You have probably come across this style of secretary desk many times. Maybe you even have one in your home! A sweet friend and client of mine happened to be going to work one day when she stumbled upon a yard sale. Before I knew what was happening she was delivering a flat load of furniture to me! That’s the kind of friend you want to keep!
One of the pieces she found was an old, dark secretary desk. While beautiful, it had definitely seen better days. The china cabinet part was missing huge sections of molding and fret work. The inside shelving has some damage as well as an awful smell. I’m embarrassed to admit this piece has since sat in my garage for almost 3 years completely neglected. I recently decided it was finally time to stop procrastinating and tackle the secretary desk.
Navy Blue and Copper Secretary Desk Makeover
- Demolition tools (hammer, screwdriver, drill etc)
- TSP Cleaner
- Sandpaper– 180 and 220 grit
- Metallic Paint
Because of the damage to the upper china cabinet part of the secretary desk, I decided to remove the entire top piece. I wanted it to be less bulky and so this solved all of my problems. There’s probably a much more professional way to demo but I unscrewed the glass doors and then started banging away with a hammer! After all of the top was removed I went ahead and gave the entire piece a good cleaning with TSP and warm water.
Once clean, apply bondo filler in any holes or scratches. There were some screw holes and markings on the top of the secretary desk that were left from removing the top piece. I also wanted to use knobs on my top drawer and so I filled the existing hardware holes on that drawer.
After cleaning and applying your bondo filler, go over every surface of your piece with 180 grit sandpaper and then follow with 220 grit. I decided to use a shellac spray on this desk for two reasons. One, it’s a dark red piece. Even though I was using a dark paint color I knew the chances of seeing bleed through were high. Two, the smell. If you have a smoke or musty smelling piece using shellac will seal in that odor. You don’t want to skip this step! Shellac dries very quickly. You may want to do two layers if you have a very smelly piece just to be safe.
Once I had the secretary desk all prepped it was time for paint! I used Fusion Mineral Paint in Midnight Blue for my main color. It’s a gorgeous deep navy blue. The best part about Fusion Mineral Paint is that since it is mineral based it requires no top coat! I wanted the inside compartment to really stand out and so I removed it and painted it with Fusion’s Matthew Mead Copper Metallic Paint. I also painted the hardware pulls in the same metallic to match. The copper is stunning and adds the perfect touch to the navy secretary desk!
Want more inspiration on how to incorporate Metallics in your home?
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