A Vintage Telephone Desk Makeover

I love picking up little ornate pieces of furniture that need a just a bit of sprucing up.  During my last shopping trip at a big antique mall in Ohio, I came across a lonely old telephone desk in need of a makeover.  The price was right so I snatched it up and brought it home for a little TLC.

The bones of it were good but it was half green and half stained and quite dirty!  It definitely needed some life and some major brightening up. Luckily, this makeover would be an easy one.

Telephone Desk Makeover


I took a somewhat before picture.  It was after I sanded off the loose paint and cleaned it.  Since I was painting over the old finish, I didn’t worry about getting all of the old paint off. I only wanted to get the loose paint off so I had a smooth surface. I also got anxious and slabbed on a few strokes of white paint.

It took about three thin coats of Behr Premium Plus in ultra pure white satin to get the right finish.  I then sanded over then entire desk lightly with fine sand paper.  To give it a little bit of a distressed look, I went over some of the edges a little more to let the stained wood show through.  When I was finished sanding, I wiped the entire desk down with a damp rag.  For an extra smooth finish, I then wiped on Minwax paste finishing wax.


I like the brighter clean look with the white paint. And, the distressing helped to keep the aged look.

telephone desk after makeover

telephone desk makeover

A distressed finished just screams for some old tattered books! So, my grandpa’s old books and glasses have a new home.

The desk top is now smooth like butter…..

telephone desk makeover

telephone desk makeover

It was fun to take a tired and worn piece of furniture and give it a bright and youthful new look.  I love the new addition in my office and it’s use will be none other than to display more found vintage treasures!

For more style ideas, check out my post on how to update old furniture.

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I'm addicted to crafting and decorating my downtown urban loft and up north rustic cabin. Read more about me.
  1. Can you identify time period on your telephone table? I bought one yesterday that is more like a secretary on top, but scrolly base on the bottom is the same as yours. Can’t figure out how old it is or where it came from. Yours is the only one I’ve seen with the same kind of base as mine.

    1. Hey Jill,
      I haven’t been able to determine that but if I get it figured out I will let you know!

  2. Beautiful! I love furniture makeover.

  3. Hi Camille,
    I normally like to use satin and that is what I used on this desk. It gives just a nice little sheen.

  4. Renee, she turned out SO pretty! I’m new to painting furniture and have a question. What ‘finish’ do you like best for painting furniture (satin, flat, etc.)? Thanks so much for sharing this little lady!

  5. Love the style and the shabby white!

    1. I just love the character that vintage furniture has!

  6. nice find! (love the old glasses as well!)

    1. Thanks! Those old glasses were my grandpa’s so it’s nice to have a place to display them 🙂

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