I have used the Ikea Expedit Desk in two different home offices now for about 10 years, and it has worked out really well for me. When I took over this new office space though, I knew I’d need a new desk because my old desk wouldn’t have worked here. I also thought it was just time for a new style of desk and wanted a really large flat desktop space to sprawl out on.
My initial idea for this space was a really cool statement desk made out of stone or marble, something a little like this…
Not only did I have the room for it, I wanted something different that stood out beyond just a regular desk. You can see it and more in my inspiration and mood board when I first started conceptualizing my office space redesign.
So I set out to find such a table and I began my search at the local thrift shops, as I normally do, and even looked in garden/outdoor furniture section to find the perfect stone table. I was really looking for something that was unique, something that you wouldn’t normally think of using as a desk, but that I could turn into a desk, but didn’t have much luck. I also like when furniture has a story, when it’s a really cool “find” or treasure, so I didn’t want to just buy something that was already “perfect” and probably also very expensive online (see the widget below for some really cool options that are also thousands of dollars).
While I was on the hunt for my large wall mirror one day, just out and about with my mom, we stopped at Jeannine’s in Lake Arrowhead to see if she had anything similar… and I spotted this table sitting outside, abused by the weather up here and in pretty horrible condition, but I loved the look of it. Even though it was wood and not stone, it had a really unique look to it that felt special in a way.
I wasn’t quite sure it was IT though so we left and later I told Chad about it on the phone… and then even later that evening I was at my office measuring the space to see if the desk would even fit and Chad and our friend Pablo backed up into my driveway with the table in the back! I was so surprised I squealed! I wasn’t sure it was the right fit but when we brought it in, I knew it was IT.
You can’t really tell in the photo below the condition it was in, but you’ll notice the peeling paint and cracks in the photos below…
We then spent the next few months moving it around while we renovated the space and even left it outside on the patio one night when it snowed. It was already in pretty bad condition, so it didn’t worsen it, but we had some work cut out for us to make this table not only function as a desk but to make it pretty as well.
Not only was the paint chipping off everywhere, the top of the wood planks were cracked and bowed upwards. I tried to sand it down one night but didn’t get very far. It was definitely a job for Chad.
Here’s How We Made Over this Desk…
First I’ll show you a few before shots… and granted, this table already had really unique style with the solid legs and the pretty, ornate detailing around all the edges, but she needed a lot of love before she was ready to be used.
By the time we finally got to the desk project though I was like JUST REPAINT IT WHITE AND CALL IT A DAY. I was over it, but I truly did want a unique statement piece and Chad was determined to give it to me.
He wanted to keep the variation of the wood on top to look distressed because I love the pattern that was created once we sanded it down.
He started by planing it to get the bowed wood back to a flat surface…
Then he sanded it with 120grit sand paper and we brought it inside to stain/seal.
We used the same antique white satin polyurethane stain that we used on the floors except we used an oil base on the desk and water base on the floors. However, it is very transparent and almost made the raw wood that was showing through look darker at first. It dried with a foggy lighter look though but needed more work to get it to where I wanted it.
I really wanted a light white wash over the raw wood to create that pretty pinkish color instead of the natural yellow that comes out in the raw wood.
So after the first few coats of stain, Chad used wood filler to fill in the gaps left from the bowed wood, then he sanded it with 320grit paper then we brought it back in for another coat of stain. I think he actually did this 3 times to get the final look you see in the photos. Because he sanded it so much and we used the oil based satin stain, it left the top SO SMOOTH, even though it looks rough. It’s very soft, and in fact, I run my hands along it every time I’m working at my desk 🙂
As for the base and legs, we decided to just give them a fresh coat of glossy white paint to clean them up (see final closeup photos below). Chad sanded a few areas and filled in some of the cracks with putty, sanded it again and then we brought it outside, taped off the top and sprayed the bottom (not with spray paint, but with a pro paint sprayer, the same one we used to paint the walls). Unfortunately it was about 30degrees outside so each time we sprayed it we had to carefully bring it back into my office to dry… for two coats. Slightly nightmarish, but oh so worth it!
A few things should be noted about the space as it is now (seen here): the Behr Midnight Blue wall color looks different in different light or at different times of the day in photos… I have yet to hang any art because I’m not quite sure what I want where, so for now I like the solid walls because they have so much texture and the contrast with the pink curtains and light floors and ceiling mixed with the dark textured lower ceiling makes me happy… I still have to steam my curtains and maybe hem the ones behind my desk and get wall hooks to swag them to the sides as well… I may also swap out the rugs because they both really blend with the light wood floor and I can’t tell if I like the blend or if I want a little more contrast and maybe a larger style rug.
See more closeups of the wood grain in my Collagen Post with my Queen’s Gambit Inspired chess and pills theme.
Find all the details on my pretty paper peonies and speckled cement pots and other details here.
When looking for a new desk, think outside the box. Any table can technically be turned into a desk, but make it your unique and something that you really love because you’re the one who’ll be sitting at it every day 🙂