Flea Market Desk, before and after
Kathy Owen portrait

Flea Market Desk

I turned a sewing machine cabinet into a laptop station

Kathy Owen

Petticoat Junktion

I flipped a flea market find into a work/study desk. I painted a vintage sewing machine cabinet, drilled a hole for electrical cords in the desk top, and re-covered the cushioned seat. The desk is a fun, functional addition to our den.

Behr Color Palette

This color is French Parsley

French Parsley


I usually sit on our sofa with laptop in hand and college books beside me. That isn’t very functional or comfortable. As a 60 year old college student, I don’t need all the bells and whistles but I do need a small work area that will fit my laptop, cellphone, and school supplies...with function and comfort in mind.

I found a vintage sewing machine cabinet at the Nashville Flea Market. It was $40, sold! I love a good budget find. The sewing machine had been removed which was a plus for me. The cabinet had 4 drawers, great for holding school supplies, and the top was big enough for my books and laptop. A small cushioned stool made the flea market find perfect for my needs.

Using Behr color chips to pick my color
Take the drawers out of the sewing station to get ready for paint

The cabinet and stool did need a little sprucing up. The original finish was scarred and scratched and there were pieces of veneer missing in several areas. The easiest and least expensive way to beautify furniture is with paint.

I went to Home Depot and browsed the BEHR paint chips. I also looked at several pamphlets for color ideas.

The walls in our den are taupe which is neutral enough to go with anything. The room is decorated in earth tones. I laid the chips on one of our chairs that is covered in tapestry fabric with varying shades of greens, oranges, and browns.

With the paint chips laid out next to each other, it’s easy to see the difference in tone and shades.

I returned to Home Depot and the paint technician mixed the color for me. I selected BEHR PREMIUM PLUS® Interior Satin Enamel Paint & Primer In One for the makeover. The satin finish has a pearl-like finish and is easy to clean. I purchased one quart and only used about a fourth of the can for the makeover. I wonder if the sample size would be big enough for a small furniture project?

I asked my hubby to help me move the desk to our carport where I placed a tarp to protect the concrete.

Using an electric drill with a keyhole bit to drill a hole for electric cords

After the piece was prepped, I decided to have my husband drill holes for all of the cords. This is a great way to manage the computer cord, lamp cord, phone charging cord, and any other cords. We used a drill and key hole bit to drill one hole in the top of the back side and also one hole on the cabinet top for the cords. That way we could thread all the cords through the back and up to the top of the desk. Cool!

I cleaned all the sawdust off and gathered my supplies.

Using a brush to paint the desk with French Parsely
The desk and stool after one coat of paint

Time to paint! The paint brushed on like butter and the color was perfect. I painted the stool first then the one drawer I could remove from the desk. Next I painted the underside of the desk, the front, the sides, the back, and the top in that order. I painted with the grain of the wood. I finished applying the first coat of paint in about an hour. I let the first coat of paint dry for two hours and brushed on a second coat. While the second coat of paint was drying, I re-covered the stool cushion.

Prepping the Cabinet was Easy

I cleaned it with soap and water. I couldn’t remove the side drawers. I pulled and pulled and finally gave up. I didn’t want to damage the piece so I painted the drawers as you see them. I pulled each drawer out, staggering them so I could paint the top edges of the drawers. The cabinet had lots of dings and scrapes but that just adds to the character of the piece. I didn’t do any sanding.

I selected French Parsley which is a light neutral green. The color is dark enough to stand out against the taupe walls and light enough to blend with the other colors in the room.

Re-Upholstering the Seat

I measured the cushion adding enough length to fold over the bottom and staple to the bottom side.

I cut the fabric and stapled one side of the fabric to the cushion bottom. Next I pulled the opposing side till it was taut and started stapling from the middle to the outside. Once the opposing sides were stapled down I did the last two sides. I made sure the fabric was pulled tight before stapling each side. The corners were last.

Tools and fabric for the new chair upholstery
Using a staple gun to attach the new seat fabric

I worked with the corners trying to get as few wrinkles and folds as possible. It’s impossible to have no folds. Trust me on this.

I put the cushion on the stool and moved the desk inside the house. The hubby helped me. I waited one day to put the desk in place and add my goodies to it.

Visualize It

Painted desk

Find, coordinate and preview these colors and more with ColorSmart by BEHR®.

  • Paint a room image to try before you buy
  • Save colors, room images, paint calculations and more to your account
  • Free shipping on paint samples and most orders over $45
Explore Colors and Shop Now

I measured the cushion adding enough length to fold over the bottom and staple to the bottom side

I cut the fabric and stapled one side of the fabric to the cushion bottom. Next I pulled the opposing side till it was taut and started stapling from the middle to the outside.

The Big Reveal

Finished desk
Close-up of the desk and stool, with new paint and paisley upholstery
All the electric cords disappear down the hole we drilled in the table top
Kathy Owen portrait

Kathy Owen

Kathy Owen is the Home Décor/DIY blogger behind Petticoat Junktion. She paints furniture and creates fun home décor from new or recycled items. Most days she can be found in her workshop or shopping at her favorite junk shop.