dry overnight.

In terms of advice, don’t be afraid to paint wood! I know so many people have been told that painting wood is blasphemous and should never be done, but often it’s the best thing you could do to refresh a piece. Some of the most amazing transformations I’ve come across are old wooden pieces painted. Also, make sure you properly sand the piece (especially if it’s been stained in the past). You want to make sure the paint will adhere to the surface. — Jacquelyn

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.)

CLICK HERE to see Cindy’s completed side table after the jump!

Cindy has been busy, as this is her second makeover we’ve posted today. I’ve become a bit of a purist when it comes to wood these days, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a decorative wood treatment like this embellished side table from Cindy. Using a creamy pale-blue paint, a fun Pucci-esque fabric and a couple retro ceramic knobs, Cindy brought happiness and sunshine to a rather drab little table. Wonderful transformation, Cindy!

Time: 2 days

Cost: $9 (including cost of table)

Basic Steps: The graphic end table was a very fun piece to redo. After I sanded it, I painted it with the same paint I used for the laundry room walls!!!  Since the table was a very plain and simple design, I thought that I would make the drawers a little dressier. I Mod-Podged the fabric on to the drawer fronts. The cute ceramic knobs that match the fabric and really made the piece “pop” are from Hobby Lobby. The project was finished with a paste wax coating to give the piece a really nice sheen.

My advice for someone wanting to re-purpose a piece of furniture is to look at Goodwill, Salvation Army or Craigslist. Look for solid wood, dove-tailed joints and the overall stability of the piece. Any type of finish can be repainted, so don’t be daunted by how it looks. For me, the more it’s messed up, the cheaper it’s going to be, and the bigger the challenge it is for me to make it beautiful. — Cindy
Paulina J!

Truly inspiring! Love them both. I got a saw this weekend and the next purchase will definitely be a sander!


Omigosh! I have to admit, I thought there was no way I’d like the After of the desk better, but the black really POPS! I looooove it. And I think leaving the “socks” at the bottom of each foot was great.


Where did you get that desk, I’ve been looking for one just like and had no luck! Thanks so much.

Zoe | A Quick Study

LOVE that desk. I, too, am surprisingly into the dipped leg trend. It’s just so different from everything else I’m seeing right now and makes more traditional pieces so much more modern!


I absolutely love the desk, what a great idea to leave the legs bare like that, gives it such personality! I love to refurbish furniture as well and look for inspiration anywhere, thanks!

maison marigold

OMG..that desk is a stunner!!! It wasn’ too bad to begin with anyway..but the black takes it to another level altogether..I am bookmarking this for future projects!! thanks for this wonderful post! xx meenal


Ditto Kristan–I liked the desk before, and thought I’d like the after less, so I was surprised when I saw the after and LOVED it! Awesome–really cute and stylish.


The desk legs remind me of traditional brass caps.
The end table can be used in so many styles; girly, retro!
Two great projects!

Amanda | RE:DO

Wow, I’m working on two furniture redos right now and they are eerily similar to these, with wood dipped legs and mod-podged drawer fronts. Good to see both of these turned out so well! :)

jacquelyn @ lark + linen

ahh, i’m so excited to see my desk project featured here! Thank you so so much kate. And thanks to everyone for the INCREDIBLE comments. Totally grinning from ear to ear over here.


I just love the contrast in the color choices for the desk. reminds me of a rugby shirt. I would love to see the dipped legs in hot pink…but I can also see this being really subtle with two different whites or even with the bottom totally sanded down and bare.


I also LOVE the dip-dyed leg trend. Like a lot. My dining room table and chairs are a yellowish wood tone that I’m not particularly fond of and also clashes a bit with my redder parquet floors. I’m dying to give them a refresher.


Where did the the framed art on the black desk come from?


Mary Kate

Excellent desk transformation, so chic! Plus, I love those shelves peaking in from the left! ; )


The desk is just the inspiration I needed to finish one of my projects. Thanks for that!


I would NEVER have guessed that having a different color on the bottom of the legs of the desk would have such a dramatic impact! Love it!

Katie Bee

I knew that was an amy butler print! It’s on the quilt my best friend made for my wedding. I love it. What’s the paint color? I’d like to use it on some shelves I have, seeing as it’s perfect with that print.

jacquelyn @ lark + linen

Susan: The frame on my desk is from Ikea, the picture inside is from a photographer from Montreal named Irene Suchocki. She has an etsy shop with some really beautiful photography.

jiminycrow: my mom purchased the desk for me 21 years ago and I just couldn’t part with it. It’s actually from Ikea, but it’s definitely been discontinued since!


Again (as the last post), what a difference between “before” and “after”! These are such great ideas!

Cindy Mandernach

Hi everyone, Thank you Kate for featuring my funky little table….thank you patricia for linking the great amy butler fabric.

Katie Bee, the paint color was unfortunately mixed by me from an oops paint at home depot, a container of tester paint and some craft paint i had at home. i did take the paint back to home depot and they color matched it for me and i have the formula on my blog on the laundry room post….you can email me if anyone has any other questions…

thanks again….cindy


Adore both projects! The fabric on the side table is a fabulous touch!


Love your projects, Cindy! They are really adorable and creative. One question: can you elaborate on the “paste wax coating” that you used on the second piece? I’m about to redo a couple of wood pieces and can’t decide whether or not I need to seal them after they’re painted. I read a lot of different opinions. Thanks so much!


I simply adore these ‘afters’. It is amazing what can be accomplished with a lick of paint and a new handle. Thanks for the inspiration.

I did a ‘renewed vigour’ post today and simply had to mention your makeovers. ;)

Thanks for the great ideas.

Caress Lepore

I love the desk. I was just trying to think of what to do with a coffee table that I fell out of love with. I am going to to this to my coffee table.