Part of me wanted to title this post something like “the amazing desk transfiguration” or “the Transformer desk”. A little over the top maybe, but when you grasp the fact that a majority of the materials used for this desk came from a headboard and footboard of an old bed, it’ll prove my point.
Here is exhibit A, also known as “the before.” If you followed along on my One Room Challenge then you’ve likely seen this image before. The reveal post for the room is here.
And now you’ve seen the proof. I really did transform that antique, full-sized bed into a desk!
I have had this idea in my head for well over a year and I couldn’t be more excited that the end result is even better than I had imagined. The size and scale of the desk are perfection in my opinion and of course, I adore the way it looks.
And now I bet you are wondering, how exactly did I do that?
Like this keyboard tray! (Available HERE. I did a bunch of research to find the perfect sliding tray and I do believe this is it!) Yes, I know, many people have switched to laptops and good for them. I am not about to give up my computer screen real estate for a stinking laptop! I bet there are plenty of us still left out there. Who’s with me?
Of course, there is one caveat to this tutorial. Not all antique bed frames will be like mine. But I bet they are similar enough that following these simple steps, you can easily make this happen.
Here’s a list of the tools you will find handy:
- Table Saw
- Miter Saw
- Kreg Jig
- Multi-Use tool, like this one
- Brad Nailer, like this one
- Iron, for applying edge-banding
- Keyboard Tray
How to transform a bed into a desk:
- Begin by removing the runners from the bed posts, which will become the legs.
For this post or leg, the whole connection was removed, so I added a piece of wood back. You’ll see why in a minute.
So, clearly you’ve got lots of options. The goal for this step is to remove the runners and leave the wood in the best condition possible.
2. Use a plastic wood filler, like this one, to fill in the holes.
3. Measure and cut the bed posts to about 30″. The exact measurement is pretty much a personal preference kind of thing, but most desks are around this height. (The exact cut measurement also factored in the height of the desktop.)
4. Using a miter saw cut legs to exactly the same length. We created a “stop” or jig on the other end of the posts for accuracy.
5. Begin to visually map out the size of your desk. We actually ended up using the top from an old desk we had previously abandoned when we used the bottom to build my husband a corner desk. I wasn’t certain this would be the proper size or look right. I had intended to use a piece of cabinet grade plywood which would have worked perfectly fine.
6. Create an apron around the legs. I chose a depth of 4.5″ because that was the size of the runner boards from the bed. I wanted to use as much of the original wood as possible but here as well, I could have used plywood just as I did for the front and the back of the desk. I would recommend a good quality plywood like Pure Bond with an oak veneer. A pine board would never have had the same look as the original boards.
The keyboard tray I picked out is extremely sturdy and was easy to install. Just attach the bracket to the underside of the top of the desk, slide the tray holder into place and screw together as directed.
I have been very happy with it and highly recommend it. Here’s a link.
I also add a bit of decorative trim around the entire desk skirt.
11. To marry the different finishes, I stained the unfinished wood a custom mix of stain as close as possible to the existing finish. I was most concerned with getting the intensity of the finish right. Painting would have been a good option as well for this “married” build, but I really wanted a stained look.
You can see that the tones are much closer, but not an exact match.
I used the faux finish brush as the last step, dragging it across the desk in a straight fashion.
After a top coat, I was finished!
I opted to not add drawers for a couple reasons. First, they would be very small and I preferred to have a larger surface for my extended keyboard and mouse. Second, I found in my old desk, with small drawers I really just put junk in them. It actually works better for me to just not have the place to stash unnecessary things.
I styled the desk with function and organization in mind. A gold box for pens and necessities, a wicker letter tray for corralling papers and my planner. That’s really I need here.
Every other office supply I might need is stored in the upcycled tool chest just by my desk.
So, what do you think? I wonder if you’ll be keeping your eyes peeled for beautiful headboards and footboards to transform?
Want to see more of my new office/studio space? Check out the reveal post here for sources too.