How to Refurbish an Old Desk – DIY Awesome Red Desk Redo for a Kid

Tucker's red desk furniture redo #diydesk

Sharing all the tips & tricks for how to refurbish an old desk into an awesome red desk redo for a kid with pictures.

How to Refurbish an Old Desk – a Red Desk Redo for a Kid

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Sharing all the tips & tricks for how to refurbish an old desk into an awesome red desk redo for a kid with pictures. #reddesk #furnitureredo #paintedfurniture

It seems kind of funny that the first kid in our house to have a desk is in preschool but I suppose we have to start somewhere, ha!

Lately, Jason has been busy refinishing furniture at our house (by far his favorite house project) first with Audrey’s 4 poster bed and now Tucker’s new red desk.

We found this desk at our local thrift shop for $30.

Although a 4 year old really doesn’t have any homework yet we couldn’t leave without it.  

It’s kind of a funky size halfway between a toddler desk and a grownup one but just perfect for Tucker.

Sanding Down this Old Vintage Desk for a Kid

Jason sanded it down the top and roughed up the sides to get the desk ready to paint.  

Tucker's red desk

Our youngest boys bedroom already has a lot of wood with his new wide plank floors and his pallet sliding barn door so paint was a good option to add more color to this boys bedroom.

Tucker's red desk

Red Spray Paint for this Vintage Red Desk Redo

Despite trying to talk Tuck into painting it blue (we already had the paint from another project) he was dead set on RED, his favorite color, ha!

Tucker's red desk

Adding Polyurethane to the Top of the Red Desk

So we spray painted it red and Jason shellacked and added polyurethane the top of this vintage red desk redo.

Tucker's red desk

Since the top of the desk gets the most use I didn’t think it made sense to paint it.  

red desk

Rede Chair for this Red Desk Redo

Jason cut down a chair we had in the attic to try and make it work with the desk.  

The jury is still out on the chair… I think it still looks too big.

It’s functional and we can always use it in our older two boys rooms if they ever get a desk!

Tucker's red desk

Tucker loves to color and draw so he was super excited to place the red desk in his bedroom.

Tucker's red desk
Tucker's red desk

We put it right next to his new window seat & built in bookcases so he can look out while he’s coloring!

Tucker's red desk

If you have never seen what Tucker’s room used to look like (hint, it’s used to be a closet… Check that out here.

Tucker's red desk

We have since added our Diy Christmas card holder over his desk so that we can add his artwork to his room.

Our son's newly redone red desk adds so much character to his bedroom.

I do love the pop of red the desk gives the room and Tucker loves it which is all the matters.  

I hope this answers all your questions for how to refurbish an old desk with this vintage red desk redo for our son’s bedroom & inspires you to try & refinish an old desk for your home!

by Tara Lehman

Don’t forget to pin about how to refurbish an old desk with our son’s Red Desk Redo to your Favorite DIY Project Pinterest Board!

We found this old child's desk at the thrift store and refinished it for our son's room. At his request we painted it red after his favorite color!

More DIY Furniture Desk Projects You Might Enjoy

DIY – Built in Desk

Secretary to Built in Desk and Dresser

These DIY boys custom built in desk ideas are cheap, simple to make & don't take away from precious floor space so they are perfect for small spaces. #desk #deskspace #diydesk #diyprojects #homeoffice
8 DIY Desks you can make - I am not sure if Jason & I really like building desks or if we are trying to come up with the best solutions for getting our kids to do homework, Ha! Since moving into our farmhouse 6 + years ago we have made 8 (EIGHT) DIY desks. #DIY #desks
We built an awesome pallet desk for our basement. It cost less than $50 to make and it is the perfect size to hold 2 computers & printer. #palletprojects #office #workspace #builtindesk #desk


  1. Hi Tara!
    First off, your little boys’ room is so cute! I love the window seat. Congrats on the great thrift find and nicely done on the redo. If fits perfectly!
    Hope you are having a good day!
    Aspen Jay

    1. Hi Aspen Jay! Thank you so much for your sweet comments about my little guy’s room and for stopping by! Have a great weekend and take care:)

    1. Hey Christine! Thanks so much for taking the time to check out my little guy’s new desk! Have a great weekend and take care:)

  2. What a darling room. It is sophisticated enough for him to grow with it, or it grow with him. Love the desk. It will be darling in there.

  3. Our son has this desk, too. Your desk would have originally had a roll top but that must have been removed at some time. You did a nice job in making this so usable and it is more useful in being able to spread out coloring books, etc. this way than with the roll top!

    1. Hi Dee! So fun to hear your son has the same desk! I had no idea it had a roll top originally. Thanks so much for your sweet comments and for stopping by. Take care, Tara

  4. Tara –

    I love how much charter your home has! I would have given my right arm to have bunk bed that were that awesome when I was a kid! And the little red desk is perfect! Tucker looks like he loves it too! Thanks for sharing your home with us!


    1. Cat thanks so much for your sweet comments about Tucker’s room! It has been a long process but I think he loves his new room and his new red desk:).

  5. What a handsome room for a handsome little boy. Tucker has great taste. I really like the red desk. I have always wanted a window seat. I never really had a view to motivate me to make one.

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comments about my son’s room and for stopping by Trish!!! Have a great rest of your week and take care, Tara

  6. First things first, what an adorable room! Love the bead board on the ceiling. Painting the desk red was the perfect touch– that muted red color contrasts very nicely with the blue and white of the rest of the room. Visiting from Your Turn to Shine.

  7. I just ‘happened’ upon your site because of the ‘window in the closet room’. I’ve been looking at, and reading all your wonderful transformations. I love to see all the beautiful improvements; I only wish all this info was available years ago (when I was young and strong enough to do these things). Love to see young families like yours, working together, loving life, and making their homes ‘just the way they like it’. I’m looking forward to following your journey.

    1. Carol, thank you so much for taking the time to visit my site and for your incredibly sweet comments about our home. I appreciate your following along so much! Thank you, take care, Tara

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