As a student, my study space is incredibly important to me. Of course, it needed to be functional,  but I also wanted it to be pretty, appealing and clean. I also needed this space to be adaptable; I’d need to be able to use my laptop, study, write, draw, paint, and do other crafty things in the same space.

I was incredibly lucky and managed to aquire a handmade garden table made by a local craftsman/hobbyist for only £40! I was delighted; it was the exact style of table that I’d pictured in my head.


Unfortunately, since it was built to be a garden table it had been varnished with quite a dark red wood coloured varnish (I think mahogany) in order to protect the wood from the elements. This in itself was not a problem, I just preferred something a little more natural or farmhouse styled.

Que the artist in me and a trip to the local DIY shop.

I then laid out some old sheets and got to work. Using sandpaper I sanded down the tabletop. This removed a lot of the varnish, revealing the natural wood underneath and, by concentrating on the edges and certain areas of the surface, I was able to create the super cute rustic farmhouse look. Since this was going to be my desk, sanding down the tabletop also smoothed out the surface making it perfect to write on. Once the top was sanded down and I was happy with it, I enlisted Colin’s help to flip the table upside-down. Then, I used a white chalk finish paint to paint the legs and bottom of the table, I didn’t bother to paint the undersides though since nobody would ever see those areas unless they were under my desk for some reason.


Once the paint was on, I left it to dry overnight. The paint tin said it would be dry within 2 hours but we’d just moved into our flat and I wanted to be on the safe side.

The next morning I, again with Colin’s help, flipped the table back the right way round and moved it against the wall. Then it was just a matter of adding the few desk essentials, for me this means a to-do list, a pot of brushes, a pencil pot, and a notepad, and a few decorative touches, like my peace lily, photos of friends, a poem that is significant to me, and a crocheted elephant made by a friend, and my desk was complete.


To the left, I also added an upcycled chest of drawers, filled with art supplies, and a pin board I’d found in a charity shop. And, always ready for creativity, I have my easel set up on the right.


  • One wooden table suitable for such a project – it needs to be made from planks of wood
  • One packet of sandpaper – I got a mixed roughness pack
  • One paint brush – I used a 3/4 inch one which I found to be the perfect in-between for coverage and getting into corners
  • One tin of white chalk finish paint – I used Rustins Quick Dry Chalky Finish Paint in ‘Kenwood Cream’


  • Lay out some old sheets to protect the floor, or work outside (I couldn’t because of the lovely Scottish rain)
  • Use the sandpaper to sand down the tabletop. You can either sand down most of it to remove the varnish coating, or simply sand down the edges and places where it would have been most used to create the rustic effect
  • Use a damp cloth to wash off the dust from sanding
  • Flip the table upside-down and paint the legs and any supports for the legs with the chalk finish paint
  • Leave to dry for the recommended time on the tin, or overnight if you’re cautious like me
  • Flip your table back the right way round and move into place
  • Decorate as you wish


And there you have it! This is how I created my study space. It’s bright and airy but with a cute rustic farmhouse twist and I absolutely LOVE it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial,

All my love, Corinne 🙂