Beth Motta Design & Marketing

Refinished Antique School Desk and Chair

This antique school desk and chair combo has been sitting in my parents’ barn for almost 30 years now. We decided it would be the perfect little workspace for my daughter, but even she knew it needed some work.

Vintage School Desk

For prep

I gave it a good cleaning and sanded away most of the rust to create a smooth surface. The next step was taking the desk apart so that it would be easier to spray paint the metal parts without having to tape up and cover the wood. (I did not disassemble the chair). I then painted the metal with spray paint and primer and used regular wood primer and paint on the wooden sections. I wont say it looks brand new, because it’s still got some small flaws here and there, but I think it came out adorable!

Refinished Antique School Desk and Chair

What do you think?

Also see how I refinished this children’s bureau:

Children's Antique Bureau

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Beth is the owner, lead designer and developer of BMD&M. Beth blogs about design, development and DIY projects. When she's not blogging, she teaches as an adjunct instructor at a local college. Beth also tweets for BMD&M.

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  1. Rebecca says:

    Hi Beth,

    I have a whole set of small chairs just like the one pictured that belonged to my Grandmother who was a school teacher. I would like to paint the chairs like you have done. It looks charming. Did you use a paint with the primer in it? or did you use a primer and then a coat of paint?

    Thanks so much!

    • Beth Thomas says:

      Hi Rebecca! I used a separate primer for this one. I was able to take the desk apart and work on the metal and wood separately, but the chair was more difficult to take apart. I sprayed the entire chair with a spray primer and then painted the wooden parts with regular paint. If the wood on your chairs are dark like mine, then I would use a separate primer. Good luck!

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