Turn a Changing Table Into a Desk


First, I have to apologize. I always do these “MONSTER of a post” posts with 10 million pics. So, WARNING: there are tons of pics here! But the wait is over, my friends!

I asked all of you in a previous post what you thought I was turning this changing table into. You guys had some creative guesses: a plant stand, a book shelf, maybe even a bar cart. Only one person suggested that I turn my old crib into a desk, but no one explicitly said “desk.”

I hope you’re pleasantly surprised!


Thrifted Changing Table

I turned it into a desk / homework station for my sons!

Is it totally un-modest to say that I am really proud of this project?? Because I am really proud. Not only did I bust out my Ryobi circular saw, but I also didn’t let many pieces go to waste.


Turn a changing table into a desk 2

1-Click here to pin this desk!

This is how the changing table sat for the last year: taking up space in an abandoned room that will someday soon be fixed up. And you see that old chair? I made that over, too, with a fresh coat of white paint. I found that next to a dumpster alongside my ombre dumpster desk!

Thrifted Changing Table

Don’t Let a Good Changing Table Go to Waste!

Don’t you hate spending a lot of money on stuff for kids? They outgrow it so quickly! Especially changing tables. Once they start rolling over after 4-5 months, that changing table is obsolete–at least, for changing. You have to either sell it, or repurpose it.

I vote for repurposing :)


STEP 1: Removal of shelves

I had to remove the shelves so there was space for a chair and legs. I also did a preliminary coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Antibes Green to see if I would like it, per my 7-year old’s color suggestion. LOL :)


STEP 2: Reinforce the Top

I knew I would need to reinforce the top as a desk because it was a cheap, thin particle board. I decided to use this board below as a reinforcement. I had found the board in a stack on the side of the road last year! Hubby complained about me stopping to pick it up, but when you see FREE BOARDS, you.do.not.keep.driving. You haul that stuff away! I  used some of the other boards to reinforce the back of my French Provincial Desk makeover. So you see, dear hubby???

Cutting reinforcement top

(And oooooohhhhh….how I LOVE my Ryobi circular saw that I scored over the summer at the Haven 2013 conference!  It’s super easy to use, and I love how interchangeable the battery is with other One Plus Ryobi tools. Yeah. THAT circular saw…..  LOL. This face is no lie–I really DO get that excited about power tools! I’m not much of a girly girl. Sorry!


Freshly cut and ready to reinforce.


I painted it in Annie Sloan Florence. OMG….THE.BEST.COLOR.EVER. Hands-down, my favorite color:


I used Gorilla Glue Epoxy to glue the reinforced piece to the changing table top.


STEP 3: Cut down the legs.

To make this changing table into a desk, it needed to be shorter. I taped off the end (so that I could use the edge of the tape as a guide for straightness) and cut off 3.5″.


Again, my saw came in handy.


STEP 4: Upcycle the scraps into pencil holders!

I saved those 3.5″ scrap wood leg pieces and used them to make the cutest little Pencil People pencil holders :)  (I’ll be posting that tutorial later this week. It’s super easy!!!!)




Turn a changing table into a desk 3

STEP 5: Cut off the sides that “look” like a changing table.

I couldn’t decide whether to keep or cut off the curved sides of the changing table. I didn’t want it to look like a changing table, and those rounded edges screamed “BABY FURNITURE!” to me. Uh huh. Buh-bye!


I had some of this scrap wood from God-knows-where lying around, so I decided to use it to cap off the edges. No more rounded edges! :)


STEP 6: Use the BOTTOM shelf of the changing table for a whiteboard.

So remember this picture from my last post–the crazy pic with me lugging home the changing table before I owned a minivan? Well, notice the bottom of the shelf bottoms. THEY’RE WHITE. And not only white, but they’re vinyl-y, like whiteboard material! I got the genius idea to upcycle one of the bottom shelves as a white board, if I just flipped it over, then used my nail gun to adhere it to the back of the changing table! LOVE THAT!


Hauling Changing Table


Trying out this idea….it seemed to work well!



And remember the post I did recently about making a drawer organizer out of scrapbook paper? I added one of those DIY drawer organizer inside for the kids, too. :)

Turn a changing table into a desk 4

STEP 7: Find an inspirational quote and stencil it on.

I’m obsessed with this idea of hanging inspirational quotes around my house, in the hopes that my kids will read it repeatedly and it will just, well….sink in. LOL. So I found an awesome quote by Confucius, the Chinese philosopher. I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut it out. Considering that this is a desk where my kids will do homework, I want them to be inspired when they’re being challenged:

“It does not matter
how slowly you go as
long as you do not stop”
~ Confucius




Here’s the stenciled quote after:

Turn a changing table into a desk 5

Turn a changing table into a desk 1

My 7-year old loves it! And it’s so nice having a place for him in my Reading Room (aka “blogging room”) where he can sit and do his school work!

Turn a changing table into a desk 6

Now when he’s doing Khan Academy on the computer, he’s got a place to work out all those addition and multiplication problems.

Turn a changing table into a desk 7


So you may be wondering how much this cost me. Well, considering that I didn’t actually need to go buy anything to do it–IT COST ME NOTHING! But if you want to get technical, the changing table was $12, the paint was probably about $5 (if not less). The Gorilla Glue Epoxy was free (got it at the Haven conference). The Pencil People did require me to buy some googley eyes for them, and some twine, but they weren’t part of the desk, so they don’t count :). So…. you do the math: CHEAP! But cute!


This project took me 4 evenings. It could have taken less time, but I was puttering around with all the nitty-gritty details, trying to see if “this” would work or “that” would work. It was time well spent, however!


I would say this is an intermediate project, only because you’ve got to use power tools to cut the legs and some other pieces of wood, in order to make them fit.

So what do you think??!!

Would you be so kind to pin this project if you really liked it? Sharing is good :)


Turn a thrifted changing table into a DESK


Don’t leave yet! WAIT–you probably didn’t even make it down this far, huh? I know…..But still, in case you like this desk, here are a few more of my desk/table projects you may enjoy :)

If you enjoyed this post, consider leaving a comment :) THANKS A MILLION!!









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About the Author ()

LIFE shouldn't be financial suicide! Thrift Diving is about finding cheap solutions to life's expenses, via thrift stores and second-hand goods: I paint used furniture and decorate my house with it....my family rocks cute thrift store clothing.....and I invest tons of DIY (do-it-yourself) home improvement hours into fixing up our old 1973 single-family home. Thrift Diving is about turning the "expensive" into the "affordable." Thanks for joining me! Happy Thrift Diving!

Comments (59)

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  1. Gretchen says:

    This turned out great! I love the addition of the whiteboard.

  2. Teresa @tessiescreations.wordpress.com says:

    Love it!

  3. Shelly says:

    Luv it!!! Never imagined it as a desk. What a creative vision Great job :-)

  4. You are so clever! I love this desk and I especially love all of your creative touches like the pencil holder and white board for notes and doing math work. This teacher gives you an A+ on this project!
    Paula@SweetPea recently posted…Exercise Motivation with Relays HeadphonesMy Profile

  5. Mimi says:

    A DESK! I love it, could not have turned out better! Love the quote too. Lucky kids!! Just checked out your other desks!! So great. Love your craft room, I mean your husbands office

  6. Lori says:

    WOW! too cute! I never would have thought of a desk, but that just goes to prove how creative you are! Love the color and your son looks quite comfy at his now desk! Keep thrifting! I sure need the ideas!

  7. Chris says:

    What a neat idea!!! Very talented!!

  8. Tk Hays says:

    What a great project with a terrific finish. You really made something beautiful.

  9. Doris Henson says:

    How clever!!!! LOVE IT!

  10. I love it thanks for sharing have a great day
    lorraine williamson recently posted…Frugal Family Food–Moo Shu WrapsMy Profile

  11. Noreen says:

    Love it!

  12. Beth says:

    Serena this is fantastic! I’m totally sharing this with my FB peeps. Great job!
    Beth recently posted…10 Projects to InspireMy Profile

  13. Wendy Leon says:

    Serena, That is so cool. There is no way to tell that it was once a changing table. I love the pencil people. You are an inspiration. Keep up the awesome work.

    • That’s what I was hoping for, Wendy! I was half-way through the project and kept looking at that curved edges and just didn’t like them. Something kept telling me to just cut them off. I did, and I loved the look without the edges!! :) Thank you so much for the great words. It really keeps me going in times when I am worried that no one is “out there” reading my blog :) LOL
      Serena Appiah recently posted…Turn a Changing Table Into a DeskMy Profile

  14. Robin says:

    Wow! You did such a great job! Love it!

  15. Mary says:

    I consider myself pretty creative, but I never would have looked it the changing table and thought “desk”. I am in awe of your creativity and vision! You are the queen!

    • You’re too sweet, Mary! Yeah, it just hit me one day when I was walking into the spare room: “That should totally be a desk!!” Sometimes ideas just happen like that, and when they do, I usually have to jump on it immediately! Or at least write it down. LOL Thanks so much for commenting!
      Serena Appiah recently posted…Turn a Changing Table Into a DeskMy Profile

  16. judy says:

    Wow! I never guessed you’d turn it into a desk. That is neat. The whiteboard is a great touch!

    • I was hoping everyone would be surprised! LOL :) I even did some Googling before I did the project to see if anyone else had done it. I couldn’t really find anything (maybe I didn’t look too hard). But I liked that it wasn’t an idea already splattered all over the internet! :) Thanks for commenting, Judy! Means a lot! :)
      Serena Appiah recently posted…Turn a Changing Table Into a DeskMy Profile

  17. Kathy says:

    I LOVE everything about this!!! Fun colors, drawer organizers, matching chair. But the dry erase board from one of the existing shelves is just GENIUS!! I am also having POWER TOOL ENVY.

    • Hey old friend! :) Yeah, I was trying to incorporate a lot into this desk! One of my favorite things was the Pencil People pencil holders! LOL. I even filmed a tutorial for that, which I should be posting this week, hopefully. Time is always short here in the Appiah household :) Thanks so much for the kind words!! :)
      Serena Appiah recently posted…Turn a Changing Table Into a DeskMy Profile

  18. I just love the ideas you come up with! Please come over to my house and tell me what to do with some of my stuff

    • Hey Jeanne! Hmmm….that sounds like a great idea! Whatcha got? Sometimes I’m all out of ideas until I start messing around with something, and then inspiration comes :) LOL. Seriously, send me any pics of something you want me to look at and I’ll see if I can give you some suggestions! :) Email me at thriftdiving at gmail dot com.
      Serena Appiah recently posted…Turn a Changing Table Into a DeskMy Profile

  19. debbie says:

    Very cute and clever. I would have never thought this was possible. You have great sense of potential.

    • Awww…thanks Debbie! This is such a great comment. My mind is constantly working, coming up with ideas! I’m just so happy that I can share them and that you wonderful people come to my blog to read about them! :) I love inspiring people to be creative! It’s my passion :) Thanks for commenting!
      Serena Appiah recently posted…Turn a Changing Table Into a DeskMy Profile

  20. Tracey Bradshaw says:

    Love it – straightening off the sides really did change the the style from baby furniture to a new piece. And the colors are awesome. I need to get more courageous with the colors I use here at home. Our change table is long gone, gifted to friends once we had grown out of it, but now I know that if I do see one, that it’s worth rescuing.
    Keep churning out these great ideas Serena – you are full of inspiration :-)

    • Hey girlfriend!! Yeah, I know–I found that I was hating the sides! It just wasn’t the look that was speaking to me. Cutting them off–I was a little nervous that I would make a mistake, but it turned out okay. WHEW! At least now when you go to the thrift store and see a changing table, you’ll know it’s potential! :) Thanks for commenting!
      Serena Appiah recently posted…Turn a Changing Table Into a DeskMy Profile

  21. Debbie says:

    Turned out great . I have one my grand kids leftskes me want to try it for when they visit .

  22. jodi says:

    I love seeing unique repurposing ‘ideas!!!! great job

  23. Linda says:

    Great job, I love the transformation!

  24. RUTH says:

    Hi … I love what you did with the changing table. You’re very talented, and re-purpose items no longer needed. You did a beautiful job. You’re an inspiration to those of us who are limited on ideas of WHAT TO DO with unused items. Thanks for sharing your passion. :)

    • Ruth, this is such a sweet comment! You hit the nail on the head–PASSION. Doing this stuff is soooo much my passion that I often spend all day thinking about it, generating new ideas, usually with limited time to execute it all! But I do what I can, and it makes me happier than anything else (besides my family, of course). Thank you so much for taking time to READ what I write and thanks for allowing me to inspire you. :) It means so much to me! Have a great day! :)
      Serena Appiah recently posted…Turn a Changing Table Into a DeskMy Profile

  25. Sharon says:

    Wow! That is terrific. You have great vision. How do you come up with such clever stuff????? Thanks for sharing. Love it.

    • I wish I knew, Sharon! :) Ideas just hit me, and usually when they do, I get a feeling that it’s a good idea or not. This idea hit me when I walked into the spare room one day. I was like, “OOOhh, that needs to be a DESK!” And then I had to start working on it immediately! And it’s funny because it’s usually when I’m in the middle of working on something that I am inspired on what I am actually going to do to it. It’s like a work in progress for each project :) Thanks so much for commenting!!!
      Serena Appiah recently posted…Turn a Changing Table Into a DeskMy Profile

  26. Karen says:

    Serena, this is just amazing!! I will never look at a changing table the same way again. Love it!
    Karen recently posted…Bookshelf Dumpster Diva, A Major MakeoverMy Profile

    • Thank you so much, Karen! I don’t think I will look at them the same, either! I see them at the thrift store all the time. Now, I’ll be seeing, “Ooh, I could make that into a desk and SELL it!” lol

  27. Denise says:

    Serena..looks like you really love that circular saw :) and you’ve worked wonders with it…great re-purposing tutorial!
    Denise recently posted…Thrift Store Coffee Table Make-OverMy Profile

  28. Johanne says:

    Brilliant really – I love the white board and of course the space for a laptop! The truth be known if it was mine it would of ended up back at the Salvation Army because I don’t do power tools honey! Having said that I admire your perseverance because I know I would of gotten as far as the green paint and then chucked it!
    Johanne recently posted…NOT MINEMy Profile

    • Johanne, you’re hilarious! I was a little skeptical once I started putting paint on it–like, “hmmm….is this going to work??” But it did! And oooh….the power tools…..It’s like a whole new world opens up when you’ve got a saw in your hand! Creativity is now limitless!! :) Thanks so much for the great comment!
      Serena Appiah recently posted…Turn a Changing Table Into a DeskMy Profile

  29. Patty Mc says:

    Regarding reinforcing the shelves (I’m making a bar cart), does your “found board” rest on top of the particle board? There is a secured metal strip underneath but I am not sure if it would hold bottles or
    a piece of plywood for a period of time.

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