Southwestern Desk | Makeover

I feel like I say this about every piece of furniture I’ve refinished, but as I worked on this southwestern desk I fell in love!  It’s so simple, but this pop of color added instant personality and is really easy to accessorize.  Do you even accessorize furniture or is it add decor to?  Whatev, I like to accessorize!  If you want to accessorize like I did, you can visit my 5 Minute Shelves post and make this adorable shelf yourself, in you guessed it- just 5 minutes!


I wasn’t sure what color I’d exactly be working with because every picture I’ve seen online with it was a slightly different hue- most likely because of lighting.  It looked like it would be a pinkish coral, but turned out to be more of a dark orange coral- not quite red.  The pictures were color corrected to show you all exactly what is in front of me; in fact, I held my computer up to the desk to make 100% sure!  It’s gorgeous isn’t it!?

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If you are looking to DIY your own Southwestern Desk, here are the details:



  • Removed hardware
  • Sanded the desk with a mouse sander and 180 grit sandpaper
  • Thoroughly cleaned with TSP
  • Taped off drawer openings and drawers
  • Painted 2 coats in Old Barn Milk Paint- Amaranth and bonding cream
  • Lightly distressed with 180 grit sandpaper and smoothed over with 600 grit
  • Sealed with Hemp Oil
  • Lined drawers with wallpaper
  • Installed hardware
  • Fixed wooden track

This desk had no damage which is rare, it just needed a little makeover!  Did you catch that before picture?  No?  Because I can’t for the life of me remember to take them!  I’ll get better I promise.

I removed the hardware, which was just really outdated, and took out the drawers.  Sanded everything down with my trusty mouse sander, then wiped down with TSP and taped everything off.  USE THE TSP!  I recently skipped this step by accident on a dresser and couldn’t figure out why the paint job was coming out so badly.  I had to remove all the paint and start over!  TSP is important friends.

Like usual, I really took my time with painting this southwestern desk.  A lot of people just think that you slap it on, but your brush strokes and quality of paintbrush really do make a huge impact on the finished product.  After 2 coats of paint, I let it dry overnight, hand sanded with the 600 grit and lightly distressed.  Then I sealed it with Hemp Oil.  I do this in a 2 day process to make sure it will be extra protected.  I leave the first coat on for 30 minutes, rub it in/wipe it off, and let it dry out for a day.  Then the next day I repeat the process.

When I first planned this piece out and was expecting a super feminine shade of coral I had paired it with this pretty floral paper that I had found, but when I saw it came out darker and more orange I immediately shifted in my brain to a more southwestern style even though the paper would’ve still kind of matched.  I had remembered seeing this gorgeous wallpaper at Target and not knowing what I could do with it, so I took a painted drawer with me and it matched perfectly!  This paper is from the Opalhouse collection and also had so many wonderful accessories to match.

I wanted some sleek, gold hardware to make the desk feel more modern and found these at Home Depot of all places!  This all paired so well together IMO.

The top drawer was used a lot because it worked, but when you took it out the track was worn down to a stub.  I found a replacement on Rockler’s website. It came at 24 inches and I only needed it to be 13, but was super easy to cut and install!  I will be going back to them again if needed because the track was $9 less than everywhere else and shipping was only $4.

And that’s it friends!  I’m so excited to have found this gorgeous color and I can’t wait to find another piece that inspires me to use it.

Do you love the Southwestern style or think it would have been better with a more feminine style?

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    • Laura Corkill
    • June 29, 2018

    The color really is gorge and the shelves are super cute.

      • Jessica
      • July 2, 2018

      I’m trying to decide what I can paint in my house with this color! Or maybe I’ll just keep it?

    • Julie Scsnio
    • August 7, 2018

    Hello again! What are the dimensions of the desk? I didn’t see them online. I am looking for something just like that for my daughter’s desk area.

      • Jessica
      • August 7, 2018

      Hi Julie!
      h: 31.5″
      d: 17.5″
      l: 43.5″
      Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

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