Good Life Wednesdays…A Desk Makeover ~ Beach Cottage Before & After

Wed 16th, Feb, 2011

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Well hello!

I hope you are all well and enjoyed Valentine’s?  Since my lovely husband forgot, ahem, I decided I might just treat myself anyway…think, white, bed, ruffles & Anthro and you’ll know what I just bought, bring it on baby ;-)

Anyway, I am holed up in the study…it is very nearly finished…I have had to wait, for like ever, as my teenager would say, for Frank Spencer, oooops, I mean Mr BC to put some shelves and a mirror up.


No I cannot do them myself.

Yes I am female physics-wall plugs-power tool-screw challenged.

No, I have no interest in learning.

Please no power tool benefits emails.


So, at the beginning of this study makeover I had visions of a new old vintage desk, indeed, funnily enough, I just happen to have one down in the garage, all vintagey and waiting for some white paint love….but…my old IKEA desk, I kinda love.  And not only that it works for me…I love the amount of desk top space, it is just right and more importantly the height is purrrrfect for my size.

But, as in some things from IKEA, though not all, (you know how I feel about that place, I don’t need to re-iterate that)…unfortunately it has not upheld the test of one strange woman drinking beer and bloggging, one teenager dowloading all sorts, one YouTube sport watching girl and one little boy eating chips while watching cartoons…after a couple of years and yes more than a couple of spills…this happened…the top was all coming away…not so good…


So I thought about ways to look past that…and there really was only one option and that was to cover it up…and what I really wanted was oilcloth…I mean I have this insatiable love for the stuff…I have bags made of it, side tables covered in it and, dare I say it, even after mucho de-cr*ppifying, stashes of it… to stroke long into the night.


and polka dot oilcloth, in my fave putty colour, with white dots, here in the study…what could really be better?


I mean, yah, that was just what I was after here….

And so I ran past Mr BC a spot of DIY oilcloth desk makeovering

just after he forgot Valentine’s Day…

and forgot to send me a KitchenAid….


I said to him, how did he fancy on the night that all things are meant to be romantic, and before he was about to go out to play soccer, covering up the study desk in a leetle bit of putty dotty oilclothy delight.


My friends, he had little cards to play with…he knew when to hedge his bets and that I, professional DIY Negotiator that I am, had chosen my moves wisely….

I had made that there request for oilcloth covering, on a night where I knew I could, pretty much ask for the moon…and get away with it…

and wasn’t he the lucky one that all I was asking for was a touch of table wrapping…??


may I just interject here though that I still didn’t get a KitchenAid or for that matter a little turquoise bag

I am just telling you that for posterity


…just to keep things in perspective…I am scheming those though for the future ;-)


I love how the oilcloth covered desk turned out…it has to be, really, the ultimate in upcycle…

and all what Good Life Wednesdays in BC Land is all about…and that would be making the best of what you have, right here, right now, no worries…

and this is that epitomized…really this desk, without a little bit of outside of the box thinking,  was not long for the scrap heap


It really couldn’t have been much simpler either

- buy some oilcloth, wrap it around a table/desktop

and bob’s your uncle


I hope you like it and yes I’d be interested in what you think…just leave me a comment below…

So long chickens and hit me with your Good Life Wednesday’s post…click the ‘add your link’ button down below – (if you need more info on what’s what go here) & don’t forget to link back to me…

I will be here, reveling in oilcloth

I am thinking I might have to sleep on this desk tonight….

Yours in all things putty & polka


p.s. full study makeover post coming soon…just waiting for Frank ;-)

edited *  you can find the full study makeover post here

shared at

Freckled Laundry, Funky Junk and Miss Mustard Seeds

Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch

Coastal Charm’s Nifty Thrifty

and Show off Your Cottage thanks


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121 Responses to “Good Life Wednesdays…A Desk Makeover ~ Beach Cottage Before & After”

  1. Jaimie says:

    Oooh! I love it! It looks absolutely gorgeous!

  2. What a gorgeous transformation! Your work table looks lovely! Have a gorgeous day, Kellie xx

  3. Jacqueline says:

    Good thinking, and mighty fine style! So perky! And isn’t that just the perfect surface?

  4. Elsina says:

    What a super idea! I love it!

  5. Beautiful! What a clever idea :)

  6. Fan-tast-ic!! I love this. You are going to think I am just all love love love all the time. But your ideas blow me away.

  7. indiansummer says:

    That’s just perfect, I absolutely love it. Great job! I’d love to try that, but our desks have some curves and those lowerable inserts for keyboards. Might be a little tricky…

    Enjoy your desk!

  8. Brigid says:

    OK, that is super cute! I have a desktop that could use a little perking up-thanks for the good idea:-)

  9. marylou says:

    Could it be any cuter?? I think not! Love this idea of oil cloth, not only fashionable but practical…Sarah, you
    are such an inspiration, thanks for sharing with us ((*_*))

    A fabulous work space….. AND did you paint a milk bottle??
    AND one more please….are those curtains linen??


    • Sarah says:

      yep I did paint a milk bottle ;-)

      and those curtains are not linen…I made them…more coming on them soon in the full study post

      thanks for the love


  10. Brenda Kula says:

    Sarah, I happen to be perfectly “dotty” for polka dots. And I’m also the queen of oilcloth. I recently recovered two plastic folding tables with black and white checkered oilcloth for my sewing room. With a hot-glue gun! I kid you not. I wrapped those babies like presents in it and glued it in place. And it looks just like the day I did it. So I love your dotty little desk. It’s all good.

  11. Heather says:

    Haha Sarah girl you are a RIOT! Glad you found a way for him to make it up to ya ;) Who needs chocolates and roses and the likes.. just a man making his lady happy with the power tools or non-powerized tools. And yes, it is smart to not know how to do everything. I got marriage advice once.. never ever learn how to change your own oil…

    Can’t wait to see the rest of it FRANK!

    :) Heather

  12. What a wonderful idea! I really like your desk!
    I too love oilcloth…….where so you find yours? I ordered some on line but they don’t seem to have a huge variety.
    Oh and sorry about Valentines Day…….but lucky for you!! hee hee

  13. Lark says:

    Love, love, love the oilcloth!!! You are quite the resourceful one… If I could only come up with such solutions.

  14. Hi Sarah1 First I have to say that I mostly stalk your beautiful blog, I know, bad bad me. :) I love visiting you and find that everything you do is so inspiring! I love the sea and everything that comes with, in and around it! I love what you did with the oilcloth, the desk looks so beautiful, sorry about hubby forgetting Valentines Day. Your room looks amazing so far and I can’t wait to see it all!

    Have a wonderful day!

  15. Paige says:

    The desk looks great!

  16. Ros Wyatt says:

    Wow, that looks so great. I love the putty color with the white – very stylish – good on yer!

  17. Judy says:

    Looks fabulous, but what else would we expect from you???????? :)

  18. Has come up a treat, hope Mr BC was reciting romanitc valentines poetry whilst stapling table top..

  19. shelley says:

    looks great! i was admiring some kids tables in sirocco (bondi) the other day with oilcloth on top. great idea!

  20. Love it! Good thinking!

    I love oilcloth too! And guess what??? Bob was my uncle! lolol

    Great way to recycle it…..


  21. *Tasiaa says:

    Like your lovely *www.place*!


  22. Camilla says:

    o.O That is such a wonderful idea, and would be perfect for my little brothers desk since he needs some kind of desk coverage that can withstand wet glasses, crisp crumbs and so on.

  23. Looks great! So crisp and clean!

  24. Becky C says:

    What a cool idea! I love the desk with oilcloth. The polka dots make it very beach cottagey :)
    It’s funny, you said “so long chickens”, because I posted about nesting boxes on the wall. LOL
    I really love your style.
    Hope Frank shows up soon :)

  25. I just found your blog and I absolutely love it. What a great project! My husband, Mr Amazing, also tends to show his love for me by completing the many projects I have him do around the house. Works for me!

  26. Kathleen says:

    What a neat idea! I hope you don’t mind if I steal it and do my own outdated computer desk. Can you find this oil cloth at most fabric stores? And, does is lay really flat, or might is start to roll up after awhile?

  27. Shar Y says:

    Very clever. Love it. I have two large pieces of oilcloth, waiting to be used for something but I really love the putty and polka dot cloth that you have. Subtle and perfect!

  28. I love your desk but I have to admit, I also love this post a lot!!! You have me cracking up over here in California! I have no desire to learn how to use a power tool but unfortunately for me, neither does my husband. What’s a girl to do? xo Samantha

  29. Sally says:

    I loe it and HEART Miss Sarah! Do you know what I wish right this very moment?
    That you would come to my sweet and home and transform it into a beauty like yours.
    You home is so warm and inviting with everything you do.


  30. Robyn says:

    Looks great Sarah! And now you can put the money you saved from having to buy a new desk towards that much needed KitchenAid essential. Doesn’t it pain you to see so many of them in the other bloggers kitchens? It does me.

  31. Angie says:

    woooohooo I love it ! Never thought of oil cloth. Have an old PB desk (Craigslist tks) that is cracking down the middle from the many, many, rough moves, begging for a redo. Will have to add it to my list. BTW did you paint the inside of the bottle or the outside?

  32. Tammi says:

    wow, wow, WOW!!!! Love this makeover, but then you never fail to disappoint Sarah :)
    I am about to makeover an old teacher’s desk that I found on the side of the road and I love the idea of an oilcloth top…hmmm, I wonder.
    Love the little painted milk bottle but more importantly those curtains…..they are fantabulous!!! Are they made from hessian?
    Just gorgeous.

  33. Denise says:

    Sarah, I love the desk makeover. Someone else asked where you get the oilcloth. I’d like to know too.

  34. catheine says:

    ‘bob’s your uncle’….what yhe heck does that mean?

    i love this idea, but i’ve never seen oilcloth for sale. is that something you ordered online?

  35. Jane says:

    Ah, Sarah. You’re my kind of girl. Get him at his weakest and turn on the prettiest smile with *just* the simplest request. Something to allow him to recover from his omission gracefully. Just the best.

    Oh, where to start? Loving the oilcloth – please share where you found it. I looks like many BCers share my interest ☺. I’ve never used it before – it is easy to cut? Did you use a staple gun? And did you have to taken off the table legs first to do it all?

    And the milk bottle is heavenly. Is that one of your Sydney thrift finds or from Old Blighty? J x

  36. Alice says:

    oh my…… I love this, I don’t even know what oil cloth is but I will be finding out soon enough as I am going to use this lovely idea for my 3 year olds table in her bedroom! This is perfect for her as I can change it whenever it gets messy or if worse comes to worse place a glass top on it to protect it better but it’s customised to her changing tastes!

    Love the desk, looks gorgeous! Love how you used those hooks to hang the scissors and other stationary. I tried convincing my husband to do the exact thing a few months back but he refused and like you I am not likely to pick up any power tools to do it myself (for safety reasons – I’m quite uncoordinated and there have been too many close calls, the missing fingers type of calls, so I have been forbidden to touch the power tools) so he knows it’s not going to happen….Must learn better persuasion techniques, any tips? lol!

    • Alice says:

      sorry not scissors the shells are hanging off the hooks, I’m loving the scissors too they look like a seamstress scissors….

  37. Suzanne says:

    What a romantic Valentine’s Day. Seriously, a desk ‘rejooshed’ with love trumps jewellery and kitchen appliances anyday. (Although on the Kitchen Aid thing, I’m actually lusting after a retro Sunbeam just like my Grandma used to have.)

  38. B of brisvegas says:

    FABO!!! Love it!…….B:)

  39. beth says:

    … Frank Spencer? – You crack me up!! Oooh Betty!
    I adore the look of your desk, the colour, the pattern, it all looks fabulous ( as usual ).
    Have a great day. x

  40. Lisa says:

    The desk looks so good. Love the flowers too. I’ve been wanting to get some oil cloth for awhile. Locally we have Spotlight and Lincraft. Where did you find it?

    Lisa x

  41. Rachel says:

    Hilarious as always. Love your marital strategies. Ever thought of doing some consulting work? ;) I also have no interest in power tools. I will wait it out or nag till it’s done.

  42. Michelle says:

    I am waiting for my KitchenAid mixer too, if only I could decide on the colour – oh and find the $900+ they cost here!

    Love the desk, that man must love you to do that for you on Valentine’s Day.


    PS These link parties mean I get nothing done on a Wednesday!

  43. bj says:

    I am lovin this polky dot cover…you did good!!
    Thanks for hosting..I love this new meme.:))

  44. tami says:

    Sarah, it turned out wonderfully! I love the putty color, soooooo Beachy. This post is so inspiring, xoxo tami

  45. Kirsty says:

    yay! It looks so great! Definitely keeping this one in mind for future reference! I adore it and the chair!

  46. adrienne says:

    The new table coving looks great and really compliments the room without taking away for all the white ~ nice!

  47. Hi Sarah, I am pleased to tell you I just stumbled across your blog party. Since my post today is about a new (sort of) desk, I felt I wanted to join in on the fun. Too bad I didn’t think about a cute polka dot oil cloth first..but I don’t think it would have helped the awful desk I replaced! Nice to meet you.


  48. Sarah, the study’s looking great – love what you’ve done so far… can’t wait to see the rest! And you have a way with a camera…..
    Thanks for the party! ;-}

  49. Ellen says:

    wow, looks fantastic!
    hmmm…..makes my wheels turn :)

  50. Heather says:

    Hi, Sarah! I am new to your blog and I love it! I just joined your link party. While I’m here, I also wanted to let you know how much I love the polka dot oilcloth. What a great idea!

  51. Very cute post Sarah (as always)! Love the milk bottle with daisies. Happy Wednesday!

  52. Sally says:

    You are crazy and scheming, but I like the way you think. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the desk. What a great idea to use the oil cloth — and I love that putty-polka! It looks amazing. ~Sally

  53. Well I LOVE it! I am a newbie here and joined your party today.
    The desk top turned out great and I love the colors!

  54. Hi Sarah,
    Yes, I agree, it’s perfect. Love the oilcloth in that subtle color. Lovely! The finished desk is so much better than a drugstore heart-shaped box of chocolates!
    (yes, it’s me, I’m back, sort-of.)

  55. pamq says:

    Love the polkas!

    And the putty.

    As I was busily reading along, I had the thought maybe you would be sleeping on your oilcloth topped wonder…..

    And then you said it.


    Rock on.

  56. Deanne says:

    I am just writing to say that I am really enjoying your beach cottage Wednesday’s.
    I haven’t participated for a couple of weeks because I am finishing off a really big project.
    Look forward to the big reveal of my pool cabana next week!

  57. Kathy says:

    What on earth is oilcloth??? Do you mean “contact”? Kathy A, Brisbane

  58. Deborah says:

    I love it! what a great idea x

  59. Zosia says:

    The whole office is lovely and the desk is the star!

  60. colleen says:

    Oh my …the best looking desk around if you ask me!…I love your choice of oil cloth!

  61. This is fabulous! I am going to do this on my son’s scratched desk top (that just sits on two filing cabinets).
    Mary Ann

  62. Cindy says:

    Gorgeous, fresh images – just lovely! And as for white – there is simply no substitute on a stinking 39 C day to make you feel cooler….

    Love the concept of white in a studio, but wouldn’t last past morning tea I’m afraid. Paint, pastels and all manner of art detritus conspire to banish pristine whiteness. However, the “gallery” will be a White Room, if it’s the last thing I ever paint!

    Gorgeous, fresh images – just lovely.



  63. L.O.V.E your spotty putty desk…

    ok…you’ve inspired me to clean up my desk a little !!!!!

    loving your wednesday hook-up….

    melissa x

  64. Elaine in Laguna says:

    Love this idea, and the way it turned out for you! Gonna give my home office some luv this weekend, since it’s going to rain…Thanks for the inspiration today!

  65. Thanks for hosting the link party. That solution is a great idea! I never understood the IKEA thing…isn’t it just particle board furniture? that stuff doesn’t always hold up…? (no offense to anyone, I’m just very fussy about my furniture!)

  66. angie says:

    I love the simple beauty that you made your desk area into

  67. Rondell says:

    Oh, how I love your desk, I’m looking around trying to find a spot like that for me, love how you have it all decorated! Tell him he did a great job!

  68. Wow, with a wonderful post as always, you managed to transform the idea I had of oilcloth… To me it was only something awful with stupid patterns that was on my grandma’s kitchen table (boy, do I make fun of her for that!). I’m so punished now: it looks really great on your desk and, as always again, I love what you did with the flowers!

  69. Sharilyn says:

    I love your new/old desk! Looks fab! You have inspired me for the set up of my new storage closet/studio! Thanks!

  70. i love it! oilcloth is so perfect for your desk. i recovered my kitchen chairs with some oilcloth fabric and it is so durable, practical and pretty. love the rest of your pretty room too!!

  71. Tricia Rose says:

    It the beginning of your post I had actually taken the in-breath, ready to launch into a power tools benefits sermon – and you forestalled me!

    That is seriously stylish oilcloth, and it should serve you well – long ago I covered the component shelves of a whole wardrobe with oilcloth (over particle board and half-rounds), and it lasted years. It didn’t have the dots though.

  72. diane says:

    Makes me want to attack my old mission desk immediately! It’s has a dark, gloomy red stain. On to lighter and brighter!

  73. Jo-Anna says:

    Oh wow! This desk looks amazing! I’ve never used oilcloth, but I’m thinkin it’s time I did!

  74. Vicki K says:

    It’s pretty much perfect, that desk. Mr BC did an excellent job – you can see how the dots line up precisely evenly on the edge. Did he staple it all around?

  75. Roberta says:

    Ha! Bob’s your Uncle Practical and Pretty Sarah! :) Hey, I’m with you concerning the tools too. Just give me a tube of lipstick! XO

  76. Jill says:

    Do you by chance have the name of the manufacturer of your oilcloth? I have looked everywhere within the United States but have no success in locating a gray/white polka dot oilcloth. I never thought it would be so hard to fnd, but apparently it is!


  77. Jasmine Ford says:

    It looks great….I’ve never thought of using oilcloth as a table cover like that! I have a table in my craft room that could use a makeover like that! thanks for the great idea!

  78. dramaqueen says:

    Where did you get the oil cloth from Sarah?
    I have only ever seen really gauche versions of plastic covered cloth in Sydney…
    Do tell, please :-)

  79. amalia says:

    Beautiful!!! Dying to know where you purchased that darling oil cloth????

  80. Chrystie DeSmet says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your table makeover! Adorable idea! Thanks so much for sharing! I would love to copy it in the future! :)

  81. Katherine says:


    What a great idea….now I know what to do with my scrappy old desk! Lookin’ good.

    And good old Frank, eh!! He spoils you!! He’s a clever one!

    And I LOL when I saw your good old Del!! Don’t want to jinx you! Hope it’s working well these days!

    Keep busy,

    Katherine X

  82. DENISE says:

    Very creative fix for a desk I am loving!
    Extreme Personal Measures

  83. Tosha says:

    How come I can’t find this color oil cloth around? I love it– your desk is so fresh and fun!

  84. LOVE the desk!!! And I’m with you on the power tools thing…so NOT me!

  85. sharran miles says:

    beautiful desk sarah i dont think i would ever get up !!!!….. i’d eat , sleep and definately be merry in that little space …. Can you share where you got the oilcloth from???

  86. Hi Sarah
    Love the office make over, Wished I’d seen it before I purchased my new desk as I could have done that to the old one I’ve got advertised to sell tomorrow.
    Where did you get that oil cloth? I always see gawky patterned cloth but that is just perfect.

  87. peta says:

    the bench on my laundry looks exactly like your before picture, and i too have been thinking oilcloth. can i ask where you got yours? pretty please? it would be perfect.

    yours looks fabbo. can’t wait to see the rest!

  88. Christine says:

    That is amazing! I had never heard of this oilcloth you speak of until now! Where do you get it? Any craft store? I want some :) Great project and great blog! I am now following. I am new to the blogging thing but check out my blog..krazycraftylady.blogspot.com


  89. I love it love it – it is the perfect color and cover! I think this is the same print Sarah Richardson used in her country cottage on! Beyond gorgeous!

    chat soon!

  90. WOW! What a beautiful space. I can feel a fresh summer breeze coming from the computer just by looking at the pictures! I love the lighting all all the shots too.

    Yanet of 3 SKBs

  91. Susan says:

    what a cute desk! love how it turned out with the cute poladot oilcloth! love it soo much, and the decoration is beautiful too, so fresh and vintage-ish (if there’s such a word) , absolutely lovely, the milk bottle is just adorable! thanks for sharing and happy transformation thursday!

  92. Sarah,
    I have so enjoyed my visit here to the beach cottage! I am going to follow you so I don’t miss another post! The oilcloth was a genius addition to your desk and the polk-a-dots are so charming! It adds a lot of character to your already delightful study! Thank you so much for sharing. I’ll be sure to link up to your party next Wednesday! Thanks for hosting!
    Best Wishes and Blessings,

  93. Tonya says:

    Love your new office space!! Love the polka dots on the desk & love all of your gorgeous photos!! Well done!!

  94. I’m so happy that you linked this to my air your laundry Friday party, Sarah! I fell in love with it the first time I saw it. You have THE best fabric (oil cloth) selection down under. Thanks!


  95. Irene says:

    You know, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a desk makeover that was done with cloth on the top, rather than paint. Really unique. Thanks for sharing.

  96. Courtney says:

    Love the desk- it turned out amazing with the oilcloth- what a great idea and love your cute post!! Now following you- thought I was already!!! Stop by and say hello sometime :)

  97. Barb says:

    I’ve recently discovered your blog and I must say, I love it! We own a coastal home on Tampa Bay, Fl and I am so inspired by all things beach. I’m pleased to be your latest follower.

  98. Tanya says:

    I love it! The color is perfect. Do you have a good source for oilcloth that you could share?

  99. Kimberlea says:

    This is adorable! AND could your blog be any cuter! I am so glad I found it! I will be grabbing a button and visiting often. Thanks for sharing!

  100. What a great metamorphosis! Well done. The polka dot is so cheerful.

    I am having a hilarious Linky party with prizes this Wednesday. Details are on the blog today.
    I hope you’ll join in on the fun.

  101. Becca says:

    I loved your witty post! Your office is beautiful … love what you did. The oilcloth is perfect! I’m glad to have found your blog! Enjoy your day, Becca


  102. Love the oil cloth and that darling vase!


  103. Kathy says:

    This is a wonderful idea! Love the color and the polka dots!
    Great job!

  104. The oil cloth seems so practical. Wish I had thought of it a few years ago when I resorted to vinyl for an old table I used as a desk. The oilcloth would have been so much better. Your vase of flowers is beautiful too.

  105. marlene says:

    hi. love the makeover. so simple and so perfect. can you please tell me where you purchased the oilcloth?

  106. Vanessa says:

    love it! i have the same desk and would love to do something similar. how did he attach the oilcloth to the desk?

  107. Stephanie says:

    I too have a love/hate relationship with my IKEA desk! The finish is not holding up very nicely at all! My question for you is how your lovely Mr BC adhered the oil cloth to the table-top? Did he use a fixative, like a glue? Or staples?

    • sarah says:

      we used staples…just pulled it tight and wrapped it like a gift…stapled all the corners and edges…hope that helps

  108. Rochelle says:

    Oh all this good, this is fantastic. Love the styling with the stripy mug and the star. You are good, darn good!

  109. Gill Nicholls says:

    Hi Love the room so beautiful and the desk makeover. You are so talented. Could you let me know where you got the lovely oil cloth from?

  110. cynthia says:

    Lovely makeover! I have the same table. I’m thinking of this or chalk paint. Hmm…

    I’ll have to do some research and what oilcloth is and where I can find it in Cali.


  111. Sara says:

    I used your desk for inspiration and just wanted to says thanks :)
    I linked to you on my blog if you don’t mind
    Thanks again!

  112. Sam says:

    where is the oil cloth from?


  113. becca says:

    Please say where you bought the oilcloth!!!! Thank you