Chalk Paint a Desk to Create a Home Office

If you find yourself working from home more and want to create a dedicated space where you can stay organized and focused, consider chalk painting a desk in a fun color that will add energy to your work day.

I have been up to furniture painting again, but not for items in my home.  My youngest daughter moved into a bright and spacious apartment and I have been helping her get it decorated.

98% of the furnishings she has are family hand-me-downs. Some pieces are from my house and others are from both Ed and my parents.   This desk is one of them.  It belonged to my mom.


I painted the desk with my favorite DIY chalk paint recipe of mixing Calcium Carbonate Powder and Plaster of Paris with water and paint.  My daughter wanted the finish to look old, so I used dark wax over clear wax and sanded it to give it patina.

She likes the mix of old and modern and this corner of her bedroom is a perfect example that mixing it up works just fine.  I am a big believer of the saying “anything goes as long as you like it”.  The way you put it all together and the confidence you exude in your choices is what makes personal style.  If you like it – things just have a way of seamlessly going together.

I found the chair for the desk at my favorite thrift shop for a pricey $6.  It goes nicely with the floor.    The rug is from HomeGoods.

If you have been following my blog for a few years, you may remember the art that I made for her college dorm room. You can find the tutorial for it in this post that I called my “Tissue Paper Picasso”.

Here is what the desk looked like before.


It was creamy yellow with a painted vine design.


The paint was leftover wall paint from my mudroom. The color I used is called Gentle Clarity from Glidden. I make all of my chalk paint with their Premium line of paint in a satin finish.


If the leftover paint is sealed air-tight, it can last for a few months.

How to Achieve an Aged Finish with DIY Chalk Paint

I painted two coats of DIY chalk paint on the desk, you can find a few tested recipes for it,here and here.  I let the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat.  When it was dry, I applied one coat of Fiddes and Sons Paste Wax in Clear and buffed it.  I then applied dark wax from CeCe Caldwell.  I applied it to one area at a time and then quickly rubbed it all over and buffed so it would spread out and get into all the nooks and grannies of the surface.  Once I had the dark wax on, I wiped quite a bit of it off until my daughter told me she liked the way the finish looked.

The nice thing about wax, you can move it around and wipe it off to achieve whatever depth of darkness you want.     I waited to sand the edges to age the desk even further after the dark wax was applied so the exposed wood would be light in color, not dark.  (If you sand the edges to age the finish before adding dark wax, the sanded wood will become stained with the dark wax.)  To smooth the aged sanded areas, I wiped clear wax over them to smooth. This is an optional step, the edges can be left  bare which gives the finish a more rustic look.


When I sanded, I also exposed some of the original green accent paint color on the desk. I like the way this looked – gives the finish more depth.


After my dad passed away, my sisters, brother, and daughters needed to clean out his apartment.  We each took the furnishings and items that we could use or had a special meaning to us.    The rest was donated.

I think my mom would be quite happy, not only with the desk’s transformation, but the fact that it is now being loved and used by one of her grandchildren.

If you are interested in finding out more on how to make and paint with DIY chalk paint,  check out these posts:

DIY Chalk Painted Furniture Makeovers

DIY Homemade Chalk Paint Review Update

Testing 1…2…3…Versions of Chalk Paint


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  1. Forgive my commenting on an old post, but I’m wondering if you still use the Glidden Premium withCCP & PoP for chalk paint. Looking at the Glidden site, that seems to be a paint + primer and I seem to remember reading that PoP doesn’t play well with a p+p paint. What’s the latest/greatest?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Marci –

      Yes, it seems all paint manufacturers have gone the Primer + Paint route. I now use only Calcium Carbonate Powder to make all my chalk paint. It can be mixed into any paint, even ones with primers in them. You can find the recipe for making chalk paint with CCP in this post: I buy it at the health food store or on Amazon. Here is the link so you can see the exact kind I use:

      I have tried Chalk line chalk which works well also. It is a little grittier than CCP, but once you sand it, it comes out very smooth and adheres well. You can buy a big container of it on Amazon for about $20. Here is the link: It will make quite a bit of paint. I use it the same way I use CCP.

  2. Hi Diane!
    I’ve been following you for a while, and after seeing your daughter’s desk done in chalk paint, I wanted to ask a few questions.
    How does the chalk paint hold up on the desk TOP?
    How often do you need to re-apply wax?
    Can you use Clear Minwax water-based Polycrylic instead of wax on top of the chalk paint?

    I have an antique desk that needs only the top flat writing surface painted, and I love working with your DIY chalk paint recipe. I tried staining the desk top, and it was a total fail. I’ve completely sanded the desk top down to bare wood. The rest is a mahogany veneer, which I am leaving alone since it’s in pretty nice condition.
    I want to use this as my personal desk, and I normally have my laptop (on a cooling stand) on my desk. I’m sharing this in case it makes a difference for the kind of finish I use.

    Thank you for any and all advice you can give me!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Juju – The wax finish holds up extremely well under most conditions. Using a laptop that heats up may require you to apply a new coat of wax every now and then, but it may not need it at all. If the wax cures correctly, the finish will be super durable and will wear away evenly over time. It is easy to just apply a new coat of wax right over it and buff. If you don’t want to use wax, use water-based poly Minwax Polycrylic over the paint. It comes in Satin and Semi-Gloss finishes and will look just as nice. I prefer the look of a satin finish when using chalk paint.

  3. Lynn George says:

    Love your blog!! Since I retired in June I’ve painted a few pieces of furniture using chalk paint, some Annie Sloan and some using DIY paint with unsanded grout. I’m ready to try your plaster of paris & calcium carbonate recipe and was wondering if it can be used with acrylic enamel or latex enamel? I’m not interested in distressing the next piece, but just love the no prep needed of painting with chalk paint. Hope you can answer this question for me before I waste paint, time and energy. Thank you!!!!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      hi Lynn – I have not used acrylic paint with the CCPowder and PoP, but have with non-sanded grout and it did not work. It binds the paint, since it already has a hardener in it. I would stick with regular latex.

  4. Great renovation desk. It looks like new :)

  5. Joanne B. says:

    Oh! Forgot to mention the MOST important part of all- the fact that your Mom is surely smiling down having given her blessing to the idea the both of you came up with to honor her memory by your daughter taking her desk. How special- for all 3 of you to be together forever in this way. Bittersweet…

  6. Joanne B. says:

    Love your daughter’s idea of mixing the traditional desk with the modern art and the old chair and new, trendy rug! I also believe that if you love it all, it WILL all go together! I also think the confidence you have to mix it up a bit is what makes a home stand out as ‘YOURS’, and not just another cookie cutter one. Great job on this nice little corner! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it! I bet she loves the sense of decorating confidence she got from you, and I’ll also bet you are so very proud of her own sense of style! A spin-off of yours for sure, but yet in HER own style! What fun you must have brainstorming together! You go GIRLS!

  7. Looks beautiful! I just found your blog via Debbiedoo’s and am a new follower. LOVE your style and use of color so I’ll be wandering around for a bit. :) You’re welcome to come over and help me anytime!


  8. Cheryl @ Artzzle says:

    Such a nice little piece. This could be useful in so many places and a treasure forever (maybe even for your mom’s Great Grandaughter! Thanks for sharing, Diane.

  9. The desk looks great, But I must say that I L.O.V.E. the art piece you have hanging above her desk!!
    Did you make that as well? If so, that would be another great blog post idea. And I would be thrilled to get those DIY instructions. Thanks !

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Lynda – I did mention the art in the post. There is a link to the post about how I made the art. Click on Tissue Paper Picasso and it will take you to the tutorial post.

  10. What a lovely transformation! Thanks for the careful instructions. And, yes, you and your daughter can look at the desk and remember your parents. A good decision!

  11. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I came back to look again at several posts you have done that on my long list of to do’s.

    I thought I would tell you that I finally found some wall sconces that I could afford and still like….. not perfect, but I got them online at Lowe’s for only $12.97 or some penny might be off…. each. They are so cute…. but I still do not have the proper fitting light bulbs. I hope to go to Lowe’s tomorrow…. yeah right, I doubt I will get there. I am so excited about them…… I still have to replaster and repaint and all that stuff, but I am so happy to have found them.

  12. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Oh the desk is so beautiful repainted and antiqued. I hope to find one like it for my office.