Desk DIY Revamp Kimvanveeblog
Practical Living

DIY : Desk Update

If you’ve been watching my Insta-stories lately you would have seen that I’ve been sharing about my office desk that I’ve been updating. It is FINALLY finished!

It’s an original Meranti desk from around 1960’s. Been in our family from new, passed on to each kid as they needed a desk, then in an office for a season, then back in my parents home, then in my office at our business, and now my home desk.

It’s a beautiful desk, made like nothing they make these days. Brass handles on the drawers, and a sturdy frame.

I had painted a mural of grass and positive words for myself on it recently but after doing a series called “De clutter your busy life” by Paula Jones, I was inspired by the thought of minimalist office space to re-do my desk and make it sleek and clean. I had also just had an old black wood coffee table painted and I was in love with the mixed white/wood look.


As you can see, my desk space lacked conformity, cluttered with colour and mismatched desk objects. Fine for a season, but I really wanted to clean up and clear out my headspace as well as my work space. I was using a pile of coffee table books to keep my screen at eye level, and the paint from my “diy attempt at a mural” was wearing off (on my sleeves regularly).

In Process

So I went to the local hardware store, stocked up on some good quality paint and wood varnish, whipped out the orbital sander and got to work!

It was not as easy as the photos make it look. The sanding was gruelling. There were about 4 layers of paint to go through, and then the original varnish, and I did the whole desk, underneath included. It took me an entire morning to sand it down.

I was covered in fine sawdust from head to toe. Everything in my garage was covered in a layer of fine dust, it was so satisfying doing something so physical. Never mind the parallel of stripping off the old paint and making the canvas fresh, the same way you clean your mind and ready for a new season of life.

The raw wood under all that paint.


First you must prime the wood with wood primer, it’s pink, don’t panic. It has to be done to create a barrier between the wood and the paint, to make the paint last and go on smoothly, it also helps in that you won’t have to paint too many layers, cause the wood won’t absorb the paint.

Three layers of white on top of the primer. The white enamel paint takes about 6 hours to dry in the sun, inside my garage it took around 10 hours to dry.

The raw wood top I varnished with a blend of mahogany and ebony Timbacare. Three layers of varnish, each one takes 8 hours to dry. So that took four days to finish.


I can promise you that brass is a pain in the butt. Truly. But it is beautiful and I love it, I have inherited a number of brass pieces that are gorgeous, and I am becoming a “brasso expert”.

Basically I clean a lot of brass objects in my home (floor lamp stand, brass plate table) that I am really good at getting it to shine!

My desk had horrible dirty handles that I was convinced where brass under the black smudges, and I was right. It took a good four hours to clean the two handles through years and years of dirt and tarnish, but I got them gleaming! It really is rewarding to see how you can bring something back to life with a little elbow grease and determination.

Don’t they look amazing?!

Finished product

The drawers were sanded and painted last, and I gave them two coats of the same mahogany/ebony blend Timbacare, fixed the handles back on found a better option to raise the desk to the right height for my computer (being an old desk it stands quite low and standard chairs are too tall).

Voila! Isn’t she beautiful?!

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