for about a month i have had a desk chair and no desk to go with it. i have been scouring craigslist and local thrift stores for a potential find. finally a few days ago my searching paid off and i found the perfect little desk to accommodate my chair.
first thing's first when searching for fixer-upper furniture. make sure it's made of real wood because if it's not it will be really hard to paint and resurface. hardwood is more durable than veneer and particle board furniture. check. next step, make sure it is free of any major defects, scratches, or marks. check. step number three, visualize it in your space and assure yourself that it will blend with the other furniture you have going on in the room. check.
lastly, you will want to make sure it's sturdy. if it's not, sometimes it can simply be a matter of tightening a few screws. check underneath to make sure all of the screws are in tact. if not, i would probably move on to another piece since it will probably be more of a hassle than it's worth to fix.
this piece checked out so i picked it up for 20$. i love the simplicity of the desk. it has very sleek, straight lines and will blend into most decor motifs easily. oh and i almost forgot to mention the 2$ brand new memo board that i found. it
goes perfectly above the desk and gives me a space to put all of my fabric swatches, appointments, etc.
again, i used valspar (available at lowe's) satin paint to cover the desk. i recommend this brand highly as it covers quickly and smoothly. first i sanded the clear coat off the desk to insure that the paint would stick. it took about two or three coats and a trip out for an extra bottle of spray paint. lastly after it dries, apply a clear coat of protectant paint. it makes the piece durable and oh so shiny.
don't forget a dropcloth or plastic. it's inevitably going to make a mess otherwise.
and wah-la, after a couple of hours and 22$ you've got a brand new workspace! the lamp and picture frame i already had laying around the house. the organizers are actually lanterns that we used at our wedding. re-purposing items you already have is a great way to recycle and cut costs in your makeovers.