So many of us are currently learning and/or working from home at the moment. Just because your desk is your primary work space, it doesn’t have to be boring! Consider how beautiful and functional an antique desk can be!
Let’s take a look at some of the antique desks I’ve refinished in the past, and hopefully you’ll be inspired to either makeover your desk or grab an antique one for your home!
Kneehole Style Desks
A kneehole style desk is exactly what it sounds like! It’s a desk with a hole in the middle for your knees. Pretty simple, huh?
Sometimes, they have drawers on both sides.
Other times, there are drawers on just one side.
This Queen Anne style desk has drawers on both sides, but they don’t go all the way to the floor.
These desks are great to split into nightstands too! I’ve got a whole blog post explaining how to do that here. For this post, let’s stick to using desks as desks!
Leaving Some Wood Behind
You know how much I like to combine wood and paint! I think it’s the best of both worlds. When you find desks that have amazing solid wood tops, or beautiful wood veneer on the drawers, consider refinishing those surfaces rather than painting them.
The wood veneer on this desk was so pretty just the way it was. A gentle hand sanding and some Arm-R-Seal was all it took to bring it back to life.
This incredible antique desk was designed to house a typewriter in the middle.
The mechanism in the middle that held the typewriter didn’t function anymore, so I had it retrofitted to be a traditional kneehole style desk. There are little trays that pull out from each side.
The secretary or receptionist that would have worked here used these for note taking and holding manuals.
In the process of removing the typewriter mechanism, the top was damaged. I had a new walnut top installed and refinished it using General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. The natural color of the walnut was too pretty to cover with stain.
The shape of this vintage desk had me at, “hello”!
The wood veneer on the top and drawers was in really good condition.
I gently sanded the original finish away and added a fresh new coat of Nutmeg Gel Stain by General Finishes.
Spinet desks are the most fascinating pieces of furniture, in my opinion. A “spinet” is a musical instrument similar to a harpsichord. Desks in this style have a shape that’s similar to a spinet, and some of they were even repurposed spinets themselves!
Spinet desks are characterized by a lift-up top, a pull out writing surface, long slender legs and a boxy shape.
They are incredibly functional pieces if space is a premium in your home. They offer lots of cubby storage and are great for laptops.
You could even put a computer monitor on the flip-up top and keep your keyboard down below.
Farm Table Desks
This style of desk is one that I personally use in my own home office. I love taking simple farm tables and turning them into desks and workspaces.
My desk was finished in Mora by Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.
I have my keyboard on the top and a big ‘old monitor propped up on a shoebox from my husband’s ultimate frisbee cleats.
Of course, I didn’t style the desk that way for its beauty shots!
I wish my desk looked this clean!
Finding farm tables to use as desks is a little tricky. You need to make sure the table is tall enough for your legs or a chair to fit underneath.
Having a drawer in the middle is also nice! I keep pencils, pens, Airpods, stamps, envelopes and scissors in mine.
I have come across a few pieces that quality as “specialty” desks. These are pieces you don’t find every day that have unique and fascinating characteristics. The first is this incredible Plantation Desk.
This is a piece that post masters or station masters would often use to keep their papers organized. I loved how this one had labels penciled on its little cubbies!
I’ve never found another piece like this one in my travels thus far, so if you find one, grab it!
Speaking of post and station masters, check out this killer rolltop desk!
This piece was like the 007 of rolltop desks because it had a secret latch in the back that would lock all of the drawers.
Aside from being a bit of a MacGyver desk, it was functional with 2 pull-out writing surfaces and plenty of room for a typewriter (or a laptop).
Whatever your needs are, and whatever your style is, I hope this little roundup of my desk projects has inspired you! Now go makeover your desk or hunt for an antique one to bing personality into your home office!