What To Do With An Old Desk

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This comprehensive guide explores the myriad of possibilities for giving an old desk a new lease on life. Whether you’re looking to repurpose it into a unique piece of furniture, restore it to its former glory, upcycle it with a touch of creativity, or find unconventional uses for it, we’ve got you covered.

Repurposing the Desk

What to do with an old desk

An old desk can be transformed into a new piece of furniture, offering a creative way to repurpose it and add a unique touch to your home. With a little imagination, you can give your desk a new lease on life and create a functional and stylish item.

Coffee Table

With its sturdy frame and flat surface, a desk can be easily converted into a coffee table. Simply remove the drawers or shelves, sand the surface, and apply a fresh coat of paint or stain. Add some legs or casters for a more elevated look, and you’ve got a unique and practical coffee table.


If your desk has shelves or drawers, you can repurpose it as a bookshelf. Remove any unnecessary hardware and add some bookends to keep your books in place. You can paint or stain the desk to match your décor and create a custom bookshelf that fits your space perfectly.

Storage Unit

A desk with drawers or cabinets can be transformed into a versatile storage unit. Remove the top surface and use the drawers or cabinets to store anything from toys and games to office supplies and linens. You can also add some shelves or baskets to create additional storage space.

Craft Station

With its flat surface and ample storage space, a desk can be repurposed as a dedicated craft station. Remove any unnecessary hardware and add some shelves or drawers to store your craft supplies. You can also add a pegboard or magnetic strip to keep your tools organized and within reach.

Pet Bed

If you have a furry friend, you can repurpose your old desk into a cozy pet bed. Remove the drawers or shelves and add a comfortable cushion or mattress. You can also add some curtains or a canopy to create a private and cozy space for your pet.

Restoring the Desk: What To Do With An Old Desk

What to do with an old desk

Restoring an old desk involves a series of steps to revive its original condition while preserving its historical value. The process includes cleaning, repairing, and refinishing the desk using appropriate materials and techniques.

Cleaning the Desk

Begin by removing any dust or debris from the desk’s surface. Use a soft cloth or brush to avoid scratching the finish. For stubborn dirt, apply a mild cleaning solution and wipe gently. Test the solution on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the finish.

Repairing the Desk

Inspect the desk for any structural damage, such as loose joints or broken parts. Tighten loose screws or bolts, and use wood glue to repair any cracks or splits. For more extensive damage, consult a professional furniture restorer.

Refinishing the Desk

If the desk’s finish is damaged or faded, it may need to be refinished. Sand the surface lightly with fine-grit sandpaper to remove any existing finish. Apply a new finish, such as stain, paint, or varnish, in thin coats, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

Upcycling the Desk

Antique desks desk pedestal chairs

Upcycling an old desk involves transforming it into a new and improved piece of furniture, often with added functionality or aesthetic appeal. This can be achieved through various techniques, allowing you to personalize the desk and make it a unique reflection of your style.


Painting is a classic upcycling technique that can dramatically change the look of a desk. Choose a paint color that complements your existing decor or adds a pop of color to your workspace. Use high-quality paint and primer to ensure a durable and professional-looking finish.


Decoupage is a decorative technique that involves applying cut-out images or patterns to the surface of the desk using glue or Mod Podge. This allows you to add intricate designs, artwork, or personal photos to the desk, creating a unique and eye-catching piece.

Adding Decorative Hardware

Replacing or adding new decorative hardware, such as knobs, handles, or drawer pulls, can instantly update the look of a desk. Choose hardware that matches the style of the desk or your personal taste. Consider using different types of hardware on different drawers or sections of the desk to create a more eclectic and personalized look.

Incorporating Personal Touches, What to do with an old desk

To make your upcycled desk truly unique, incorporate personal touches that reflect your personality and style. This could involve adding a monogram, painting a special design, or attaching sentimental items to the desk. Let your creativity flow and make the desk a reflection of your own unique aesthetic.

Creative Uses for the Desk

Desk vintage makeover school old thenavagepatch top

Beyond its traditional purpose, an old desk can be transformed into a unique and functional piece with a little imagination. Here are some unconventional and creative ways to repurpose an old desk:

As a Display Piece

An old desk can become an elegant display piece for cherished items. The drawers can store precious keepsakes, while the surface can showcase family photos, artwork, or travel souvenirs. By painting or refinishing the desk, it can be customized to complement any decor style.

As a Planter

Transform an old desk into a verdant oasis by filling the drawers with soil and planting herbs, flowers, or small plants. The desk’s sturdy structure provides ample support for the greenery, creating a charming and functional indoor garden.

As a Workspace for Hobbies

An old desk can be repurposed into a dedicated workspace for hobbies and crafts. The drawers can store supplies, while the surface provides a spacious area for painting, drawing, or other creative pursuits. By adding a comfortable chair, it becomes an inspiring and practical haven for artistic endeavors.

Innovative Repurposing by Artists and Designers

Artists and designers have pushed the boundaries of desk repurposing with innovative ideas. Some have transformed desks into sculptural pieces, using the drawers and compartments as unexpected elements in their creations. Others have used desks as canvases for their artwork, creating unique and eye-catching statement pieces.