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!


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 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 Once they start rolling over after 4-5 months, that changing table is obsolete–at least, for changing.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 DIY Snowman Pencil Holders 🙂

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


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

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 other desk/table projects! 🙂


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



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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)

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  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! 🙂

  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.

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