As my daughter gets older, she’s getting more into things that require desk space. You know, art, play dough, and eventually homework, so I wanted to create somewhere that she could still be in my sight, but also have a little space of her own. The problem: space is limited in our house, so I had to get creative. Today I’m going to show you how I squeezed a workspace into this tiny, unused corner of my dining area.
My daughter got this awesome water table/picnic table for her birthday in the summer, and it was such a hit that when the cold weather arrived, we just moved it right inside the back door into our bay window.  And this is what I’ve been looking at for the past few months.
I couldn’t handle it anymore!  I wanted something a little less intrusive.  So for about $10.00, I ended up with this:
My original inspiration came from Pinterest, where else?
I started with a 1×12, and because I planned on distressing and giving it that rustic look anyway, I just went with the cheapest wood (pine I believe)–this one cost me $8.00 and I only used about 1/3 of it.  However, if you’re going with the cheap wood, compare them side by side at the store and find the straightest one possible–the cheap wood tends to bow, which is not ideal for a desk. You could also easily just use one of the little wall ledges from IKEA–or pretty much anywhere.
Cut it down to the size you want, or you can have the store do it for you, but I love using this, so I cut my own.  Power tools just make me feel awesome.
Next I stained the wood so I got that nice, dark wood coming through when I distressed.  There’s something about seeing stained wood and all that beautiful grain that just makes me happy.  Seriously, looking at this picture makes me just want to go stain some wood.
Next comes one of my other favorite things in the world: homemade chalk paint.  It’s the Martha recipe for chalkboard paint, and I fell in love, love, love, when I painted this desk and I don’t think I’ll use anything else EVER AGAIN!  It’s super thick, the coverage is awesome, you don’t have to prime, it’s durable, and it distresses amazingly.
But I’ll quit gushing and just tell you how to make it: 1 cup FLAT paint + 2 Tbsp. unsanded grout (you can see the grout in the picture above).  The grout is about $5 and will last FOREVER (get it at the hardware store in the tile section)!  When you mix them, just make sure you stir really well and try to dissolve the grout as much as possible.  Any small lumps you have left will give you that chippy look when you distress later. (The BEST part about using the flat paint is that the samples come in flat, so you can get it CHEAP!)
I brushed on a thin coat of  white “chalk” paint and let it dry.  What you see here is without any distressing.
This is the point where I have to admit that I’m pretty much over chevron.  I love it, but it’s everywhere (including the background on my blog–I said pretty much).  But…I thought this would be the perfect small amount to get my fix and a fitting pattern for a child’s desk.  So now I have to admit that I know why it’s everywhere, because after I did this, I wanted to do more somewhere, or maybe everywhere.  There’s something seriously addictive about it.
To get my pattern I just took wide masking tape and sort of freestyled the pattern.  I did lay a piece straight down the middle though so I knew where to place the points and didn’t end up with a sloping chevron.
After this was laid down, I lightly traced it with a pencil (just the chevron, not the straight line).
Then, mostly because I was being lazy and didn’t want to try to line up a second tape line exactly, I just carefully pulled up the tape, moved it right below the first one, and traced it again.
And here’s my pattern.
Now just paint your pattern and try to color inside the lines.  I used the “chalk paint” for this part as well (Martha Stewart Sea Glass mixed with some of the white I had left over).  As a side-note, my 2 year old took this picture so although I’m the epitome of hotness here, I had to include it because I’m just SO proud.
Let it dry and then distress–120 grit sandpaper on the edges, corners, and just all over until you get the look you want.  I did a lot of sanding on the chevron to blend it in.
(This is pre-distressing)
After the distressing was finished, I sprayed a quick coat of Rustoleum clear gloss on so I could wipe off the play dough and crayon that will eventually make it’s way on here.
After the clear coat is dry, attach your brackets to the wood and then to the wall.  I got mine at IKEA for around $2.00 each .
And that’s it.  Attractive creative space accomplished.
And in case you were wondering, it was a hit.  She dragged her “wimpooter” in and set up shop.  She “blogs” now–no joke–she tells me all the time that she’s writing on her blog :D
And I assure you the copper stool wasn’t just a prop–I hear it scraping across the floor All. Day. Long.  It was black and I decided to spray paint it copper (another recent obsession) last minute and it wasn’t dry in time for her “photo shoot”.  Oh, and just one more thing: please ignore my disgusting back yard–the insane winds we get here blow things around and since it’s winter, I basically avoid going outside like the plague.

You can see updated pictures Two years later, this project is still a hit!



  1. says

    awww, that is such a special place! I love looking out a window, and I’m sure your little one will love it too!
    great tute!
    thanks for sharing @ catch as catch can.

  2. says

    I’m dropping by as The CSI Project guest judge this week. What a great idea. I love the chevron pattern. And adding the coat of clear gloss is a stroke of genius that would not have occured to me until it was too late.

  3. says

    Perfect!!! I love it and what kid wouldn’t love it too!

    Thanks for linking up to the CSI Project. You have a great blog!

    Dee, the CSI Girl

  4. says

    Very cute! I love that you put it right in front of the window too. Best place, ever!! I also love the chevron. I guess, I love it all! Thanks for sharing.

    Do you think you might have a second to link it up to our link party? It begins tonight at 10:00 EST.


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