Candle and faux plant with iPad placed on desk - DIY Geometric Modern Desk Thrift Store Makeover

Learn how to makeover a desk from the thrift store! In this tutorial, I will tell you how to DIY your own geometric design for your desk project. Perfect for beginner DIYer’s! I will also tell you how to sand, stain, and paint your own piece of furniture! Don’t have time to read it now? Just pin it here for later.

And be sure to grab your FREE project planner checklist here!

This has been one of my favorite projects by far! I’ve been looking forward to providing a space for myself to work in and we’ve had this old desk for a few years now. I was telling my husband about how I needed a space to work in and that I wanted to look for a new desk. He responded by saying that I could use this desk for my workspace.

I looked at him and rolled my eyes. Because I hated this desk. We had bought it at the thrift store a few years ago for only $10 dollars. He originally bought this desk for his own workspace to produce music and write.

I didn’t think this desk could live up to my expectations…

To be honest, I didn’t think it would be worth it to redo this desk. It looked really worn down, and there were some parts of the desk that were missing and it was chipped. I felt that this desk was beyond my repair and a waste of time. But I wasn’t getting anywhere without a space to work in. And my husband certainly wasn’t budging in getting me a new desk.

Brunette girl sitting on stool in front of desk - DIY Geometric Modern Desk Thrift Store Makeover

Desk drawers with green and white acrylic paint - DIY Geometric Modern Desk Thrift Store Makeover

Desk with green and white acrylic paint - DIY Geometric Modern Desk Thrift Store Makeover

So, this was it. I used my brainstorm power and all of my creativity to come up with something that would revive this old piece of furniture. The more I looked at it, the more ideas I came up with. The more ideas that came to mind, the more that I started to fall in love with this desk. I realized that this was a new challenge for me. I wondered about the possibilities for bringing this desk back to life.

Here’s what my initial ideas were for this DIY desk project.

My first idea that came to mind was the colors. I searched on Pinterest for ideas and I had decided to pick out my favorite color, dark green. It’s earthy, reminds me of nature and plants, and I thought it would bring me happiness each time I could work in a space that had my favorite color to look at.

The other thing that I loved about this desk was the top part of it. It had its original woodwork still intact. And I loved that It was showing the natural wood grain. That was another part of this piece of furniture that reminded me of the forest, plants, and nature. My third idea was to make it look modern. I love all things modern.

Desk with clipboard, books, and faux plant - DIY Geometric Modern Desk Thrift Store Makeover

Desk with a faux plant, ipad, books, and clipboard - DIY Geometric Modern Desk Thrift Store Makeover

Desk with a faux plant, ipad, books, and clipboard - DIY Geometric Modern Desk Thrift Store Makeover

That’s my style. I’m really into mid-century modern designs, neutral tones, and geometric shapes. So, I came up with the idea to draw a geometric modern design for the drawers and a pop of color to make sure they stuck out. I really love white and bright things. And I felt that white was the only color that would fit best with the theme that I was trying to go for.

I originally wanted to paint triangles across the desk’s drawers. But I kept it simple.

My initial idea for the drawers was to draw geometric triangles and have a bunch of stripes running across with only a tiny bit of wood showing. I still liked that idea, but I had to think long and hard about redoing this desk. So, I scratched that idea and decided to keep it simple for the most part.

So, watch my video tutorial here to see how I re-stained and painted my desk. Or, you can just read on with these simple directions.

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Supplies you’ll need for the DIY geometric desk:

1. Use a sander to sand down your furniture

This is a necessary step. Many people choose to skip this step because they think it’s time-consuming and hard work. So, they just go straight to staining and painting. But keep in mind that your stain color will be off if you don’t sand down to the natural wood. And you only need to sand down the first layer to get the glossiness off when you paint. This is to ensure that the paint sticks and adheres to the wood.

Quick tip: Be sure to wear safety glasses and a mask. This is to prevent getting all of that dust in your face.

Many people also choose to go with chalk paint because they’ve been told that it is thick enough to cover any piece of furniture without sanding. But I have heard that this is not true. And in this case, chalk paint can get really expensive. I like Behr because it is acrylic paint that lasts and covers with only two layers.

So you can use the sander that I have. It works great and gets the job done. This was my first time using my sander and I love that it already comes with sandpaper, a bag to store it in, and extra parts to get the hard to reach places.

Take this advice from me when you use a sander for your DIY project.

My advice when using a sander is to let it do its job for you and don’t be intimidated by a power tool. It only takes a few minutes to sand down a piece of furniture like this. And if it’s your first time sanding, make sure to sand in the direction of the wood grain so that it gets all of that old stain color off your piece. You can watch my video here to see how I sanded down my desk.

2. Apply pre-stain and stain.

So, after you’ve sanded down your piece of furniture, you can apply the pre-stain. Make sure to read the directions on the can and do this in a well-ventilated place! The pre-stain that I used had a very strong smell to it and it gave me a headache. So, I made sure to keep the windows all the way open while I worked. You can also do this outside if it’s a nice day out. Unfortunately, it was too cold for me to work outside.

Apply the stain in the direction of the wood grain with a stain pad or paint brush. Wipe off the excess pre-stain before it dries. Let that dry for about half an hour. Then apply your stain color with the stain pad. Once you’ve applied your stain, let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. The longer you leave your stain on, the darker the color will be. Once you’ve let the stain sit, wipe off the excess color and let it dry for 4 to 6 hours.

3. Now you’re ready to paint!

I drew out my design first on paper before I applied it onto the desk drawers. This helped me to visualize it instead of guessing to see if it would look good. Then you can tape off your design with painter’s tape. Paint in the areas that you choose. Wait a half hour before adding the second layer of paint. And let the whole thing dry for a few hours after. I practically waited overnight to let the paint dry. Then, I touched up a few areas that I had missed.

I ended up staining the drawers first, and then I painted over them. The whole desk was a hot mess so everything needed to be re-stained first before I painted. This is because I still wanted some areas of the wood grain to show so that I could make my design look geometric and modern.

Quick tip: If you mess up your stain or paint, you can always sand it down again and start over. This happened to me in the middle of my project where my toddler decided to paint the top of my desk while I wasn’t looking. Thankfully, that did not turn into a huge disaster!

4. Lastly, use pretty office décor to set up your new desk!

Most of my items came from Target’s dollar section. The candle is from Forever 21 and the artificial plant is from IKEA.

Candle, faux succulent and iPad placed on desk Desk with a faux plant, ipad, books, and clipboard - DIY Geometric Modern Desk Thrift Store Makeover

Books and ceramic hedgehog placed on desk Desk with a faux plant, ipad, books, and clipboard - DIY Geometric Modern Desk Thrift Store Makeover

Green faux plant in white pot placed on desk - Desk with a faux plant, ipad, books, and clipboard - DIY Geometric Modern Desk Thrift Store Makeover

Let me know if you liked this project in the comments below. You can also sign up for my weekly newsletters to stay updated with exclusive DIY and motherhood content. I have a FREE project planner checklist to help you scribble out your ideas, plan your project, and make a checklist of supplies that you’ll need. Plus, you will receive an all-access pass to my library of FREE resources that I put out on a monthly basis.


Desk with decor items placed on top Desk with a faux plant, ipad, books, and clipboard - DIY Geometric Modern Desk Thrift Store Makeover
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1 Comment on DIY Geometric Modern Desk Thrift Store Makeover

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