Dresser to Desk…my new scrap table!

(NOTE: If you’re here to enter the Washi Workshop Giveaway, click to the next post down.) 

It only took us 12 years to get a new bedroom set.  When we got married we just decided to use the set I had gotten in high school since we had no money and were just happy to have a “set” of anything rather than the normal hodgepodge starting out furniture.  But for the past few years I’ve been dying to get a new set.  Something that was more our current taste.  So, finally, a few weeks ago… our new set arrived…and I love it!  That just left the question of what to do with the old stuff.  I was going to give it to goodwill or something, but then I started thinking about how I could convert to something I need/want with a little help from a can of paint.  You know how surfing Pinterest makes you think you can make anything look amazing with just a little paint?  😉  So I started measuring, planning, reading online…and finally came up with a plan.  My husband was skeptical and thought…it’s a dresser!  It’ll never look like a desk!  It’ll be too high!  Where will you sit?  But I had it figured out in my head and I always thought I would like to stand to scrapbook and guess what…the dresser is exactly counter height (after I added the top…) and I convinced him to just work with me.  So after getting some guy friends to help wrestle this puppy downstairs to the play room (where my scrap area is), this is what we started with…..(sorry for the grainy phone pics!)

It had a mirror that we’d already taken off and obviously I’d already removed the drawers to prep it.  I knew the top of the dresser would not be big enough for what I needed, so I decided to add a new, bigger top on top.  If that makes sense.  🙂  We got a sheet of MDF from Home Depot and had them cut it to 32″ x 96″.  That’s a big desktop!  The dresser top itself is only 18″ x 68″, so there was going to be some overhand on the back and two sides.  I didn’t want to overhand too much in the front b/c I wanted to be able to easily access the drawers.  So the next step was adding some supports… L-brackets in the back (where they won’t be seen, so they didn’t need to be pretty) and corbels on the sides (they will be seen and I wanted something that would look nice once all painted out).

We had to cut a notch into the top to get them to fit correctly.  Next, we added the MDF top and screwed it down in a few spots until it felt really solid. An finally (not shown in the pic below) we added some trim to the edges of the MDF so they weren’t so sharp.

Now, I’ve painted furniture before using spray paint or whatever…but never really took the time to investigate how to do it properly.  This time, I read a LOT on blogs and websites and took their advice to heart.  I did NOT sand much.  I don’t have a power sander or anything.  But I went over the top lightly with a sanding block to make it really smooth.  Then I put on two coats of primer…I used Zinsser Cover Stain with a cheapie 4 inch roller that I tossed afterwards (since it requires paint thinner to clean).  In between each coat I sanded the top a little.  Then I started with the actual paint. I used Benjamin Moore Advance Semi-Gloss in Cloud White.  This paint dries with a harder, enamel like finish, but cleans up with water like normal latex paint.  It was awesome!  But they say to wait a day between coats and then several days before using it so it can fully cure or harden.  That was the worst part!  🙂  Here’s the paint almost done…

Looking better, right?  🙂  Finally once it was all cured I put the drawers back in and added some new hardware.  I painted the cupboard door that goes in the middle and planned to use it originally, but like it without it…so I may just leave it off and sand down the hinge holes. Wish I had done that before I painted!  Anyways.. I AM  IN LOVE with it and so happy with how it all turned out.  Amazing what some white paint can do!!!

I love that the kids can use the computer on one end and I can scrap on the other!

And that’s it…the big reveal!  🙂  I still need to add some shelves above the desk.  But that’s for another day!  I’ll have more info about how I organize my stash, keep my tools, etc (and more pics) on the SC blog in another month or so.  Thanks for taking the time to read this far! If you have any questions, let me know!

71 thoughts on “Dresser to Desk…my new scrap table!

  1. KarenP (kphike) May 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm Reply

    That is gorgeous!!!! Love Benjamin Moore paint ! You did a great job and hopefully your husband thinks you are a genius now!!

  2. Allison Waken May 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm Reply

    Loooove it!

  3. cindy b. May 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm Reply


  4. Sara Andrews1 May 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm Reply

    Holy Cow! That is absolutely wonderful. Way to recycle.

  5. Corina T May 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm Reply

    I love how your desk turned out. Good job!!

  6. Kathy Martin May 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm Reply

    SWEET! 🙂

  7. Sandra D May 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm Reply

    I love it! Oh what I would do for a Scrap Room!

  8. kathleen May 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm Reply

    Wow! It looks terrific! I’m so inspired!!!!

  9. Amy Coose May 18, 2012 at 2:46 pm Reply

    This looks amazing!!

  10. Kathy(kathyb) May 18, 2012 at 3:03 pm Reply

    I love it Nic! Does it house ALL your supplies?

  11. Jennifer May 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm Reply

    wow, what a fantastic transformation!!!

  12. cannycrafter May 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm Reply

    Wow! I love repurposing furniture. This is amazing. I don’t know how you can stand so long to scrap though!!

  13. Jennifer May 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm Reply

    Great idea and great work! I’m sure you’ll see it posted all over Pinterest!!

  14. Gracie May 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm Reply

    What a fabulous result of imagination and some hard work! Love it!

  15. Jen Kinkade May 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm Reply

    wow!!! this is gorgeous!:)

  16. AmyInKY May 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm Reply

    That is just amazing! Loved seeing the step by step. 😉

  17. Ursula May 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm Reply

    Well that is just all kinds of wow! Great job!

  18. kim smart May 18, 2012 at 7:56 pm Reply

    omg! that turned out gorgeous!! you ought to be extremely proud of yourself! great job indeed!!! now, i’m off to thrift shops to find my own second hand dresser and get busy, lol!!

  19. Meredith May 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm Reply

    This looks just great Nicole. Way to go

  20. Claire T May 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm Reply

    Wow! Love that you recycled and turned it into something better than the original. What a truly useful piece of furniture!

  21. Diane Payne May 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm Reply

    That looks fabulous!

  22. Donna B. May 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm Reply

    Wow, that is beautiful and looks like a perfect scrapping table! Great vision, Nicole!!

  23. rosalie May 18, 2012 at 11:13 pm Reply

    fantastic! love what you came up with 🙂

  24. em May 18, 2012 at 11:45 pm Reply

    This is so awesome!!! Someday when I redo my scrap space I want to get a counter height table. This in genius! 🙂

  25. hera May 19, 2012 at 1:36 am Reply

    omg!! this looks awesome! great job and vision!! love it.

  26. Diana May 19, 2012 at 2:37 am Reply

    I am so impressed! I absolutely love it. I middle looks great without the door. Honestly, I wouldn’t have known it was a dresser if you hadn’t told us. It really looks amazing.

  27. ann marie May 19, 2012 at 10:06 am Reply

    Wow! I mean, seriously wow! It looks gorgeous, you guys did an amazing job. I’ll bet your dh will never doubt you again. 😉 And the best part is that dresser didn’t end up in as landfill somewhere. What an awesome example to show that with some imagination, paint and elbow grease we can use what we have instead of throwing away and buying new.

  28. Leah May 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm Reply

    love the new work table…you are a genius!!

  29. Anna Sigga May 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm Reply

    The desk is gorgeous – and I love your wall-decor!

  30. debbi mckelvy May 20, 2012 at 1:18 am Reply

    I am so excited for this class! Fell in love with washi tape almost the minute I saw it – when I realized what it was!

  31. Rona Thompson May 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm Reply

    That turned out great! Thanks for sharing your desk project!

  32. Mindy May 21, 2012 at 8:43 am Reply

    I absolutely love it! Turned out so very classic!

  33. Amy Wooten May 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm Reply

    Love it! I guess I need to go shopping for a old dresser to convert.

  34. Asa Lara May 24, 2012 at 5:05 am Reply

    ohh I love it!! the colour is beautiful and you obviously thinked of all the details, like having space for the cords behind the desk 🙂 this is so inspirational
    thanks for sharing , now I just wanna go and paint something

  35. Monika Wright May 28, 2012 at 9:57 am Reply

    This is fabulous, just fab-o! I love having a sneak into crafty spaces and yours looks lovely!

  36. Naddy May 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm Reply

    Oh wow tht’s one amazing table!!! And love your crafty space too 🙂

  37. Kimber-Leigh May 29, 2012 at 9:48 am Reply

    nicole, this is amazing! i would never have guessed that the desk wasn’t originally purposed as such! you did a great job!!!

  38. Shirley June 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm Reply

    Hi Nicole, I’m totally blown away by the transformation! It’s amazing!! I’m curious what is the brand of that caddy next to the glass jar? I’ve been wanting to get one. Thanks!

  39. Pendra June 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm Reply

    Nicole this is really neat, and beautiful! I went to Target and bought the small white bookcases and cupboards in the organizational section and then Menards and bought a BIG white shelving board 36″ X 118″ and screwed it on top of all the cabinets and bookcases (through the cabinet/bookcase top and up underneath the table top) and it works great…love to stand and scrap as well. But where mine is functional and not bad to look at, yours is gorgeous as well! I will never look at an old piece of furniture the same again! Thanks for sharing!

  40. Ma-Ni June 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm Reply

    i love your spece ! congrats for this word !!

  41. Laramie Appenfeller June 14, 2012 at 10:34 am Reply

    How did you make the smaller drawers in the middle of the dresser? or did you buy them?

  42. Angie Platten June 15, 2012 at 9:14 am Reply

    This was a brilliant idea and it’s stunning! If you had to go buy this piece, you’d have to break the bank. I am DYING over those center drawers with the little cut out dip in the top. LOVE! You did a beautiful job!

  43. Lesley @ Trendy Twine June 16, 2012 at 1:23 am Reply

    Wow, you did an amazing job. Your painting came out gorgeous. And too funny! I have the armoire and the chest of drawers to this dresser. Obviously, I’ve had them for a while 🙂

    Lesley @ Trendy Twine

  44. s June 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm Reply

    WOW! you GO girl!! This is brilliant!!

  45. Marty June 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm Reply

    This is amazing! You did a great job.

  46. Gabby June 22, 2012 at 9:36 am Reply

    Found your link on Stef’s Ingenious Inkling blog. LOVE your re-purposed dresser! You did a great job on refinishing it and how wonderful to have all that awesome storage! TFS 🙂

  47. Billie July 9, 2012 at 10:22 am Reply

    It’s beautiful!! Now you have me thinking on what to do with an awkward sideboard … Thanks for sharing!

  48. Tenille July 9, 2012 at 11:36 am Reply

    I SOOOOOOO want to do this!!! Thanks so much for the inspiration!!!

  49. Diana July 13, 2012 at 7:47 am Reply

    Fabulous….just fabulous. tfs.

  50. Suzanne Hue July 20, 2012 at 1:52 am Reply

    How inspiring! I love it. And there’s a place where I can buy a dresser like that for $30! Here in Florida. Thank goodness you used your creativity to make something truly unique, functional and gorgeous. And most of all…thanks for sharing!

  51. Lynette Myers July 28, 2012 at 10:21 am Reply

    That is an incredible project with awesome results!!!

  52. Lindyloo August 1, 2012 at 4:28 pm Reply

    I have just found your blog via a link through one of my followers and I have to say how wonderful your recycling project is. I also love to upcycle and recycle this way. You can often make a piece of furniture look better than it did before with care and you have definitely done that. How beautiful and inspirational. Thank you for sharing this.
    Hugs Linda x

    • Robin Nikkel August 16, 2012 at 8:50 am Reply

      I had this exact dresser! I can’t believe I gave it away now. It looks great. I may use your idea in my sewing room redo and put a cutting mat over the top. Thanks for the inspiration.

  53. Renee September 7, 2012 at 8:35 am Reply

    I LOVE IT! Because of you I’m attempting my own 🙂 I hope it I can make it look this good… It’ll be my 1st time making-over a piece of furniture!! I can’t wait to get started!!!

  54. Katherine Morris September 23, 2012 at 12:20 am Reply

    I think you should put a shelf behind it at the top for some more storage. Just add a few more L brackets. If it was mine I have wheels on it so I could more it out and work around it when needed. You did a fabulos job, and it had great bones to start glad to new new life given to it, your daughter going to want to take it to college when she goes!

  55. Ashley @ DesignBuildLove October 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm Reply

    absolutely one of the most ingenious furniture makeovers I have seen! Love the the former dresser can serve soooo many purposes now! (and look great while doing it!) 🙂

  56. Bonnie Jo Taylor November 25, 2012 at 12:45 am Reply

    I have this same dresser and have prepared it according to your instructions. Please describe the trim that you added to the raw edges of the melamine/MDF sheet. I am using mine as a cutting table and need the edges to be very smooth. The iron-on banding snags the material as it passes over the edge. Thanks.

    • nicolesamuels November 25, 2012 at 8:27 am Reply

      Hi Bonnie! I’m not sure of the exact name. But it’s a thin, rather flimsy long strip…flat on one side, curved on the other. 1/2 round? Definitely not 1/4 round. It’s wider than the mdf piece, so I had attached it’s flush with the top. Then after the liquid nails set, I used wood filler to fill in the seam between the edge and the mdf. There was some roughness at this point. I sanded like crazy to get the edges all smooth all the way around. Hope that helps!

  57. Whitney Hebert Howe December 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm Reply

    lol i have the exact same dresser it was mine growing up and now is in my sons room his close are getting to big for it and im going to be getting him a new one thanks to you I now know what to do with the old one awesome post!!!!

  58. Jill S December 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm Reply

    Beautiful and creative way to repurpose your dresser. Magnificent!

  59. Sharon V. February 7, 2013 at 10:28 am Reply

    I love the re-invented dresser. It looks so functional. What a great idea. TFS!!

  60. Bluebell February 11, 2013 at 6:09 am Reply

    Oh it looks soooo Pretty!!! I love how smooth the paint is, and all that new space to play on!
    Well done it looks fab!

  61. Peggy B February 11, 2013 at 11:01 pm Reply

    You are the refurbishing queen..in my eyes. This is the most useful, and beautiful re-do I have seen! Kudos! And forgive me, but I am going to try to do something similar….this piece is a great inspiration!

  62. Claudette February 19, 2013 at 11:04 am Reply

    “Dresser to Deskmy new scrap table! ” ended up being a
    incredibly great posting, . Keep creating and I will keep browsing!

    Thanks a lot -Kathleen

  63. Jennifer March 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm Reply

    WOW! I remember seeing this on Pinterest last year! That’s an amazing transformation!! BTW I had to let you know that I took your Bright Ideas class thru SC. While I must confess I have not read all the PDFs – the ones I have read are amazing, so detailed and descriptive. I can’t even imagine how much time you put into this class. Thank you so much!!

    • nicolesamuels March 3, 2013 at 5:19 pm Reply

      Thanks so much, Jennifer! I had a blast putting together that class. It was definitely a labor of love! Hope you get time to delve into the challenges at some point. 🙂

  64. pj June 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm Reply

    Very impressive! You got a lot of bang for your buck. I bet hubby was surprised and impressed with your idea.

  65. Kiyara July 7, 2013 at 2:55 am Reply

    super impressive!!!! love the table….thanks for sharing the post…very inspiring..

  66. 1sassy1 September 15, 2013 at 2:06 am Reply

    Love how you purposed the dresser into a functionable work table. We did something similar to a dresser and really like how I use it. Can’t wait to see your shelves. Would love to see your scrap space.

  67. Sarah smile October 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm Reply

    This looks amazing and is something I am seriously considering trying. Can you please tell me what tool you used to make the notch for the corbels? And were your corbels stock from a home improvement store or did you do them custom? Thanks

  68. poduszkiciazowe.pl October 17, 2013 at 8:54 am Reply

    Good write-up. I definitely love this website. Keep writing!

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