Hello dear friends! I’m back today with some of my favorite furniture flipping friends, and I’m bringing one very dated secretary desk makeover! Be sure to keep an eye out for their project pieces at the bottom!
This secretary desk belongs to my sister’s MIL, Becky:
I don’t often agree to paint pieces for others as I don’t enjoy trying to bring other people’s visions to life. I like to have the freedom to do what I want. However, Becky was very open to what I wanted to do as long as it was mostly white.
That I can work with! I’ve included a few affiliate links so you can find the products I love.
Updating a Secretary Desk
Before I could get to the painting part of this makeover, I had a couple of things I needed to do first, and the first thing I did was ditch the shelving on top! It made this piece way too tall and heavy. I did keep it though and hope to do something with it eventually!
I knew I wanted to replace the dated hardware, and so that was the next thing to go.
I filled the holes with Dixie Mud in brown:
It was a nice sunny day the day I worked on this, so I let them bake in the sun for a couple of hours until they were good and dry. I then sanded them smooth with my rotary sander using 220 grit sandpaper.
I did have to add a little more mud on a couple of the holes, but then they were good to go!
Next, I gave this secretary a good wipe-down with White Lightning.
I planned to use chalk paint for this piece which does not normally require a primer. However, sometimes when you sand the original sealer on a finish (as I did on the drawers), you can get some bleed-through in those places. To save myself that possible headache, I went ahead and gave it a coat of BOSS in white all over:
You don’t want to rush BOSS…plenty of dry time is key! I often let it dry overnight, but leaving it out in the sunshine speeds up the process, and it was ready for painting in just a few hours.
Time for paint! I followed the BOSS with Fluff:
Here is a video on my techniques for painting furniture piece if you’re interested:
I sent Becky a couple of options, but I knew I wanted to add decoupage paper to the front piece that folds down. She chose this one:
This paper is decoupage paper by Roycycled Papers and it’s called Homer Hardware Decoupage Craft Paper. The Esty shop I purchased it from no longer has it in stock, but I linked to a shop that does.
It’s a nice large size and was perfect for this piece.
I used my rotary cutting set to cut it to the size I needed. (This is the set I have…it includes the mat, the rotary cutter, and straight edge.)
Here’s what I used to apply the paper:
I applied Satin Clear Coat a bit liberally to the front and then immediately applied the paper. I followed up with a top coat of the clear coat and left it to dry.
I have had excellent luck with this paper in the past, but some of the wrinkles in this one didn’t want to come all the way out. Luckily, with the rugged design on this paper, I was able to sand across the surface once it was dry which distressed it some, and it looks like it was always meant to be that way!
After sealing the rest of the body with Satin Clear Coat, this piece was done!
Here is how this hard-working piece looks now:
The decoupage paper really adds something to this finished piece!
Here you can see the effect sanding had on it:
It looks time-worn and wonderful! I did apply another coat of Clear Coat in Satin after sanding.
The knobs were replaced with these larger pulls I found at Hobby Lobby:
And I used these ones that I’ve used many times before, also from Hobby Lobby, on the three bottom drawers:
I thought the handsome look of the outside worked well with the original wood finish:
I did paint the two drawers and changed out the tiny knobs for these fun cup pulls I found at HomeGoods a while back:
This piece was in excellent condition, so it was nice to be able to preserve some of that. The drawers were also in pristine condition, so I was able to leave those as is also.
My sister’s MIL hasn’t seen the finished piece, but I hope she likes it!
Don’t forget my friends are also sharing fun furniture makeovers today!!
I can’t wait to check those out myself!
And here’s another secretary desk I used decoupage paper on that was in much more dire need of rejuvenation!
Remember this one? You can see how it turned out HERE!
And I get to cross another piece off this list!
See the first few here if you missed any…
I’ll be back on Tuesday with this bar table one of my sweet neighbors sent my way!
UPDATE: See how summery and fresh this fun table looks now HERE!
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If you like what you see, there are several ways to follow along!