My 10 minute Ikea desk makeover

ikea desk makeoversBuild it and they will come.

Such was my hope when I got down to the business of setting up my home office last month.

Now that I’ve branched into freelance writing, editing and social media consultancy work, I needed somewhere to sit down and make the magic happen because as comfortable as the couch is, it’s just not practical for doing hours of work.

Mostly because it’s right in front of the TV and I find trashy shows like Vanderpump Rules and Below Deck very enticing.

When I first moved into my apartment four years ago, I had a hand-me-down large wooden desk which doubled as a dining room/drop off zone for my handbag, shopping bags, grocery bags and everything in between.

Twelve months ago, after mum and dad borrowed their table back, I began an regular—and fairly intense—Pinterest search for my dream home office.

I quickly saw a common theme: a white or glass desk, Apple MacBook Pro, natural light, minimal stuff on the desk and flowers or framed prints giving a splash of colour.

Like many others who are starting their own home business, or those who have just bought a new home, I didn’t have endless amounts of cash to splash.

Yes, my dream trestle desk was available at Freedom, but with a price tag of more than $400, I couldn’t bring myself to buy it, and instead turned to Ikea.

But when my first trip to Ikea resulted in only the purchase of some weird vases and an impromptu photo shoot while I whizzed around a trolley, I considered giving up.

Two months later, I decided that I would again brave the crazed maze of Swedish furniture in search of a desk when, on a whim, I checked out Gumtree.

And there it was … someone a couple of suburbs over was selling the $100 Ikea desk I’d been eyeing off for $15! Sure, it had a few chips and bumps, but it was clean enough, available immediately, no trip to Ikea was required (possibly the biggest selling point) and, again, only $15!

{Currently applauding myself for being so financially savvy.}

The desk as it was.
The desk as it was found in the garage sale.

After manoeuvring the table top and legs in the back of my Mazda 3, I stopped at Bunnings to invest in the key piece that would transform my cheap and cheerful desk into something a little more Brooke-like … metallic gold spray paint.

Ikea desk hack

Ikea Linnmon/Oddvald Table in white/black, $99 (if buying new)
White Night Squirts Quick Dry Multi-Purpose Enamel Metallic Gold Spray Paint, $8

How to:
1. Put the trestle legs in a well-ventilated area and cover the floor with newspaper or a drop sheet so it doesn’t get stained (I did the spraying out on my deck).
2. Follow the directions on the can of spray paint.
3. Leave the legs to dry. (I sprayed one coat on each leg and within 30 minutes they were ready to use.)
5. Attach the legs to the table top.
6. Decorate desk accordingly.

With the desk ready to go, I gathered my collection of framed prints and favourite photos and put them up in a bit of a haphazard montage on the wall (another idea courtesy of Pinterest and home decorating magazines).

A bunch of flowers, a scented candle (or two), my Bose speaker and clock and my new home office was complete!

desk makeover

Hot legs.
Hot legs.

While working from home/freelancing has some serious perks—you don’t need to share the fridge with anyone plus you can take work calls in your pyjamas and no one will know—the potential for distraction and getting side-tracked with non-work obligations (ie. Offspring re-runs) can be high.

To counteract these distractions, it helps to put together a home office/desk area which inspires you and has all the bits and pieces you need to work effectively.

I’ve partnered with TGC to share my top 12 home office essentials.

12 essentials

If you don’t have a home phone, your mobile is most likely going to be the best way for clients to get in touch with you. Plus, when you’re out of the office, it’s a great way to keep in touch via email and to keep track of your schedule.

Make sure you measure before you buy. Check that the desk will fit the space and has enough space to hold your essentials as well as bit in an area that is well-lit and has access to enough power points… you don’t want to be running extension cords halfway across your loungeroom just to work your computer! Also make sure the desk and chair you choose are ergonomically friendly—you don’t want to be at the chiropractor every week because you’ve hurt your back from slouching!

I’m not sure there’s any kind of job you could do from home without needing a computer at some stage or another, but as a freelance writer and social media consultant, I can’t live without mine. Buy the best you can afford; you don’t want to lose time because of a slow computer.

If you’re going to spend much of your day sitting, you’ll want something that is supportive for your back.

I don’t yet have a printer at home, mostly because I can access one at the pub or Officeworks, but eventually it would be handy to have a small printer at home.

External hard drive
Losing documents and photos sucks. Especially if you’ve spent ages working on something for someone else and then it disappears. Investing in a good external hard drive is just smart business practice. Get into the habit of backing everything up, whether it’s once a week or once a month.

Internet access
This one is a no brainer. Wi-fi would be preferable, but when getting started, you can make do with a dongle.

As a visual person, I love to have paper-based lists in easy to see places, but an electronic system can work just as well. Whatever system you go with, you’ll want to keep track of your daily and weekly tasks and store client information.

I love to have background noise when I do things around the apartment, and working isn’t any different. While at my day job I’ll often resort to headphones and my iPhone, but when working from home I like to have music playing a bit louder.

Stationary supplies
You are going to need to take notes or write something down at some stage, so having a notepad and a few pens is pretty important. You could also have a corkboard or white board to keep track of things. (Take my word for it … you may think you’ll remember that information from a client, cool idea or concept that suddenly comes to you while you’re doing something else, but unless you write it down, they will disappear quicker than an Icy Pole on a hot day.)

While the clock on your smart phone works just as well as any on the wall, if you’re a procrastinator—or a freelancer—it helps to have something to watch so you can keep track of how long you have (or haven’t) been working and so you know when to take breaks (don’t forget to stand up, move around and stretch!).

You’ll always want to store things—copies of invoices, bills, expense receipts, bank statements. You could use a filing cabinet, but because I like to keep things simple, I opted for a couple of storage boxes, clearly marked so I know what’s in each one.

This post was brought to you by TGC. TGC specialise in commercial real estate and have the widest range of property listings in the Sydney CBD, City Fringe and North Shore. Please support the brands that support this blog.


  1. Melba

    Love it…my desk is in the corner of our spare room but it does have a window that overlooks our garden, which would be quite pretty if it wasn’t full of weeds at the moment!


  2. Hess Ghah

    That’s a good style to convert a home into stylish and affordable office. But the chair must be office chair because it`s quite difficult for long hours. Plastic chair does not provide full back support.


  3. ScoopBrown

    Your home office is stunning – the simplicity of it is just gorgeous! Pinterest provides great inspiration for creating a space that is just you. I’ve got a similar set up with some of my favourite images and artwork framed above my desk – it’s me on a wall! Enjoy your space – here’s to productivity 🙂


  4. Kim @ This Belle Rocks

    I really enjoyed this post…..I have a behemoth of an industrial desk that has literally tons of storage, but am still trying to figure out how to best organize everything so that I can work (and play.). Your home office is adorable and inspires productivity.

    Just here from the Winter Blues/DIY linkup. Not currently participating, but really inspired to finish some projects of my own after reading some participants’ posts.


    1. Blonde Ambition

      Thanks Hannah! That’s so lovely of you. I’m glad you liked it … it’s such a nifty little hack and you really could do the legs any colour you wanted to match with a room’s theme. I do love the gold though, I feel like it’s made it just a wee bit glam! I love the link up so I’ll definitely be back. x

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s