DIY Painted Desk Refresh

We recently moved into a new home in Virginia that had a lot of oak going on. HAD.  I’ve been systematically painting over the oak in efforts to update and make peace with some of the built-ins.  I probably would have plucked this desk right out of the room but the carpeting goes up to it not under it and until we deal with flooring I have to keep the desk.  I can hardly stand to look at the before pictures!!!!

So, first order of business was paint.  I used a product by Rust-oleum called “Chalked” in Charcoal.  I simply cleaned the surface, removed the doors and painted it on with a 2″ angled brush.  It took 2-3 coats for full coverage.  I decided to leave the desk top in the oak tone as is then expose some wood tones by using a damp rag and rubbed it along the edges where natural wear and tear would occur.   I used one coat of their Matte sealer and swapped out the hardware.  It is so easy to use and I love the product so much I used it on 2 bathroom cabinets projects, on the built-in bar and the mudroom cabinets. So.much.better.

You can find this many places but as usual I like a drop ship rather than going out searching so I ordered via Amazon. It works like a chalk paint at a much less pricey- $18.99.

I decided to not to reinstall the shelves and taped a buffalo check wrapping paper to the back for a temporary playful twist.  This is a non-permanent way to add a little color, texture or pattern.  You could also use fabric or peel and stick wallpaper. I sat a vintage window in place of the shelves and love the simplicity.

Our son adopted this space for homework and drawing.  I am so much happier with it and can live with it until we do new flooring one day.  Who knows…by then maybe we will want to keep it?!!

Have oak? Want an easy update? This is an easy-to-use product that makes a HUGE difference!


Commissioned link to the charcoal paint

Link to the matte sealer



About Laurel Dane Designs, LLC

Making our final house into a home one room at a time. This is our 11th and final home so it is unique. Every detail in this home is aimed at creating our FOREVER home. I've worked on many of my homes and clients homes so theres plenty of inspirational for all home styles here!

4 Responses

  1. Karen

    This is beautiful. So how did you clean? Was there any sanding required? Would I be able to do this with a pine dining table and hutch?

  2. Desperate Craft Wife

    I just used a rag with dish soap to wipe it down. No sanding is required. You do want a smooth surface to begin so you could sand if there was anything stuck or any rough edges. Yes you could use it on the hutch or table. If you are using it on a table top you use often I would apply more than one coat of the matte sealer😊

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