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 suggestedΒ that I turn my old crib into a desk, but no one explicitly said “desk.”

I hope you’re pleasantly surprised!


DIY changing table upcycle and ideas - Thrift Diving

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 IΒ amΒ 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 Once they start rolling over after 4-5 months, that changing table is obsolete–at least, for changing.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 πŸ™‚


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 πŸ™‚


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 Β used some of the other boards to reinforce the back of my French Provincial DeskΒ makeover.Β So you see, dear hubby???

Cutting reinforcement top

(And oooooohhhhh….how I LOVE myΒ Ryobi circular sawΒ that I scored over the summer at the Haven 2013 conference! Β It’s super easy to use, and I love how interchangeable the battery is with other One Plus Ryobi tools.Β Yeah. THAT circular saw….. Β 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 DIY Snowman Pencil Holders πŸ™‚

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 toΒ 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! πŸ™‚


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


And remember the post I did recently aboutΒ making a drawer organizer out of scrapbook paper? I added one of those DIY drawer organizer inside for the kids, too. πŸ™‚

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

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??!!


Turn a changing table into a desk_original

If you like this project, you may like some of my otherΒ desk/table projects! πŸ™‚


So have you ever seen any really cool ways to upcycyle a changing table? Leave a comment and add your 2 cents! πŸ™‚



Tags: , ,

About the Author ()

Hey there, I'm Serena, a 38-year-old working mom of 3 young boys who can't get enough DIY! If you actually made it to the bottom of this post to read this, it means you're really enjoy my blog. That means SO much. If I can inspire just one person through my passion and energy for DIY, then I'm fulfilling my life's purpose. Thanks for joining me, and I hope you'll subscribe so we can keep in touch! ~Serena

Comments (72)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jeanette Dick says:

    I love the useful repurposing…but I do have a question about cutting the legs off. What measurement scale did you go with to let you know how much to take off? It looks as if your son has just enough room to slide in, but as he gets older, or if an adult sits at the desk, is there enough room to sit with legs under the desk drawer? Thanks for the inspiration. Just curious about thigh space! Thanks!

    • Hey, Jeanette!

      Sorry for the late response! I’ve been traveling and not being good about answering in a timely fashion! LOL. To answer your question, I think I just guesstimated. I have sat at the desk and can sit comfortably. I think it depends on the height of the chair you’ll use, and then add in several inches over the height of what the chair would be with your legs, too! Hope that helps! πŸ™‚

  2. chris says:

    I want one of those saws! I have a table saw that my husband bought me several years ago for Christmas, and a jigsaw that I love. My husband loves that I’m into power tools.

    • Power tools ROCK, don’t they, Chris??!! I’ve been getting very skilled with mine and I’ll spend hours in the garage just working on building little things! It’s sooo therapeutic! What kind of things do you like to work on?

  3. Georgetta says:

    Bravo. You have a good eye. Loved it.

  4. 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.

  5. 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, 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!! πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for the great comment!

  6. Denise says:

    Serena..looks like you really love that circular saw πŸ™‚ and you’ve worked wonders with it…great re-purposing tutorial!

    • Denise, I think I’m in LOVE with my power tools!!! They’re so much fun! It’s like, once you “get” power tools and building, you can really make ANYTHING! How powerful is that?! πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting!!

  7. Karen says:

    Serena, this is just amazing!! I will never look at a changing table the same way again. Love it!

    • 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

  8. 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! πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for commenting!!!

  9. 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. πŸ™‚

    • 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. πŸ™‚ It means so much to me! Have a great day! πŸ™‚

  10. Linda says:

    Great job, I love the transformation!

  11. jodi says:

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

  12. Debbie says:

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

  13. 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 πŸ™‚

    • 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! πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting!

  14. 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! πŸ™‚ I love inspiring people to be creative! It’s my passion πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting!

  15. 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 πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ™‚ Email me at thriftdiving at gmail dot com.

  16. 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! πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for the kind words!! πŸ™‚

  17. 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 πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting, Judy! Means a lot! πŸ™‚

  18. 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!

  19. Robin says:

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

  20. 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!! πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ LOL

  21. Beth says:

    Serena this is fantastic! I’m totally sharing this with my FB peeps. Great job!

  22. Noreen says:

    Love it!

  23. I love it thanks for sharing have a great day

  24. Doris Henson says:

    How clever!!!! LOVE IT!

  25. Tk Hays says:

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

  26. Chris says:

    What a neat idea!!! Very talented!!

  27. 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!

    • This desk has been a god-send! My son sits at it every day! Instead of him sitting at my blogging desk (which is in the same room), he is now at his own spot, which is soooo freeing! More more crumbs on my desk! LOL πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting!

  28. 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

    • Mimi, hi! It’s a great quote, isn’t it? I really wanted something that the kids would read and although they may not “get” it yet, that if they read it enough, it would resonate in them! πŸ™‚ Thanks for checking out my other desks! And your comment means a lot!

  29. 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!

    • Awww…..this comment made me smile! πŸ™‚ I find that that is what gives me the most joy when working on projects–the little finishing touches that really allow creativity to flow! πŸ™‚ Thanks for noticing all the details. It means a lot, Paula! πŸ™‚

  30. Shelly says:

    Luv it!!! Never imagined it as a desk. What a creative vision Great job πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, it’s funny–it just hit me one day when I walked into the room where it was sitting. I thought, “Hmmm, that should be a DESK!” And I had to work on it immediately! πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting, Shelly!

  31. Teresa @tessiescreations.wordpress.com says:

    Love it!

  32. Gretchen says:

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up to my newsletter!