She’d wanted a desk for her room for some time – my younger daughter, Julia, that is. We didn’t have a big budget, but every once in a while we’d look. We just hadn’t found the right thing at the right price. Then one day as we browsed together in a local resale shop, we saw it. It was a small, white, old-fashioned school desk. It even had a little hole in the top right corner for an inkwell. It was darling!


While we considered the desk, Julia suddenly saw another possibility. It could not only serve as a desk, but also as a makeup table. The inside was deep enough to hold the necessary items. A plan began to form in our minds. We searched the shop for a chair that would fit and soon found it. For under fifty dollars, we had our desk and chair.

With our desk, chair, and ideas, off we went to the paint store next door. Since the desk was painted an attractive off-white that had been distressed, and our chair was a bright white with blue accents, we decided to paint the chair. We bought small cans of brown and off-white paint and some sandpaper.

First, we sanded and then painted the chair a dark brown (to mimic the distressed under color of the desk). After it dried for several days, we sanded and then painted the chair with two coats of off-white. Finally, after additional drying time, we sanded the edges of the chair to give it a distressed finish.  (White Desk, with chair picture)

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After the chair was painted, Julia’s make-up table idea began to take shape. We went to IKEA where we purchased some inexpensive, plastic drawer organizers for the interior of the desk. We searched until we also found pre-cut mirror squares. Finally, we found some self-adhering light strips with tiny lights reminiscent of a makeup mirror. (They were intended to light the interior of a closet.) We used double-sided, heavy-duty adhesive squares to put the mirror in place. A light strip was placed on all four sides of the mirror, and the power cords were run out of the inkwell hole in the top of the desk. Julia organized her make-up in the drawer organizers and voila! Now she has a double-duty homework desk and make-up table in her bedroom. She uses it every day and loves it, plus we had fun doing the project together! It rivals the dressing room of any Hollywood star. Well maybe not, but its super cute and very functional.

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