Refinished Ombre Desk- Weekend Warrior Friday

When we found this desk, we were actually looking for a dresser or a old buffet to refinish and paint a fun color for office storage. But the heart wants what it wants. After a harrowing drive home since it was slightly too big for my car, the desk arrived home, and we had to figure out what to do with it…and realized we didn’t know how to strip furniture.

Also, this is another one of those it sounds easy, but its a lot of sweat equity. The actual steps of the process are not hard, but like I said SWEAT EQUITY.

This is where we started. I wish you could smell it as it was…different. Based on the stains we saw, we think it was in a bit of water, and probably in a super old house. Its funny because we didn’t notice it in the store as everything has that thrift store funk, but once we got it home, it was not fresh! There also was a thick coat of poly or lacquer, so it was going to take some elbow grease to get that off. It also had legs, but they were sitting on them the wrong direction, and were not secured. A lot more work than we initially thought, so we dove in head first.

First, we applied a stripper, and ended up doing it twice as the clear coat was ridiculous. Follow the instructions on the container, but it was essentially- apply thick, leave on for 20 minutes, apply ‘after wash’, and scrub off with steel wool. After that step, it looked pretty terrible. I thought we had ruined it.

Then, we started sanding…and it didn’t look so bad! So we kept sanding.


It seemed like we sanded for days. And days. And a weekend. Eventually, it looked like what it did before the first god awful staining and clear coat.

Next, stain. We had fallen in love with Minwax Jacobean. I had wanted something a little lighter, and the husband wanted darker, so this fell right in the middle.


After the stain, we did several coats of clear poly. Because some of us have a tendency to spill while they are working. Without naming names. So several coats to protect our hard work was needed.

Last, we wrestled it into the house, no small feat. We then had the room to spread out and paint the front of the drawers. To get the gradient ombre, we choose a paint sample card of 3 shades of green at Lowes (as we could see that those three colors looked great side by side), and then sample sized containers made; one for each color. Each drawer received two fairly thick coats. After they were dry, inserted the drawers, and presto! New-old desk!

The filing cabinet next to it was also a cheap-y make over, but that tale is saved for another day…