sitting pretty (a desk makeover)


When Mr. Lively and I moved, I was hitting the CL pretty hard.

One of my scores was a yellow and green bamboo desk for the guest room.

As you can see it had great bones but the color story wasn’t quite my jam. So I went to town with paint. Which meant last week before our families visited for Thanksgiving I spent three days in and out of the same paint splotted sweatpants and shirt working on my masterpiece.

Maybe masterpiece might be a bit of an overstatement, but it did consume much of my time and was worth the effort in the end.

A coat of primer, two coats of white semi-gloss, two coats of Polycrlic, and a coat of Liquid Leaf later… I was left with this.


Thanks to Kim’s painting tutorial and my friend Stacia who helped recover recovered the seat for me in my new favorite color and fabric (cerulean blue velvet) I was all done just before the folks arrived.

I cannot wait to start consulting at this desk from time to time. The guest room turned out to be one of my favorite places in the apartment. Well, that and the bedroom. And the master bath. And the living room… Okay, I love it all but the guest room has a special place in my heart.

Oh, and there is one last surprise…

I lined the drawers with leftover wallpaper from the master bedroom.

Done and done.


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  1. Jacki

    It came out great! Love the artwork, too.

    My childhood desk is currently awaiting a similar makeover in my guest room, which is about to be a 4-year-old’s room, which means … time to get cracking! 🙂

  2. Bettina

    I love how the desk turned out, it looks amazing! Kudos on the CL find!

  3. The blue velvet with the white is JUST perfect! I cannot wait to see all the things you’ve done to your home since I was last there. SO much progress.

  4. Eva

    I can’t wait to see the rest of your house! The desk turned out awesome and the lining in the drawer is perfect!

  5. Ashley

    I love your desk. I’ve been looking for some great items on Craig’s List with no luck. Do you have a post about tips on doing that? Or will you write one? That would be really helpful. All I seem to find are duds or they are way out of my budget.

  6. 17 Perth

    Holy cow. LOVE IT. You did an awesome awesome job!

  7. Adrienne

    Did you already post on that artwork? Love it.

  8. Jess

    Thanks, ladies!

    Margarita – I do have a separate desk I work at most of the time in the living room behind the sofa. I prefer working out in the open most of the time.

    Ashley – I don’t have a post on CL. My suggestion is to get the phone app and use it to search By Owner. One cool thing to try is to search terms like “vintage” and see what pops up rather than “chair” if you aren’t looking for something specific. Also, I think CL might vary in quality depending on the city/region.

    Adrienne – The canvas is just a blank canvas with hot pink tape! And the Be Present is a poster I did for Jess LC with Ampersand Design Studio and can be purchased here:

  9. Krista

    Wow!! The desk came out gorgeous!! Looks expensive and new. Loved that you lined the inside of the drawers too…such a great idea!

  10. Anja

    I just love it! Amazing change. Well done and I can’t understand Mr. Lively on his unhappiness with it! Looks perfect!

  11. Jess

    Anja, no worries! Mr. Lively really loves it! : )

  12. Adrienne Clark

    I just repainted my desk “Swiss coffee” by Behr. Hope mine looks as amazing as yours!

    1. Jess Lively

      Nice! I hope it turns out well. : )

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