When my husband decided to make us a new bed, I don't think he realized the whole bedroom was going to get a makeover. Partly because with a bigger bed (we upgraded to a king) and the smallest master bedroom we've ever had, we needed to reconfigure some of the room to make it work. The first thing I wanted to change was the desk. Except it doesn't really work as a desk anymore, so I considered selling it and buying a console table. In the end I decided that I didn't want to buy any new furniture and that I would just turn the desk into a console table. Ah-ha!
Perhaps you'll remember our old desk. In an effort for a quick and cheap makeover I painted the top white with latex. It looked terrible. I have long liked the look of two tone wood/white furniture but this just wasn't right.
So I decided to do it right. And while I like the two tone wood look, I knew I actually wanted a darker wood color with white gloss paint. Initially I was going to make the drawers the darker wood and paint the rest of the desk white, but in the end I switched that idea and I'm really glad I did. I love painted furniture as much as the next guy, but I'm starting to dislike everything being covered in a coat of paint--I want some actual wood! This made for a bit more work because I had to sand the entire desk, really, really well. When it comes to staining furniture it's all about the sanding. If it's not sanded well and you don't get off all the finish, your stain won't go on correctly. (Spoiler alert: You'll get to see what happens when you don't sand well in a second.)
After sanding here's how it looked. If you don't know, you always start with a rough grit paper and gradually move to a finer grit. I started with 80 and ended with 220. You should at least sand with a 220 grit before staining. Once the sanding is finished, but before painting or staining it's always important to remove the dust. So first vacuum it off...really well. Take your time. Then use a soft, dry cloth and wipe it down. I did this with 3 separate cloths. Don't wet it (like I used to) or it will just rough the surface all over again. Some people even go over the surface with their clean hands to remove the last bit of dust.
Now apply the stain. I used minwax dark walnut stain. Since I was only planning to stain the doors I just grabbed the smallest sample can--it was enough for the whole desk! Just follow the directions on the can, it's pretty straight forward.
So here is where improper sanding comes into play... this side of the desk was not properly sanded, the finish wasn't all the way removed and so the stain looked terrible and spotty. I tried to just go over the light spots with more stain. Bad idea. Didn't work. In fact I think the picture below on the left is after I tried to apply just a spot fix.
As much as I didn't want to, I re-sanded that side and re-stained it. So glad I did. I firmly believe if something is worth doing, it's worth doing well, even if it means re-doing certain steps.
Here it is all stained. After it was dry I applied 2 coats of wipe on poly to seal and protect the wood.
Now I took a page from Jenny Komenda's book of refinishing furniture and decided to use an oil based paint on the drawers. I didn't get a perfectly smooth finish, but it looks really, really nice--although the perfectionist in me may redo them in the future. A+ for the oil based high gloss paint!
Ta-da! Although I wasn't sure I wanted this super modern, sleek look (would it mirror the bed too much? Too much dark wood?) I really, really love it. And I think it works really well in the room. I'm using the underside of the desk for our laundry baskets which really helps with the big bed/small room issue. (Well one basket for now. I'm planning on getting something new for laundry...these are falling apart.)
It's so smooth. So polished. So pretty. This is the side I re-sanded. So worth it right?
Yay for tackling projects!
Next up will be making our quilt. Yikes.