Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gold-Dipped Writing Desk Makeover

Hey there,

Here we tell the story of a recent makeover of a desk and chair we found at the Salvation Army.  I love the Salvation Army!  There is so much good stuff to be found, just waiting for another go-round.
Check this out:

Found:  Beautiful desk and chair, yet mismatched.  Not to worry, we can fix that!

The desk actually has tiny gold-capped feet.  When thinking of ways we could make this set match, I thought maybe we could extend the gold feet and give them to the chair as well.

Read on to find out how we did it!



Sand, sand, sand.   With older pieces, make sure to wear a mask and do it either outside or a well-ventilated area because you don't know how old the varnish and/or paint are - and whether new or old, you don't want to be breathing in any of that dust.

After that, we primed everything and painted it high-gloss white.

STEP 2: 

Reupholster the seat.  Remove the seat (usually secured by 4 screws under the chair) and find suitable padding for the seat, if needed.  Here we used some leftover pieces we had.  Usually you can strip the existing cover and padding but here I decided to just leave them intact and work on top of them.

You can secure the new padding to the old seat with spray glue.

Cut a piece of batting with a few inches on each side to give you enough wiggle room to fold it back on each side and staple it down with a staple gun.  This step will give you a nice smooth edge.

There are a couple of different ways to secure the corners (we learned how on YouTube - there are zillions of videos explaining basic upholstery, it's so awesome!) but here we just folded back the corners at 90 degrees and tacked them down.

Next, find the fabric you want and place the seat face down on it.  Do make sure it's not flimsy fabric because it won't stand up to use, especially if it's something you'll be sitting on.  Repeat the folding back and stapling down process beginning in the middles and working your way to the corners last.

Same fold and tack done here.


If you're interested in upholstery projects, you can also check out how we redid this chair and how we made our own king-size headboard.   I even made my mom a jewelry display using this same method!


For both the desk and chair set, as mentioned above, we wanted to try something new and give it gold-dipped feet, like so:

The first mistake I made is that I measured off the 5 inches I wanted with painter's tape right onto the wood, which you can kind of see below under the paint.

Trouble is, when I removed the tape I still had a strip of bare wood to contend with.  Not clever.

I considered leaving it as is, it did look somewhat cool in 3-tone.  But ultimately it wasn't what I set out to do, and tried to come up with a solution.

First I had to tape above the wood line, paint it white and let it dry for a day.  Then, I taped below the line, painted it gold, and waited a day...   All in an effort to make a sharp line between the white and gold.

If I had any brains in this hat-rack of mine, I would have painted the entire surface white -- then taped -- then added the gold as the final touch.  Oh well, next time it will be easier.

Here we are, finally getting at the result we were hoping for:



It's all in the details... I wanted something fun and unexpected when the drawer was opened.  A nice color is cool, but we went one step further and lined the drawer with textured wallpaper, which we had lying around from our bedroom makeover.  The result was really nice!

Here is that drawer in action:


 The knob was painted the same as the gold feet.

Gold-dipped chair's feet:

 The finished chair:

I chose this modern rose-pattern fabric (which was actually a tea towel!) because there is a rose carved into the chair, and I thought they went nicely together.


The final result... A lovely matching set made from two refurbished mutts!

We love your feedback and hearing your thoughts.  What do you think of gold-dipped feet?

Till next time, 

Val :)


  1. I loooooooove the painted drawer interior. It's the little touches like that, which make you smile :) Great ideas!

    1. Thanks so much! I had some leftover textured wallpaper, so I thought I'd throw that in too for a little added something :) Glad you like. Thanks for commenting!

  2. What paint did you use for the gold?

    1. Hello! I believe it was Rustoleum in matte gold but I wouldn't use it again. It smelled awful and was quite runny, so the gold particles kind of always dripped downward. Next time I'll try another brand, but always matte.

  3. Wow, what a great job! I love seeing older furniture redone well with a creative flair. I'm thinking about doing this with my grandmother's old bedroom set, but as there are 5 pieces (headboard, 2 nightstands, dresser and desk) -- it is more than a bit daunting! Sooo, about this sanding… Did you use an electric sander or by hand? And did you make sure you removed all the old varnish/paint before priming? Sorry to pick your brain but I would love any tips on how you got such a professional looking finish :)

    1. Hi Kirsten, thanks so much for your feedback! Yes, on the desktop and the accessible surfaces of the chair I used an electric sander, "the mouse" by Black & Decker, which is a little hand-sander. If you don't have one, it will be your friend for the big job ahead so see if you can borrow one or find one second-hand online. But to be honest I only quickly hand-scuffed the legs on the desk, which I later regretted because everything I'd done just lifted right off when I was removing the tape for the gold-dipped feet, as the remaining varnish underneath was so old and crispy. So I learned the hard way to be thorough this step! As I mentioned though, do be sure to wear a mask :) Good luck!


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