Shockingly Easy Way I DIY Refurbished My Laminate Desk and Gave It a Makeover

Easy Way to DIY Refurbish Shabby Chic Laminate Desk

Easy Way to DIY Refurbish Shabby Chic Laminate Desk

When we moved into our previous home, the landlord had all kinds of junk in the garage they were throwing out. Seeing as how my DIY spidey senses went off, I quickly rummaged through the trash to see what I could keep and refurbish. Much to my surprise, they were throwing out an oversized laminate desk from IKEA! It was in great structural shape, except the top of the desk had marker writings, super glue, and glitter stuck on there. At the time we had moved in, I didn’t have a desk so I kept it as-is until we moved into our current home where I made the decision to really beautify my office.

Laminate Desk Before DIY

A common theme with creative thinkers is that our environment helps to shape our creativity. If our design, furniture set-up, or even clutter clouds our creativity, then it’s a day gone wasted. It’s one of our biggest productivity time-sucks when the area we work in literally sucks. So I did some internet soul searching and boom, I made something old look fabulously new and it changed our whole outlook on life when we worked in the home office. You probably think I’m kidding, but I’m not, it changed our whole perspective when things around us were pretty.

For those of you following along my journey of going from a 1,200 square foot home into now a 3,400 square foot executive home – you understand my burdens of furnishing and decorating almost three times the size of additional space. And sometimes when you want something done so personalized and customized, you have to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself!

That was the situation with my beautiful new office. I wanted a shabby chic theme complete with a chandelier and shag rug, but I was given a budget by my oh-so-frugal husband that made redecorating a challenge. But I conquered. I wanted my new office desk to look clean, simple, classy, chic, and also match the theme of my office (bright white, vintage, french provincial, and shabby chic).

How to paint a laminate desk

And the best part is that it is so inexpensive and easy to do!

Easy Way to DIY Refurbish Shabby Chic Laminate Desk

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Laminate Desk (but it can be any material and I’ll explain why later)
  • Zinsser Primer (the one I chose is good for adhesion to pretty much any material)
  • Behr Flat Paint (I bought the $3 sample size that’s located by the register at Home Depot)
  • Minwax Polycrylic Paint Sealer in Clear Satin finish
  • Small Angled Paint Brush (depending on the size of your desk)
  • Small Foam Paint Roller (depending on the size of your desk)
  • Fine Grit Sand Paper

How To Paint a Laminate Desk in 4 Easy Steps

Step 1:
The very first step you’ll want to do is clean the surface of the desk to make sure it’s free from dust particles and then prime it using a primer and paint brush. Rather than sanding metal and laminate, all you have to do is prime the desk top surface with the proper primer that will get the paint to adhere properly. If you don’t prime your desk’s surface, your paint will not adhere well and will start bubbling as soon as you apply it. The primer I recommend (Zinnser) adheres to metal, wood, laminate, and more. Primer is very important in this process!

Step 2:
You’ll want to let the primer dry for at least an hour or more. Then apply your Behr Flat Paint color of choice. I used my small angled paintbrush to get into all the crevices and corners, and then I smoothed everything over with my small foam roller to be sure I was getting rid of any brush marks – I wanted a flawless and smooth finish. Allow the paint to dry before applying a 2nd coat (I waited about an hour). I chose white because I wanted it to match my office (everything is bright white except for the Tiffany Blue mirror that adds a pop of color to the office).

I painted outside on the concrete, but if you must paint indoors, be sure it’s in a well ventilated room and that you’re using tarp or plastic on the floor to prevent getting paint all over the place.

Step 3:
Once your paint has dried it’s time to distress your paint strategically using your fine grit sand paper. I focused on each of the four corners and in the middle of each side of the desk. I strategically distressed some of the corners, table top, and edges to make it look more shabby chic. Once you’re done distressing, be sure to clear off the desk from any dust.

Step 4:
The last step is to seal this bad boy to make sure you lock in the paint and distress. I like to use polycrylic sealer because it has a low odor, is durable and doesn’t yellow over time. To apply your polycrylic sealer, just brush it on with your paint brush. You can do 1-2 coats (but just like the paint, allow the sealer to dry for several hours in-between coats).

Allow the desk to fully cure for about 24 hours and once it’s ready, carefully place your desk accessories and voila! If you want to learn more about DIY and inspiration from the HGTV Fixer Upper show with Chip and Joanna Gaines – check out our post on How To Achieve The Fixer Upper Look At Home.

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