How To Turn a Vintage Vanity Into a Desk

updated Feb 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

For years, I’ve wanted to get my hands on a vintage vanity and re-work it into a really functional workspace. So when my mom texted me a photo of this little beauty from a yard sale, I knew the time had come!

One of the reasons it has taken me so long to pull the trigger on this project was because all the vanities I was coming across were in really beautiful condition. Since I’m not a fan of natural/warm wood furniture in my home and planned on painting my project, I patiently waited until the perfect imperfect piece came along.

What You Need


  • Interior paint
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Masonite board or smooth plywood


  • Medium grit sandpaper
  • Jigsaw
  • Paintbrushes
  • Smooth surface paint roller
  • Electric sander (optional)


  1. For a really nice, smooth finish, and to be sure your fresh coat of paint will adhere to your vanity, give the old paint a good sanding. Get in close to all the ornate detailing, making sure to rough up all surface areas.
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. Prime and coat your desk with your new paint color.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. Carefully remove the mirror from the frame and lay it flat on the masonite or plywood. Trace around the mirror, using it as a pattern to cut your new insert for the frame.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. Use a jigsaw to cut out the chalkboard insert.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

5. Coat with chalkboard paint.

6. Set the painted chalkboard backing into the frame and secure with a nail gun, or wood glue.

The total cost breakdown was $30 for the vanity, $10 for the chalkboard paint, and $10 for the white paint. I reused the drawer pulls, and coated the drawers in leftover paint from my walls in the room. While the final product ended up a bit more ornate than what I’m usually drawn to, I’m really happy with it! It fits my needs perfectly right now.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

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