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Antique Dressing Table Turned Desk

Oh, what sweet bliss it is to walk into a thrift store not knowing what you’ll find, and walk out with a piece of history at your side. My kids and I went to get some play clothes and I walked out with more than I came for. BIG SURPRISE, right? What you see below is a giddy me perched on top of an antique dressing table about to become a desk.

Larissa of Prodigal Pieces perched on an Antique Dressing Table | prodigalpieces.com

Who would leave this behind with price tag of $10 and also had a 35% off coupon burning a hole in their pocket? Not ME! tee hee!

This poor old gal really had been given a rotten treatment.1920's Antique Dressing Table Found at Thrift Store Before Makeover by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

It looked as though she had been stuck in a basement or garage and been forgotten about. Her legs had slight signs of water damage, missing casters (all 8 of them), busted veneer, and then there’s the top. Oy!

Antique Dressing Table Top Before | prodigalpieces.com

HOT MESS

Also, it looked as though someone had taped on a center panel to “protect” it or something. At any rate, it’s a hot mess indeed. I know this is a dressing table because I’ve worked on many and this would have had a bench to go with it. Likewise, the mirror mount holes on the back are telling a story of what used to be. I wish I could see this antique dressing table in all its glory.

Damaged Antique Dressing Table Top Closeup | prodigalpieces.com

*post sponsored by Zibra and includes affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

Time to make her shine again! I couldn’t wait to see what was under that messed up finish. I share the complete makeover in a video below, so take a peek to see in a bit.

DIY TIME

First order of business was to break out my sander. I was a mite cold out there, but having fun too! This was one of those moments when you can’t see your screen and you’re trying to take a process pic, only to realize you took a selfie. ahem.

Larissa of Prodigal Pieces Cold and Happy | prodigalpieces.com

Let me just say, I had at that mess like nobody’s business and this is the outcome. {{fist pump action!}}

Sanded Dressing Table Top | prodigalpieces.com

You can bet I did a happy dance! It’s not perfect as it still shows a little time-worn wear story. However, it’s a far cry from what it was before, wouldn’t you say?

I had so hoped to restore this piece to its antique dressing table, glory, but no such luck. I couldn’t find a mirror for the life of me, though I had just passed several up. However, I did end up finding a chair that had nearly identical turned legs. Yay!

MAKEOVER

So, instead of a dressing table, I decided to keep it as a desk. And, since I wanted to restore as much as possible, I dug into my stash of casters to find 8 lovelies. It pays to have a stash. ahem.

Stash of Antique Casters by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

I was even able to find some cool knob replacements as the one that were on it were nasty. This set came off of this antique desk that I did a few years ago. I love their embossed design and backplates too.

Antique Drawer Pulls | prodigalpieces.com

Next, I used vinegar to clean up the base cabinet to prep it for the following steps. For the top, I applied a gel stain in Hickory using my 2″ Angled Zibra paint brush. These brushes I carry in my shop work great for stains, polys, paints, waxes, and so much more.

Staining Antique Desk Top with Zibra Paint Brush | prodigalpieces.com

Also, I wanted to showcase those gorgeous legs. I refreshed them with the same stain I used on the top.

Staining Desk Legs with 2" Angled Zibra Paint Brush | prodigalpieces.com

PAINT TIME

Once the stain cured, I added 3 coats of a matte poly using my stubby brush. Before each new layer was added I used my steel wool to knock down the lifted grain and promote adhesion.  Next, I used a tack cloth to wipe it clean so another coat of poly can be applied.

Applying Poly Topcoat to Desk Top | prodigalpieces.com

Last, but not least, the cabinet got two fresh coats of Bleached Linen, as well as the chair. The best brush to tackle spindles and turnings by far is the round brush . I forgot to take a before picture, but you can see it in my video below.

Painting Turned Chair Legs with Zibra Round Brush | prodigalpieces.com

My little helper was begging to try, so you know I had to say yes.

Toddler Helping Mama Paint | prodigalpieces.com

UPHOLSTERY

While all the paint was curing, I set about to recover the seat and dress up the inside of the drawers. I wasn’t kidding when I said it pays to have a stash. Cindy, a wonderful follower of mine, sent me a whole stash of gorgeous fabrics and trimmings. I chose to use this “Made in Italy 100% linen fabric” for my chair. My heart kept leaping for joy because…I LOVE LINEN!

100% Linen Made in Italy Upholstery for Antique Desk Makeover by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

I just also happened to have a sample of a soft grayish lavender color that would be perfect for my drawers. I’m naming it Lavender Mist.

Once all the paint had cured, I applied a bit of brown wax to highlight those beautifully carved designs.

Are you ready to see my antique dressing table desk complete? I am!

THE REVEAL

Antique Dressing Table Turned Desk with a Little DIY elbow grease. Full video tutorial at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Antique Desk and Chair Set Refinished by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Take a peek at my video tutorial of my DIY fun. I’d love to have you subscribe to my YouTube channel.Subscribe to Prodigal Pieces on YouTube for DIY video tutorials and a whole lotta fun | prodigalpieces.com

Now I do believe this grand ol’ lady is shining with pride again. You would never know the dilapidated state she was once in.

Top of Antique Dressing Table Desk with Fresh New Finish by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Antique Desk Made New with a Refinish by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Open Drawer with Painted Sides and Paper Lining on Antique Desk Set | prodigalpieces.com

I will say that finding that chair was an added bonus for sure. Wouldn’t you agree that it pairs beautifully?

Antique Desk Set Restore and Refinished by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Chair with 100% Linen Upholstery for Antique Desk Set by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

The linen is full of soft tones and has that time-worn feel I was after.

Antique White Desk Set with Upholstered Chair | DIY Makeover by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

TREASURES

Vintage Bust Bookends for Antique Desk by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

My other favorite found treasures last week are this set of bust bookends. Aren’t they cute? I also found the copper jardinares on the desk at the same time. Talk about drooling over the patina. Wow!

Antique Desk Drawers with Time-Worn Style by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

My favorite part of the whole package is how the legs of the desk match the legs of the chair. Even my littlest pointed it out. So fun, isn’t it?

Open Book with Antique Eye Glasses | prodigalpieces.com

TIMELESS

It’s funny to me that all it took to make this antique dressing table new was vision. How often to we look right past something because of what is visible? Looking deeper and savoring is what life is all about. Those glasses are my grandmother’s pair that I cherish. I miss her blue eyes shining with wit and whimsy at me. How I wish I could go back in time and make time for so many things.

My goal in my blog is to encourage and inspire you to make the most of life in any form. If you want something…work for it. God will hear your heart.

Antique Desk with Upholstered Chair | Set refinished by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Happily, this desk has been donated to a local ministry to aid people who are leaving the Amish order – part of my Finding Home program.
Shop Prodigal Pieces | shop.prodigalpieces.com

GIVEAWAY

Time for some sweet fun for you. Zibra and I are all about inspiring you to DIY too. We’re offering this fantastic prize package of my favorite brushes.

4 Piece Detail Brush Kit by Zibra | Giveaway by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Easy entry: Complete the widget below for as many entries as you like (daily even for more entries). Open to U.S. and Canada residents 18 years of age and older. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Be sure to check your spam!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do pin and share this antique dressing table transformation to inspire others too. We all just need vision.

A sad and dilapidated antique dressing table just needed some TLC. Come see how Larissa of Prodigal Pieces brought it back to life in her video tutorial | Head to prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #furniture #home #homedecor #homedecorideas #video #antique

Up next, I’ll have an 80’s flashback series featuring these “heart” pieces I found while thrifting. Woot! See the first makeover HERE.

Vintage Thrift Store Heart Cut-Out Wooden Bins | prodigalpieces.com

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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More projects like my antique dressing table:

Oh my! This worn out looking Broyhill hutch desk has never looked so good. See how easy it can be to updated a dated piece with the help of Larissa at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comFantastic! This cast-off mirror is married to this antique dresser for a lovely upcycled dresser set makeover by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | See the details at prodigalpieces.com

Comments

  1. Karen says

    What a beautiful job it is truly beautiful. I wish I had your vision!

    • Larissa says

      I couldn’t resist it just because it was so worn. Thank you for the love, Karen.

    • L Steger says

      Great project!! You always amaze me

  2. Kim says

    Beautifully done, as always! Have a blesses and merry Christmas, Larissa.

    • susan waters says

      Larissa i love this. im glad you rescued it from the thrift store. happy as well to see your little helper getting in volved/ Merry Christmas. ps we all know Christmas is about the ‘gift’ to us ; of Jesus birth. ( not the decorations- maybe next year you can decorate

      • Larissa says

        Yes, for sure. I’m so happy in my heart I don’t mind the lack of “stuff”. 🙂

  3. Deb T says

    I love the end result! Beautiful!

    I have been dreaming of painting my vanity……..

  4. SONJA HANSEN says

    Wow. You almost stole that one at that price and coupon. It is no surprise that she turned out so beautiful. Congratulations.

  5. Becky says

    Wow! That little desk went from 0 to 100! I gotta say… I think you missed something when you said all it took was vision; it looked like it took a hearty dose of willingness to pour on the elbow grease, a chunk of time (we mom’s never have too much of that!)… and maybe a little paint and such. 😃 I guess it all starts with vision though! My dining room furniture could use some vision… and paint, brushes, and time too. The blue I tried early this year… well. let’s just say I had vision, but it wasn’t 20/20, haha! I think we’ll call this our primer coat and give it another go. Good job with your desk and chair!

    • Larissa says

      haha…truth. I just mean that it’s possible if you’re willing to try and learn. You made me LOL!!

  6. Alison S says

    I have some chairs I would like to paint!

  7. Michele Branham says

    The vanity is beautiful! I started using Zibra paintbrushes after seeing you use them on your Blog. I love them! The detail brushes make every job so much easier. Thanks for always sharing your awesome pieces and helpful techniques.

  8. Kim says

    As usual Larissa, you have knocked it out of the ballpark! You are so talented! I wish I had all your vision and my gosh, how do you find those bargains? Great job! Happy holidays to you!

  9. Donna O’Dell says

    Beautifully done, perfect marriage of the chair and desk! The linen was a gorgeous crowning touch!
    I would use the brushes to refinish a drop leaf table and chairs I picked up for a great price, but have seen a lot of love!!

    • Larissa says

      I was floored I found the chair right after the vanity. So exciting!! Thank you.

  10. Amy says

    I love the way you look at things. I’m into re-viving things as well. I love the style you give them. Thank you for what you do.

  11. Carol S says

    Thanks for this, Larissa. I have two antique dressing tables in my stash that have been calling me for years. I had tears in my eyes when I read your closing lines of encouragement. I have been trying to get me upcycle business off the ground for years. Every time I get a little momentum going, life drama sidetracks me for months. By the time I get caught up, another something happens. I want to share my God-given talents in a way that makes my heart sing. So hard to be patient and wait for His timing. 🙂 Your encouragement spoke directly to me. Thanks again.

    • Larissa says

      Sweet hugs to you, Carol. I’ve been there and kinda have my own issues, so speaking from the heart. Thank you.

  12. Mary says

    So pretty and now all those pretty details really pop! Your little helper is working wonders!!

    • Larissa says

      She helps me enjoy what I do. So fun to have a sidekick. Thanks, Mary.

  13. Annie says

    Hi Larissa,
    I was wondering how you were able to define the carved accents on the drawers after you applied the numerous coats of white paint ? Did you apply a wax to the drawer fronts or did you “dig” out the paint from the carved accents on the front ? I have a thrifted dresser that could be the sister to your dressing table and I want to revise it like you have done and I want the beautiful carved outlines on the fronts to show.
    Thank you for sharing and your inspiration.

    • Larissa says

      I did two coats of paint and never do it too thick as to hide the details. After painting, I just used the dark wax to accent the details. They are too pretty not to shine. 🙂

  14. Rebecca - Knoxville, TN says

    Love it when It all comes together! Beautiful makeover and perfect match with the chair.

    I love how you don’t let “Mr. Snow Miser” slow you down! (I grew up in NW Penna – brrrr)

    • Larissa says

      He can beat you down when it’s gray, but the sun makes all the difference. tee hee! Thank you, Rebecca.

  15. Kimberly says

    LARISSA, I read your posts almost every day and your ideas inspire me to try! Thank you! I love your ideas and your projects and your vision to turn trash to treasure!

    • Larissa says

      My absolute pleasure. I do believe you made my day. Thank you, Kimberly!

  16. Frances says

    You have the old girl new life. Looks so good!

    • Larissa says

      I feel like I could use the same. haha!! Thank you, Frances.

  17. Rebecca Drake says

    Simply beautiful!

  18. Gail Bigelow says

    Love the contrast to the dark top and the white (or nearly so) base of the desk. I’m looking to do that to a Cherry dining table and have concerns. I love the table as it is but I want a change. A new set of brushes would get me going on my way! Thanks for the interesting makeovers and great tutorials!

  19. Toia says

    I love this paint/stain makeover and the price was right, also! I have learned so much from your blog. My next project is to paint a lingerie dresser. I’d love to try blending colors!

    • Larissa says

      Can’t beat it, right? So glad to hear it. You will love blending colors. It’s fun!

  20. Jen says

    Another beautiful ending! Someday I will get to my projects! Hopefully sooner than later!!! Thanks for your inspiration!!!

  21. Sissy Zugg says

    What a beautiful transformation! It’s a wonderful feeling when you can score a beauty like this. It turned out beautiful!

  22. Lynne says

    I am always amazed at your lovely pieces! I wish I had a tiny drop of your talent. :/

  23. Stephanie says

    I love this! It turned out beautiful! I have some dining chairs I’ve been wanting to paint but they have a lot of spindles, these brushes would make easier work of it!

  24. Patricia says

    You have vision that most of us lack. Love your work and would enjoy trying out those brushes on my own “antiques” to give them new life. Happy holidays to you and yours.

  25. Susan Blaine says

    My first time visiting your blog, can see that you really enjoy what you do…..LOVE YOUR MESSAGE! God does know what’s in our hearts, and always finds way for that to come out in our lives! God Bless!

    • Larissa says

      I’m so glad to have you, Susan. Sending sweet hugs. 😀

  26. Elaine says

    Look how cute that turned out! I love the paint/stain combo!

  27. Alicia H says

    You have perfected the farmhouse look! Congrats on all of the wonderful accomplishments! Just Beautiful! Happy Holliday’s to you!

    • Larissa says

      Thank you for the loving words. I have fun! Same to you.

  28. Robyn Wright says

    LOVE that smile in your selfie!

  29. Kelsey says

    TEN DOLLARS. Wow! And it turned out beautifully. Hopefully it will now survive another 100 years.

    • Larissa says

      Totally one of my better scores. So fun to find and redo.

  30. Abby says

    Your desk turned out beautiful! My end tables are still waiting for me to make them pretty 😊

  31. Cindy Downing says

    O my, that’s a steal, good for you. I have so many projects to do, i don’t know which would be first. Thanks for the chance.

    • Larissa says

      Yes, but cheap usually means lots of work. haha! I’ll take it! 😀

  32. Debra A Wise says

    Brrr. Really cold where you live! Your sweet little helper is so cute! Another great makeover!

  33. Anh Nguyen says

    You did an amazing job! I cannot believe the difference in the before and after pics.

    • Larissa says

      Wahoo!! It was refreshing to see it be revived. Thank you!

  34. Sherry Fram says

    I would use them to refinish my mother’s buffet & China cabinet. She has been wanting my sister & I to redo them for awhile now.

  35. Sherry Riggs says

    Love the makeover!

  36. Terri Hughes says

    You are a miracle worker for sure….beautiful job!

  37. Judy Burnside says

    Larissa, the desk is beautiful! Perfect inspiration for me – I found a similar one on the side of the road – a castoff! Just needs a bit of repair that shouldn’t be too difficult, and then I plan to paint it and use it myself as a desk (trying to get the computer out of the kitchen!). I am hoping to save the top enough to stain as you have done – really makes the details stand out so nicely. I love looking at your work – always such an inspiration to me. Thank you, and wishing you and your lovely family a blessed Christmas.

    • Larissa says

      SCORE!! That is an awesome idea. I have two desks already and love them both for different reasons. Merry Christmas to you too!

  38. Lori Sawyer says

    Looks great! Ive been on the hunt for a dressing table but have found one that speaks to me yet.

  39. Tracy Pfromm says

    I like the material you chose for the chair. Makes me want to work on a few old chairs in my garage.

    • Larissa says

      Thank you. It was a wonderful gift to receive. It fit my project perfectly.

  40. Danelle says

    Wow, that’s beautiful! I especially like the fabric you used on the chair. Thanks for inspiring us again!

    • Larissa says

      Thank you for saying so, Danelle. The fabric was just perfect for it.

  41. Melva says

    Larissa, the set turned out just beautifully! You did an awesome job! I’m inspired to try my own project. Thanks for sharing.

  42. Dana says

    The chair really does go well with the desk! Feeling inspired now to finish the prep on a coffee table I’m working on and get painting!!

    • Larissa says

      Thank you, Dana. I hope you’ll have fun giving it a DIY try. 🙂

  43. Dana Miller says

    This is one of my favorites…I love grays….and the floral is added love 🙂

  44. valerie theberge says

    Beautiful! I have a old dresser I would like to paint 🙂

  45. Kim says

    BEAUTIFUL!!! You have inspired me. I have my grandmother’s bedroom suit with a similar piece (with mirror) that I have been wanting to re-do and this would be perfect. A couple of questions though…What are the advantages/pros and cons to gel stain over other kinds? What determines when you use it? I’ve never used it. Also, can you share which poly you use please? Your work always leaves my jaw dropping! I’m always showing my husband and saying “Look what she has done this time” to which he usually responds “WOW!!!” LOL. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Larissa says

      What a treat to hear. Thank you, Kim. For me, the gel stains give a deeper, more solid stain. If I want more of the grain to show I go with a standard stain. Since this maple wasn’t quite so showy and had wear, I went with the gel. I have the link to the matte poly in my post. Feel free to email with more questions. 🙂

  46. Sue Pagels says

    it turned out beautifully! And I love Zibra brushes as well My painting has stalled but once the holidays are over, I am sure I will get back to it. Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

    • Larissa says

      Thank you! They are just the best brushes and I’m not foolin’. 😉 My pleasure!

  47. Brenda says

    I love the color you chose for that project. You have a natural talent for picking just the right color for all your projects and that’s why they turn out so beautifully. I have some bookshelves that need to be painted but always have a hard time deciding on the color, but you keep me inspired so thank you for that.

    • Larissa says

      You are so sweet to say so. I try and really have fun creating. Thank you, Brenda.

  48. Rachel Clarke says

    I have an old cabinet that needs painting for my craft room.

  49. Kim says

    BEAUTIFUL!!! I have my grandmother’s bedroom suit with a very similar piece (including mirror). I’ve been wanting to do something with it but haven’t found anything I liked to copy. I’m a great copier but have zero imagination or creativity. LOL. I’ve found what I like now! Thank you. I have a few questions though…I’ve never used gel stain, what are the pros and cons of gel stain and what determines you using it on a piece over any other stain? Which poly did you use? And lastly, just curious, did you use the same color for the top as you did on the legs. You have inspired me to get busy. I LOVE IT. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Larissa says

      What a treasure you have! I’m glad to hear you’ve found inspiration. That’s what I’m all about. For me, the gel stains give a deeper, more solid stain. If I want more of the grain to show I go with a standard stain. Since this maple wasn’t quite so showy and had wear, I went with the gel. I have the link to the matte poly in my post. Feel free to email with more questions.

  50. Kaycee says

    Larissa, Wow, what a amazing piece to find, but boy it was good that you had a coupon! You had your work cut out for you on this one. As usual, you found the perfect way to blend the two pieces together and that linen fabric is awesome. I really enjoyed your staging with your Grandmom’s glasses too.

    • Larissa says

      Gotta love a great deal! 😀 Thank you so much, Kaycee. 🙂

  51. Susan Sosbe says

    My favorite pieces are the old, neglected pieces that are found tucked away somewhere…forgotten and unloved. Fix them up and clean them up, so someone once again says, “I want that!”. It’s my favorite part of doing this. The more neglected and abused, the better. I love what you did to this…it’s beautiful.

    • Larissa says

      You are such a kindred spirit, Susan. YES…all I can say…yes!

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I love it! Larissa is amazing. She listened to what I wanted and then she took care of the rest! This is my second piece I've bought from her and I'm in love! I highly recommend her.

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2020-03-21T21:34:13-04:00

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