We’re on an IKEA customization/makeover roll lately… last Tuesday was the Poang chair cover, todays victim is M’s old desk!
I’m not sure of the original name of this desk, but the closest version IKEA offers to it now is the MICKE series. It was what M had been using in the apartment and wasn’t broken or damaged outside of normal wear and tear scratches, but it wasn’t big enough to hold everything we needed it to. Since furniture got moved around when I moved in, our huge-gigantor printer only fit on our end table next to the couch. Not so pretty or drink-setting-down approved. It was more like a bed/ladder for Deke the cat to use to get up to the windowsill easier.
First, we wanted to expand the desk for a) more lower storage and b) a larger worktop space. Since the desk already had the boxy shape to the right, we simply made another larger box on the left using MDF board. We purchased 1 sheet of 1/2″ 2’x4′ board for less than $12, and had Home Depot cut the board in store.
Then, using our Kreg Jig on the bottom piece (LOVE/OBSESSED) we assembled the side and bottom in an L shape, then screwed it into the desk. The last part was adding two pieces to the top, one as a brace, and one as a border on the top front to match the width of the current desktop. We were able to use the small piece of MDF for the brace, and purchased a 1×2 for the front trim. Both were attached using the same Kreg Jig method.
After that was done, we started on the top! We ended up using 3 1×8 pieces to give it a rustic/Pottery Barn feel while still being clean and flat enough to write on. They got a quick sanding and two coats of our favorite stain- black tea followed by an apple cider vinegar and steel wool concoction. (I’ve said it a few times- but this is PERFECT for winter or renting when you don’t have an outdoor space to stain in- it’s not stinky at all) After that was dry, they got a few coats of Poly in a satin finish.
Next it was time to paint the desk. I’ve been waiting for the perfect project to try out a homemade chalk paint recipe found on Lowes.com and this was it! I picked up two test pots of an off white color, Behr’s Swiss Coffee, and a $6 carton of Plaster of Paris. I just followed the recipe adding 5 tablespoons of Paster of Paris, 5 tablespoons of water, and 1 cup (a test pot) of flat paint. I now have enough plaster leftover to make tons more as well, so the cost of the next few projects will just be for the paint aka super inexpensive!
The paint consistency was thinner than usual but went on amazing, and after two to three coats, the desk was looking so much fresher and less IKEA-ish. I followed it up with Annie Sloans clear wax and changed out the hardware on the drawer for something more beefy. Anddddd, now I’m hungry.
The top boards were put on using glue and will be screwed down, but we can’t decide if we want to screw them down from the bottom, or buy decorative screws and go from the top, adding to the rustic look. Thoughts/suggestions?
We also need to decide what we’re doing with the new cubby. Right now it’s holding a basket that holds our work bags, but I’d like to add something more. We were undecided between a shelf or a door (or we could get crazyyy and do both?!) so it’s staying as is until we reach an agreement. Rough life lately I tell you. Also open to thoughts/suggestions on this one : )
And that’s it! We built an extension out of MDF, tried out a new chalk paint recipe which turned out to be a success (even over the IKEA material which is hard to do!) and put it all together with some boards for a new top. It now comfortably fits our huge computer, printer, and a little tray from Target for our accessories. I’ll follow up with what we decide to do with the cubby once we, ya know, decide : )
What do you think? I think it’s late and I’d rather sit and look at the desk from the couch with a glass of wine rather than actually use it, so I might just go do that…
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THIS. IS. UHHMAZING. I’ve passed up so many pieces like this at yard sales, just for the simple fact they looked too IKEAish. Lesson learned. LOL. So good, that top….awesome!
Thanks so much Stacey! : ) I cannot WAIT for yard sale season to be in full swing to see what kind of furniture pops up!
adding an old window or shutter in that open spot would look awesome.
I LOVE that idea- I’ll definitely keep an eye out for something that would fit! Thanks so much!
This looks great! I am all about home made chalk paint too although i think my recipe uses a bit less water than yours – as long as it works right? I love the wood top too!
Thank you Sarah! I’m all ears about new chalk paint recipe suggestions : ) This version was definitely thinner than I thought it would be but surprisingly went on great! Would love to try out different recipes to compare.
Here is another recipe for homemade chalk paint. Mix 1 part all purpose joint compound (comes in a tub) diluted with equal amount of water until smooth. Add 2 parts flat paint – I used 1/4 cup of joint compound mixed thoroughly with 1/4 cup of water – added 1/2 cup flat wall paint – continue to mix until smooth. If the mixture thickens too much while painting, just mix in a little warm water till it’s smooth again. You can then either put wax on it or if it will be outside, use clear poly
Ooo I haven’t heard of that one before but it sounds great! Thanks so much for sharing Jaye! : )
Did you sand first? Maybe you said but I missed it. 😉
And wondering what would happen if I didn’t use flat paint vs. the flat paint. (Already have some one hand. 😉 )
Hi Christine! If the surface is really glossy, and light sand wouldn’t hurt! However, with chalk paint it’s not 100% necessary 🙂 For the flat vs. another sheen, I have never tried it so I can’t confidently answer. I would assume it would work with any finish of paint, so if you try it please let me know how it goes! Best of luck and thanks so much for stopping by!
Cool! Thanks for your reply. I’ll let you know what happens. I’m so happy to skip a detailed sanding if I can. So I may just go for it.