Before and After: A Fun and Functional $100 Kid-Friendly Work Space

published Jul 23, 2020
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Before: plain wood desk with dated oak finish
Credit: Kera Jeffers

You don’t have to spend a ton of money to make a cute, functional desk space—for adults or for kids. Kera Jeffers (@hautehouselove) has proof in this project she did for her 7-year-old son. Earlier this year, he moved into his own room, and needed a space to do homework, as well as craft and color. Kera didn’t want to have to drop big bucks on a desk, but did want to be able to provide him something that was both practical and pretty to look at. Enter: this very sturdy desk Kera found while thrifting.

“It was tremendously ugly but sturdy and I knew I could make it into a beautiful piece for my home,” Kera says. Plus, it was the just-right size for a kid’s desk. Kera knew it just needed some color and accessories to turn it from clunky to charming. Her goal? “To utilize what I already owned and also buy small needed items on a budget,” she says.

Credit: Kera Jeffers

Kera started by painting the desk with Annie Sloan chalk paint in an emerald green (Annie Sloan’s Amsterdam Green). Once the color was on, Kera added sealer to help protect the desk from nicks and scratches. “The color of the desk is my favorite part and has become a staple in my house ever since!” Kera says. The old, intricate brass pull made the desk look super dated, so she swapped it for a sleek and shiny gold one that she had leftover from other home projects (cost: $0!). “I love the mix of vintage and modern,” she says.

On the wall behind the desk, Kera hung a versatile pegboard from IKEA. Its multiple holes allow her son to rearrange the organizational caddies—and add more later—as needed. A bulletin board on the other side makes room for hanging art or important papers.

The black industrial-style sconce above was another leftover from a previous project. To install it, Kera used a clever trick: The sconce is lit by a battery-powered puck light, so no hardwiring was needed. “It worked perfectly to finish off the area,” she says. The best part? The whole work area—desk, lighting, organization, and other finishing touches—came out to just $100. The results are cheerful and inviting, but still classic enough to suit Kera’s son for years to come.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.