Before and After: A Cheery, Organized Workspace for Less Than $50

updated Jun 23, 2020
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This year, many people had to adjust from commuting to a dedicated office building to squeezing in a small workspace and makeshift desks at home. Mary Weafer of Weafer Design took it to another level and flexed her creative muscle to make spaces for family members’ Zoom calls and daily assignments under one roof. “I had been looking for a desk for my daughter to use since she was finishing her school year at home,” says Mary. “Her current desk was too small. I found this desk on Craigslist and it was the prefect size.”

She nabbed the desk for just $25, but it needed a bit of work. Made of a medium-toned wood with dark blue accents, it felt more 1990s than 2020—and her daughter wanted something in a fresh white hue. Fortunately, Mary already had the perfect paint and primer on hand. To aid the white in lightening up the desk as a whole, Mary replaced the drawer pulls with gold ones that rang up at $20 and opted for a brighter accent color: light teal.

The project was roughly a week-long process and included cleaning the desk before lightly sanding it. Then, Mary primed and painted it. “The painting took a long time because there was a lot to cover,” says Mary. “It needed two coats of primer and two coats of paint with a few extra days to sit and dry—especially because this was a work surface.” Mary’s daughter was eager to start using the desk, which did result in some small dings, but fortunately it was easy to touch up, Mary says.

Both Mary and her daughter loved the end result. Next time, Mary says, she’d be a bit more patient in the process. “Just give yourself plenty of time and patience with making the piece your own,” Mary says. “If it is newly painted, it really needs two weeks to fully cure before it can be washed.”

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