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From Table to Desk Just Like That

Jan 18, 2012   //   by Melissa Coon   //   Blog, DIY  //  No Comments


Sophia's New Desk

It took a long time to decide what to do with my old childhood table. We originally had it in our kitchen before we bought our new table that is revealed here. I shared so many wonderful memories at that table growing up; I wasn’t ready to part with it yet. Sadly, I knew it was too large to keep it in our office/guest room. We finally decided an unused table was more of shame than cutting it in half and painting the 150+ year old wood – Yeah, I just said that.

We decided to convert half of the table into a desk for our daughter’s room. Lucky for us, the round table was designed to pull apart into an oval shape for extra seating.  After some deliberating, we realized it would come apart without having to cut it. Bonus – just in case we want to make it into a whole table again; you never know around this house…

We were so excited to get started we didn’t get a great before shot, but here’s a picture of the other half of the table.

Table Parts

This is how the wood looked before we stripped it. Overall, the surface wasn’t that bad. The table base was a whole different story (more on that later).

Table Top

The only time we tackled a furniture refurb job was when we stripped and repainted Sophia’s dresser.  Given that, the final outcome of this piece exceeded my expectations. To sum up, WE LOVE IT! Here’s how we got started and the supplies used.


We started by stripping the old stain. We applied stripper to the top of the table with an old paint brush. Be sure to wear gloves because it will burn your skin.  We let it dry for 15 – 30 minutes. Once the paint started to bubble up consistently everywhere we used a plastic putty knife to scrape it off. Then, we wiped it clean with a damp cloth. Reapply the stripper as needed depending on the amount of stain or paint on your piece of furniture. We wanted to get as close to bare wood as possible, so we ended up reapplying it and repeating the process twice.


We used 120 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface more and get closer to the bare wood. We sanded the base by hand and used a finishing sander on the table top. Then, we wiped it clean with damp cloth.

Table Filled & Paint Samples

We applied Elmer’s wood filler to all holes and cracks with a plastic putty knife. We waited 15-30 minutes for it to dry.

320 Grit Sanding

We sanded all of the pieces with 320 grit sandpaper and wiped them with a clean damp cloth.

We knew the table needed some TLC. After all, according to Mom the table was well over 150 years old. We made it sturdier by applying wood glue around all the dowels in each of the legs, then fit the dowels into the predrilled holes in the table base.   We purchased 3” lag bolts and screwed them through the inside of the base into the legs.  Because the glue wasn’t exposed we didn’t have to wait for it to dry. We started priming all the pieces right away.  We used spray can primer – two coats.


The green and turquoise pillow sham was our inspiration. I’m addicted to turquoise so I naturally gravitated to that color for her desk. I admit I tried a green sample (shown 2 images up on the page), but it was too yellow for our taste. In the end, we selected Behr Sea Life (#4908-4) semi gloss.  We hit a little snag when we started painting. Sea Life turned out to be WAY too saturated.  Lucky for us we had some extra Behr white semi gloss left over from Sophia’s dresser project.  I dumped the quart of blue in the larger white bucket on the right and gradually added white using the blue cup as my measuring cup- stirring as I went.  I ended up adding two full cups of white. Finally, it was ready to paint.  Three thin coats of paint on the base and table top later – we couldn’t be more pleased at the outcome.

We gave the desk to Sophia on Christmas morning. Of course after she opened all her gifts from Santa. Please excuse my lack luster wrap job (only a few small bows).  What can I say,  it was 4AM when we finally finished mounting the desk to the wall.  We used 4 inch angle brackets  and drilled 3 inch deck screws into the studs.

Sophia Loves Her Desk

Checking it out

Mirror Reflection

I’m glad we gave this table a new purpose. Now, it can stay in our family for another 50+ years – I hope.

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