Vintage Gray {Desk Makeover}



Yay! The desk is finally done! Well it has been done for about a month now… I was just waiting for those dang pulls to go on sale at Hobby Lobby. Then when they finally went on sale they only had SIX in stock! So yes I blame in on HL for not having this post up sooner. ;)


I {heart}  my vintage typewriter.



Remember the before… I was lucky enough to receive this desk for FREE!! My sister n’ law had asked my husband if we wanted this desk… and just as he was about to say no, I said YES! Okay so maybe we didn’t have anywhere to put it at the time… but with a little re-arranging I made it work. I will never pass up a piece of furniture. And you know what I am REALLY loving? Having this extra desk near the kitchen… my counter are no longer flooded with papers… well for now at least. And I can roll down the top so the mess is hidden away (and those little hands).


Once we got this baby we went straight to work. There’s my little handy man helping us out.

An electric sander is a must!


We pulled out the mail organizer and all the pulls.


After it was sanded and cleaned the desk and  gave it a good coat of primer.


Then I painted it with gravity, but it turned out too light. So I decided it would look good with the 2-tone look and taped off the areas I wanted to stay the lighter gray. THEN I re-painted the rest with vintage gray (from Lowes).  I am so glad I ended up doing the 2-tone look… it gives it great charm!


After a few days went by I decided I wanted to glaze the desk a little. I went at picked up some glazing medium from Michaels and mixed black, silver and white to create the perfect color I was looking for. I simply painted it on and wiped it off with a wet paper towel. In spots it didn’t take, I just added a little more.


Finally, I added the new pulls. I think they are quite lovely! :)


And she is finished! YAY! I was going to stencil the roll top…but I think I’ve decided I’m going to paint the wall and do a stencil across the entire wall.


I’m thinking maybe a white or light gray base color… with a red quatrefoil stencil. Thoughts??? What would you do?

Starred Photos15

 And because I love a good before and after shot… Winking smile

Here it is with the blue stenciled wall finished

how to stencil a wall

So do you LOVE it as much as I do?!

more by Jamielyn »

Jamielyn Nye

of I Heart Naptime

Creative director and founder of I Heart Naptime. Jamielyn aspires to reach women, get their creative juices flowing, and to genuinely inspire. When she’s not creating, Jamielyn loves to chase her three little monkeys and snuggle up on the couch with her man.

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100 comments on “Vintage Gray {Desk Makeover}”

  1. This is gorgeous!!! I LOVE IT! and I LOOOOVEEE the typewriter! :)

  2. It looks fantastic! This post makes me so excited that we are looking to buy a house soon, I can’t wait to do fun things like this! The “wall of clocks” sounds intriguing, can’t wait to see it when it’s all done.

  3. I think the stencil on the wall will look fabulous. I love red-on-white (as opposed to white-on-red, which is also good and all but I prefer it red as the accent). The desk turned out really good. I think the two-toned paint added a good bit of interest to it in an unexpected way (much the same as a stencil on the roll-top would have). I especially love two-toned paint jobs when the paint is the same color and different shades (as opposed to say, a green desk with yellow inserts). Seeing a zoomed out picture was nice, it gave us a nice feel of how the desk fits in with everything else. Great redo! Those roll-tops can be tricky to update.

  4. I LOVE IT!!! Amazing! I can’t wait to see your wall done too. I love me a good stenciled wall :)

  5. I think she turned out gorgeous and I love that you ended up going with a two-tone effect! The details really pop now!

  6. Love it! We’ve wanted a roll top for a while, but I hate the wood grain oak look and I thought trying to refinish it would be entirely too much work. Maybe I just need to invite you over! It looks great!

    • haha I’ll come over anytime! It really wasn’t to bad… just had to do lots of thin coats. I use a sprayer as well which helped save a ton of time!

      • Hi
        I just discovered your blog…love it. Found it when googling how to make chalk paint:)
        Did you use chalk paint on this gray desk? Wondering b/c you mentioned using a sprayer
        and would like to know if a sprayer can be used w/ chalk paint.
        Thanks! Linda

  7. It looks gorgeous! I love love the colour! And love the idea of the quatrefoil stencil!!

  8. Mandy @ sugar bee crafts Reply

    Small world I was just painting with gravity earlier today!

  9. Wow, this is such a stand out piece of furniture! I love the colors you chose. What a fantastic addition to your room!

    I would love to have you link this up to my first link party–

  10. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. Reply

    What a beauty! We have a very boring dark pine rolltop desk. Maybe it just needs a little paint!

  11. I am in love with this desk!! It turned out so good.

  12. wow, is this gorgeous or what! It doesn’t even look like the same desk. The two tone was a fabulous idea. Would love to see the wall when it’s done too.

  13. I love the colors! It looks awesome!

  14. Oooh it looks SO pretty! I’m loving the two toned grey! And I really like that the grey will look good so many different ways!

  15. I love the after! The colors and the hardware are perfect :) I also LOVE your vintage type writer!!!

  16. Very cute. I’m loving the grey.

  17. it’s absolutely beautiful . . . good work!

  18. Wow, I love it! That is one seriously cool transformation. It hardly looks like the same desk! Excellent choices on the colors.

  19. I was going to hate you for painting that desk. But I love it!! Great color!

  20. LOVE this!!! The two tone looks great! Ever thought about doing the same look to your TV stand??

  21. Looks so great Jamie! I love the grey!

  22. Fantastic! I can’t believe the transformation! I wish I were more brave with stuff like that. I can’t wait to see it against your stenciled wall; that is going to be stunning!

  23. I love it! I just inherited a desk that looks just like it, and I was trying to figure out how to paint the roll top thing without the wet paint sticking to itself. How did you do that?

    • Thanks Christi! I was able to keep it barely cracked from touching the desk. I also used a spray so that it didn’t get to thick in the crevices. It worked like a charm!

  24. This is beautiful. I really regret telling my mom I did not want a desk just like this. Amazing redo.

  25. I really love the 2 tone look. It’s SO elegant. Love it!

  26. YES! I super duper LOVE this makeover! Makes me want to redo some of my stuff. It’ll have to wait ’til mine are out of diapers. On second thought, it might have to wait until they are mature enough to resist the urge to find and use Sharpies…. (yes, I speak from experience – you have to use some SERIOUS primer to cover Sharpies!!!).

    • Ah thanks Caren! You’re so sweet! lol and I know what you mean.. my 2 year old colors on everything! From now on I only buy the DOUBLE washable markers… and I have to hide them. lol

  27. Great transformation! Love that the piece looks like it could tell a story.

  28. wow! Gorgeous! Love those colors! and that typewriter…….stop it!

  29. Love it. GREAT work! (been waiting to see what came of this!) You ROCK!

  30. west furniture revival Reply

    I LOVE THE DESK! you made it beautiful….. i saw one of these at an estate sale they wanted 2000. for it and it wasnt even restored. id love to feature it on my next revival monday if thats ok with you please let me know

  31. Super cute! That turned out awesome! I definitely like the 2 shades of grey and the pulls. And that vintage typewrite is to die for! Where did you find it? I want to find one for my guest book table at my wedding. Most I’ve seen cost an arm & leg-but knowing you, you got that thing for a steal! I think for the stencil wall it would look good painted a really light grey (grey not gray right? hehe) enough to show a difference from your white trim. That is one of my favorite stencils that I want to do when I have a house one of these days. Can’t wait to see that whole wall finished!

    • Ah thanks Mauri! You can totally borrow it for your wedding!! It’s such a great piece… it would add a ton of character!

      • I forgot I didn't respond to this but that would so awesome and sooo nice of you if I could borrow it for my wedding. I'll just ask when it gets closer. I think on the sign in table is where I would want to put it. I have another place I think it would be super cute too! Trying to find all this kind of stuff is where I'm having the most trouble. borrowing is more appealing than purchasing because I won't have a place for all it after (until we get our house)!  Plus I have zero time to go thrifting lol.

  32. Ooooooooh, fantastic!!!! Love love love what you did! I have this exact desk from 1982 sitting in my garage….my childhood desk. I keep contemplating selling it or painting it and you have made my decision for me. Guess what that is???!!!

  33. I’m in awe of your desk! I would never in a million years have thought to do something like that. I absolutely love it.

  34. I LOVE it! What an inspirational before and after! Amazing what some paint and elbow grease can accomplish! Thanks for sharing!


  35. What a great transformation – the gravity gray gave it a face lift and adding the vintage gray gave it a character. Excellent choice!

  36. Hey Jamielyn! I LOVE your new desk makeover it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I’ve been following you for a while I LOVE your blog it’s very pretty and I totally LOVE Naptime tooo!! I saw your link over a Tatertots and Jello, I’m so glad I saw it!!

    You can find me here, I would love for you to visit me at:


  37. Okay, I’ve been trying to convince my husband to paint our rolltop desk to eventually put it in our little girls room. He’s wondering how it rolls now that it’s been painted? He’s concerned painting it will ruin it. :) Any thoughts? Tips?

    • thanks!! I was worried too, but it’s held up great so far! I used a paint sprayer which always helps and also two coats of poly to seal the paint. Good luck! Email me if you have any questions! Xoxo

  38. I LOVE it!!!!! A friend of mine wants a roll top desk so bad so I've been keeping my eyes peeled to find one and re do it for her… Was yours in fairly good condition or did you have to do repairs on it?  Any tips on dealing with that type of wood?  Would love to hear any tips! :)
    Pamela @

    • Thanks Pamela!! It was in pretty good condition. I did have to fill one spot with wood putty, but that was about it. I would suggest using a paint sprayer. It made the project super fas, and made it possible to get into all the crevices. And definitely make sure to give it a good sand job. We probably sanded for over an hour! Then make sure to prime and seal. Good luck!!

  39. I am in LOVE with this!!!! Well done, it's a fantastic piece.

  40. Gorgeous and what I wouldn't do for a typewriter like that!

  41. Whoah!  What a glorious transformation!  I'm totally coveting your vintage typewriter too!  I collect them, and yours is a real gem!

  42. way to go!! looks fab! great transformation, for sure!
    happy crafting,

  43. Oh my gosh this looks so good! My mom has a desk just like this one. I wonder if I can convince her to let me paint it… hum… :) Nice work!

  44. OMG – I have that exact same desk!!! You did a beautiful job painting it. I’m not crazy about mine anymore, but I don’t think I’m brave enough to paint it!!!

  45. OMG, I have this exact same desk!! Yours turned out great. I don’t think I’m brave enough to paint mine yet!!!

    • yikes… sorry for the double post. Was getting a kid out the door for the school bus and thought it didn’t go the first time for some reason. Feel free to delete!

  46. I saw this on Centsational Girl and gasped outloud. This is EXACTLY what I was thinking for my desk which is almost exactly identical and also free to me. Now I truly have a visual for how it will turn out!

  47. O my!!!! This is just lovely:) I really love it. And thanks for the tutorial – I am planning to redo a little bureou soon, and I will surely use your tips:)
    PS. Found your blog through Sarah’s Thrifty Decor Chic and I am deffo adding you to my favourites:)
    Hope you have a great day!!!

  48. HI! I recently found an adorable roll top desk at a thrift store. I am anxious to paint it. Do you have any suggestions on how to paint the roll top? was it difficult?

  49. This is beautiful! My dad just informed me that I could have our old roll top so I was perusing looking for ideas! I think I will try this. What kind of paint did you use? Oil based?

  50. I like what you did to the desk,but if you move it how would the wall look then/ I past on the stencil.And why did you not use the chalk paint?

  51. Wow, it looks so beautiful! I would have said YES to this desk too.

  52. Hi! Just found your blog and love it!
    On the roll part of the roll top desk…did you use a paint sprayer or spray paint from a can? Thanks!

  53. Hi! I love your desk, I have been wanting a roll top forever but the room that I would put it in has a lot of painted furniture. I was hesitant to tackle painting the roll top… do you have some advice? I am assuming that that is the part that you sprayed? Did you use chalk paint in a sprayer or regular spray paint? I apologize if someone already asked this but I didn’t see it in your other comments. Thanks for your help!

    • Hey Jessica! Chalk paint is too thick for a sprayer, so I just used latex paint and it worked great. I believe I did 2-3 thin coats to get into all the small cracks. Hope that helps! Good luck!

  54. Hi, the desk is fabulous. Why didn’t you use chalk paint on it? Or did you.

  55. I absolutely love this desk. I’ve always been partial to grey. Also love black and white like you did on your dining table. I look forward to seeing the walls done. Think it will really pull the whole room together. For walls, I would think going with a very light pale grey. Whatever you decide I know it will be awesome. 

  56. I am in the process of painting the same exact roll top that was my grandfathers. After a coat of primer I feel like the wood is swelling causing the roll too to stick. Any advice ??

    • Hi Amy! I didn’t have that problem when I painted this desk. I have noticed that sometimes humidity can make it swell. I usually paint inside if it is humid outside. That is my only guess to keep it from swelling!

  57. oh my gosh we have the same desk, and I thought about getting rid of it. I wonder if I could make ours look as awesome as yours. we are moving to a new house in April and a makeover woudl make this work in a few places.

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