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Painting a Desk: 9 Creative Ideas to Amaze and Inspire

Adding a new coat of paint to an old desk is a great way to breathe life into a room. It’s also extremely easy to do and won’t break the bank.

Blog | Office Layout
Painting a desk pink
Sam Applegate

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and freshen up your desk, we’ve got 9 stunning designs to inspire your creativity. But first, let’s look at the benefits of painting a desk and how you can get started.

Why Paint a Desk?

Painting a desk can be fun and incredibly satisfying. Here are some great reasons to open a paint can and get your creative ideas flowing: Modernize: An old desk with a traditional style can look out of place in a modern home office. Painting your desk will give it a new lease of life and help it match the rest of your room.

How to Paint a Desk

If you’ve never painted a desk before, don’t worry. It’s a relatively simple job that anyone can do. There are plenty of detailed guides online. But basically, you’ll need to follow four steps—clean, sand, prime, and paint.

Remember to put down newspaper to protect your floor as paint inevitably gets everywhere. Also, if you’re not sure about which color to use, apply a small sample first to see how it looks before committing to the whole desk.

For intricate areas or special designs, use a pencil to mark a template before painting. You can also use masking tape for a clean finish or straight line.

Examples of Beautifully Painted Desks

If you’re still undecided about which design or color to go for, here are 9 ideas to help you get started:

1. Subtle shading

This desk features shades of blush pink to give a feeling of warmth. The chair has a matching color scheme that brings the whole area together. This design  requires four different shades of paint, which you’ll need to either mix or buy separately:

Painted desk pink shades

2. Chevron worktop

Add a twist to your worktop by painting a unique design. This example features carefully crafted zig-zags. You’ll need to first mark out the chevron pattern  using a set square ruler or carpenter’s square, then apply masking tape for a neat paint finish:

Desk with chevron patterned paint

3. Minimal monochrome

For something more neutral and understated go for a black and white color scheme. It works in almost any room—so it's great if you already have a lot going on in terms of color and design:

Monochrome office with grey desk

4. Checkerboard patterns

Feel free to add designs to the back or side of your desk. It does require more precision and skill, but is well worth the extra effort, especially if your desk faces the room entrance. Colorful patterns create a focal point and can turn a boring room into something special.

Desh with checkerboard pattern

5. Elegant and chic

Use stencils and spray paint to create a stylish and fashionable look. This vanity desk features gold paint on the legs and has been placed below artwork of a similar style to tie together a consistent theme:

Elegant and chic desk

6. Legs only

If your desktop is still in good condition, you can focus your effort on just the legs. Bright colors work well to create a beautiful contrast between new and old:

Office desk painted legs

7. Bold centerpiece

If your home office is decorated in neutral shades of black, white, and grey, you can go for a bold stand-out color to create a focal point in the room:

Bright bold yellow desk

8. Contrasting worktop

This all-white desk has been painted blue on top. This idea works well if you have other blue objects in the room and want to create a consistent theme:

Desk with contrasting color blues

9. Partially painted

Remember that you don’t have to paint the whole desk. Only the handles have been painted in this example. The rest of the desk has been sanded down and varnished to preserve the natural wood. If you’re only painting a small area, you can get away with stronger, bolder, and brighter colors:

Partially painted desk

Good Luck Planning Your Home Office

Hopefully, you now have some great ideas for transforming your old desk into a modern piece of stylish furniture. Once you are done, your newly painted desk will be the focal point of your home office. 

And when you are ready for the next step, check out these home office floor plans for more inspiration. You’ll find dozens of layouts and home office ideas to create a perfect working environment and a special place for your newly painted desk.

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