Refinished Pink Desk {Tips and Tricks}

May 18th, 2011

When I found this desk, my seven year old daughter was soooo excited! I found it for $12.00 at a Las Vegas Goodwill store. I love going thrift store shopping in Vegas. I wish I could make it to Vegas more often! Although I have already shown you the before and afters of this project, I wanted to go into more detail about the transformation.

For those that missed it the first time, here is the desk after I got done!

I loved the intricate details of the furniture from the start.

 But as you can see from this picture below, the furniture needed a good scrub with soap and water before the transformation could begin. It was filthy!

 It also had some stickers across the top.

 It took a little bit of elbow grease and “goo gone” to get the stickers to come off completely.

 After I had removed the stickers and washed the desk thoroughly, I primed it with KILZ. Kilz is the best primer. I can’t tell you how many times I get emails about projects gone array because they haven’t used the correct products. Believe me peeps, I only give advice about tried and trusted brands. If you don’t use those brands…you’re risking a lot. This desk took two cans of KILZ spray primer. Yes, it is OIL based primer. That is the VERY best kind.

 She already looks a MILLION times better at this point, don’t ya think!?!? The other great thing about KILZ spray primer, is that it covers up odor. If you have ever gotten a stinky piece of furniture that smells like smoke, KILZ will cover that smell for good.  Don’t forget to lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper after your primer is dry. This will remove the gritty sand papery feel.

 Then, I started spraying her with Watermelon colored Krylon spray paint. I love Krylon because of the nozzle. I’ve been doing this for a long time peeps. Trust me. Krylon is the best.

Watermelon pink is one of the colors that covers pretty darn well. Here is the desk at after its first coat of pink.

 Here she is after the second coat.

This desk only took two cans of spray paint.

I have been spray painting for a long time though, so for a newbie, it might take you three cans. Remember that the number of cans of spray paint you will need for a project COMPLETELY depends on what color you are spraying. Some colors cover better than others.

Check out my painting furniture 101 tutorial and my spray painting tutorial for more details and tips.

Then the glazing process began. I wanted the nooks and crannies to stand out.

 As always, I painted on the glaze, and wipe off the excess. Check out my glazing tutorials for more details on this process. I even compiled a few video tutorials on how to glaze found HERE and HERE.

I sprayed the hardware with Rustoleum hammered spray in dark bronze.

The desk was a huge hit with my daughters. I finally got it up into their room.

Slowly and surely we will decorate this house! :)

The mental “to do” list is never ending! I need to start painting some more of my beige walls. I’m drowning in TAN….AAAAAAHHHH!


  1. I'm totally with you on the Krylon nozzel, nothing beats that wonderful red top! I really like some of the colors that the Home Depot and Lowes brand have, but their tops just stink!

    I recently finished a desk, and people are AMAZED that I use spray paint for my furniture…. come on people it isn't your daddy's spray paint anymore!!!

    I love that you went so bright and bold with this!

  2. Love it! The pink is gorgeous.

  3. I hate drowing in tan, its the worst! But what is even worser is when you are renting and the walls are BRIGHT red, Bright blue, and STRIPED yellow and Purple. Boy was I glad to move out of there….
    Cute desk by the way!

  4. I'm still amazed at the $12 you paid for that desk! AAAAAmazing! That pink is beautiful!

  5. Looks adorable!

  6. That desk is adorable! I have a bright pink desk, too. I think it's hard NOT to be inspired when you're sitting at a bright pink desk.

  7. Drowning in tan…that's me too! Even my husband now thinks we need to paint. Yay!

  8. $12!? SCORE!! This turned out great! What a fun piece of furniture for your daughter's room. Spray paint is the best!…the fact that you can spray paint a whole dresser is pretty awesome :)

    Delighted Mommaer

  9. I totally agree with you on Kilz. I just finished 2 side tables, a dresser and armoire and the primer makes the paint stick so well. Do let the primer dry fully though…I had to learn about patience the hard way.

  10. Was the desktop wood or formica? I bought a similar desk through craigslist, but it has a formica top. Everything I've read says not to touch the formica. I wondered if you have any tips or have refinished formica.

  11. That is beautiful! I love it. I've always brushed, you've inspired me to spray. Thanks :)

  12. I LOVE this desk – and the color is amazing! Do you have any tips/suggestions for getting the "old/moth ball" smell out of furniture? I refinished an old dresser and it still smells like "old people." :)

  13. Love the desk! I would have never thought of using bright pink as a desk color, but it looks great! =)

  14. This is drop dead gorgeous amazing!!! Love it!

  15. Love it…color choice Awesome…$12 Awesome…Love Love Love!

  16. The chair is adorable too Brooke :) Very cute combo!

  17. Oh wow! Great job, I love it! Amazing! Lucky girl!

  18. I LOVE THIS COLOR!!!! I used it on a lamp and chair HERE!

  19. I'm curious how you spray painted the drawers. The fronts seem straight-forward enough, but the bottom rails and top edges seem tricky with spray paint. Do you mask off the insides of the drawers? Or do you paint the entire drawer interior? Any tips on how to do this? Thanks!

  20. Have you ever used one of the tops for spray paint cans that lets you use it like a spray gun instead of with your finger? It is a lifesaver and makes it so I can use some of the other brands w/out the splotchy mess they make.;=1305755258&sr;=8-2

    This isn't the exact one I have, but very similar. I've been using it for about 2 years (and I use it a lot) and it still works perfectly.

    Love the dresser! I just did my first show where I sold some of my furniture and I did a few things pink – as I have only boys I though I'd better take the opportunity! SO MUCH FUN!

  21. Love how the dresser turned out! Super funky color I love it ;)

  22. The desk looks cool on it's own but really makes the room all come together! Great job!

  23. The Yoder's Four says:

    I want that desk! I wish my daughter's bedroom was big enough to have one. Then I'd be out on the prowl to find one to refinish!

    Thanks for posting the painting tips again–if this weather ever clears up, I have a dresser I need to paint.

  24. Rochelle says:

    LOVE IT!! My daughter totally wants to go with the polka dot theme after seeing your daughter's room! I agree with you on Krylon! THEEEE BEST!! We are renters and I'm drowning in WHITE FLAT worthless, flaking off the wall paint. Decor is the only way to "hide" it! You think Coral Canyon would be a bit nicer…hmmm.. :)

  25. LOVE the color!

  26. The desk is adorable..What a great find..

  27. So cute.

    I love spray paint ~ so easy and fast. But, Krylon always runs on me :( I also use one of those nozzles that cost around $5.00 ~ it's awesome!! :)

  28. Oh my goodness, this is soooooo adorable!

  29. orbitalpixiedust says:

    I had this bedroom suite when I was a child. I would have LERVED it had it been pink!!

  30. The desk rocks!

  31. I have that very desk with the original white and gold – along with the bed and night stand! It looks like spray paint is effective!

  32. I am in LOVE with this desk!! SOOOOO adorable! I want!!
    I featured it on my blog in my top 10!

    Chrissy visiting from

  33. I love what you did with this piece. How gorgeous. Thank you for the step by step. I feel like I can do this! So, I'm painting a little table for my daughter in a beautiful shade of turquoise. One quick question: what brand glaze do I use? I went to Home Depot today and they had neither the Krylon brand paint not glaze of any kind (the sales clerks looked at me like I was from another planet!). Thanks for taking the time to post this, and for your help. Cecilia

  34. I had this exact white desk (the entire bedroom set, in fact) in my bedroom growing (early 70s)

  35. Love it! I had that desk growing up also. I still have 2 night stands in my step daughter's room, repainted white. Love this, may just have to change her's too.

  36. I love this desk!!! Fabulous!

  37. I hate krylon- it runs, bubbles, and doesn't cover for me. I love rust oleum!

  38. Oh, Milanta i LOVE this! I was just looking everywhere for a 'how-to' page on glazing furniture! I'm going to repaint an old screen door and make it look antique turquoise. Hopefully, with your tips it will turn out the way i want it to! Thanks so much!

  39. Can't wait to do 1st project with my daughter on my childhood desk! Thx for all the info! She is interested in the polka dot theme. Can you share how to did the dots above desk and on framed art? We can't paint her walls:( so this would be perfect.

  40. Oh my God! I'm not even lying to you when I say I have this EXACT same bedroom set!!!!!! Canopy bed, dresser with mirror and chest of drawers. Passed down from my mom. I had it growing up! The bed is out away and the dressers we repainted and changed the handles for my sons nursery. This is insane.

  41. I have almost the same exact desk that I was trying to paint black. We got the sandpaper, the spray primer, spray paint… However had serious problems. I sanded it as best as I could I think it had some sort of finish on it that had started to peel off. Then my husband primed it then he tried painting it but each spray paint we got got all drippy making the desk look bad then he tried the drawers which I didn't sand and they looked almost burnt in spots. Also how do you not have the scratchy surface without the sanding.. HELP! Love the job you did by the way

  42. @Erna Pulley

    The dots above her desk are just vinyl! So easy! And cheap! Here is a link for instructions on the wall hanging… Hope this helps!!!

  43. @Ashley R

    There are a few things here that may be the problem. If there was a laminate on top, you wouldn't want to sand it. Just prime it. (However, I did lightly sand it after I primed it with a 220 grit sand paper.)

    Also, if you want to paint it black, you might try a gray primer. (The Rust-oleum brand is the best.) The dripping is most likely due to spraying too closely to the desk.
    It might be too late at this point but hopefully you can salvage your desk. Good luck and feel free to get back in touch if you need to!

  44. Moms Club of Baltimore says:

    I have a question, Im painting an old piece of furniture from a dark brown to bright white.. do you think this brand of spray paint will work for that or is there something different that I should do to make sure the brown doesnt come through?

    ps: LOVE the desk & the price!!

  45. Hello, I'm redoing a dresser into a tv stand. I'm going to do it black. Will glazing still work on dark paint? If so what color glaze would you recommend?
    Also if you have any other tips I would greatly appreciate it!

  46. OMG! it turned out great, im constantly on your blog, like 24/7 x) but can you tell me what vegas thrift stores you go to because i live around there and im constantly over there, but when i go, theres nothing good at all!!! OH! almost forgot, i have that EXACT desk, i went over every last carving and everything is the same!!! Plus my room is pink,black, and white, so this has given me some inspiration! once im confident on what im doing (i have A LOT of pink in my room and stuff that will be going on the desk so i don't want to be drowning in pink, we live in a rental house and our walls are a off white, so i dont want to do white…so im probably going to go with black but you wont be able to see the details!!! :( have any ideas? sorry for making this so long but please resond. THANKS! :)

    • @Sydney: try the detail work in gold or silver metallics It would stand out very nicely. As you know the original details were done in metallic gold.

  47. Thank you for the inspiration. I have a 50 year old fold down wood sewing table dresser to do and was wondering about the smells, and smoother finish. Will for sure now use Kilz for this. I never thought of that, but have used for cement wall mold. And now I will steer clear of Lowe’s spray paint (I get a discount there) and want smooth finish nozzles. Maybe this will be the year to finally do the project (and another dresser too!) As to your desk. When I was 14 in 1965 I found your desk and a bedroom set in the Sears catalog. (It is French Provinicial) Also a canopy bed to match. I wanted it so badly. The whole set would cost $300 back then. My dad told me if I really wanted it I would save 1/2 and he would pay the rest. I worked for months at $.50/hr. babysit jobs and household work. Finally after months I had saved $150. We ordered my furniture. I remember how excited I felt when the Sears truck pulled up to my house with my set :-) My father never did take any money from me. He told me he just wanted to make sure I really wanted it and he didn’t need my money. So I also got a nice savings acct. started. That furniture went thru my life, and both my daughers too. It is now being used by my cousin for her young girl. Enjoy your find!!!

  48. Beautiful!!!

  49. sherri allen says:

    I love this article about painting furniture and I’m about to embark on my first project. I wanted to use Krylon paint based on your recommendation. However, I can’t find black. Am I crazy or does Krylon not have a black spray paint?


  50. Where did you find the desk?

  51. I’m helping my daughter refinish this same bedroom suit from sears. Did you strip it first or sand it?

  52. Jolene Steuckrath says:

    Love everything you did with the desk. I’m a 60’s model granny, sizing down instead of up but here’s a tip for you twenty – thirty somethings? Try auctions. Local auctions and auction estate sales. You can find some fantastic buys there.


  1. […] Here’s an example of a desk transformation. For full details on the how-to, click here: […]

  2. […] out there could have told me all of that right from the start, like if I had seen this post from All Things Thrifty with her desk completed covered with her Klitz spray primer. I suppose sometimes you have to live […]

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