I see desks like these in thrift stores and on the side of the road all the time, and honestly, I can’t say that I feel inspired when I look at them. However, now that I’ve seen this refinishing job from Rebekah Disch, I’m reminded yet again that every piece of furniture can have potential in the right hands. I really like the color she’s chosen, and the subtle aging is a great little detail. Nice work, Rebekah! — Kate
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Read more about Rebekah’s rustic refinished desk after the jump!
Time: 4–5 hours
Cost: $40 (desk was free, cost includes paint, poly, and hardware)
Basic Steps: First, I removed the drawers and drilled a hole where I wanted my hardware to go, seeing as the desk wasn’t made with knobs. Then, after sanding, dusting, vacuuming and wiping down the whole piece, I put on a coat of light gray paint. After letting that dry for a while, I put on a couple coats of dark charcoal-colored paint. After everything was dry, I sanded down the corners, edges, and sections of the top, sides and drawers with an orbital sander. There was no rhyme or reason to it — I just sanded away to my heart’s desire, and it was so fun watching the antiqued effect appear. The light gray coat was a happy accident — after that first coat went on, I didn’t like it, which is why I then used a dark charcoal. But after sanding it down, I really liked how the light gray showed through in places, giving it just a little more texture and depth. After getting it to look just how I wanted, I put three coats of poly on it, let it dry thoroughly, attached the knobs (from World Market) and called it a day. I love how it turned out, and it is now being used in our home office as my new workspace.
While the orbital sander is a great tool, be careful with how much pressure you use and the direction you sand in. My mistake in the past has been to move in circular motions, and that caused tiny circular marks on the paint that I didn’t like. The idea is that it’s already orbital in the way it sands, so let the sander do the work :) You want to sand firmly, but in a straight motion up and down the edges and sides of the piece, depending on where you want the distress marks. — Rebekah