DIY – Study Table From Fuddy To Fab

We all have that room in or house – you know, the one that looks like the application photo for ‘Extreme Hoarders’. For us, that room is the study. For years friends and guests have been convinced that we lived in a 2 bedroom home, as the door was never opened and any mentioned of ‘Ooh whats in there?’ was met with a shove down the stairs for fear they actually dared to venture inside. 

Our study currently houses the following: Two wing-back chairs, all my crafts and wrapping paper, my canvases, paints and art supplies, all our luggage, my winter wardrobe and shoes, my handbags and extra sports gear, a chest of doors (9 of them) filled with sporting gear, a study table, 3 laptops, all our filing, all our books, 2 irons and an ironing board, linen, spare cushions and pillows and about 400 random cables and cords. 

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Kinda like this…


Over December I tackled the study like a 150 kilogram rugby player. I ruthlessly chucked about 3/4 of its contents and cleaned the place out. Look, the room is still fuller than my belly after a beer fest, but at-least there’s space to swing a cat. 

I also took on a DIY project – our old study table was a revolting hand me down and I have always hated. I decided to make this a bit more of a fun room and give it some character. I managed to convince my folks to give me an old rotting dining room table they had been storing, and to let me restore it. 



Step 1. Get table from parents house to my house (Tip – find a father with a 4×4 and trailer)

Step 2. Sand the thing down. (Tip, ask your husband to do this, or get a handheld electronic sander.) Apart from the numbness in your hands that follows for the next hour, it’s fairly therapeutic. ImageStep 3. Prime, prime prime. This table had been sitting outside for about a year and was drier than a Savannah ad by the time I started refurbishing it. I invested in a solid primer which had two purposes – to prevent the paint from ‘leaking’ through and being absorbed by the dry wood and to ensure the paint went on smoothly.


Step 4. Wait 24 hours for the primer to dry. I find wine helps the time pass quite well. (Tip, if you live in a ‘miggie’* prone area like we do, then either do this job inside or accept that you will forever have fossilized insects stuck to your table)

Step 5. Paint. The trick here is to use an enamel based paint (to get that high gleamy shine). I asked the man at Builders Warehouse for ‘Stripper Red’ but ‘Fire Engine Red’ will also do the trick. (Tip, take off your wedding ring, unless you like the look of ‘blood diamond’)

Step 6. Get it into study. Not an easy feat – we eventually managed (after removing half our wall) to hoist it up over our upstairs bedroom balcony. It was worth it – we have a long way to go but our study is finally looking like a part of the house. Who knows, one day we may even leave the door open for guests to actually see!



* For the sake of my 1 international reader, a miggie is a tiny flying insect – smaller than a mosquito or fruit fly. They favour wine glasses (preferable new, full and expensive Merlots) and fruit bowls. 

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  1. I can’t believe it was just enamel. looks like epoxy. but thanks for this, will be taking on a few new projects for my new flat in CT 🙂 Can’t be zen with just new stuff man [said in Kaapie accent (a white one not a coloured one -_-)]

    1. After the bashing and beating it took trying to get it up the stairs I would say abuse is the correct word. Will be interesting to see what the 4th gen does with it – more than likely restore it to it’s original wood/antique condition!

    1. Its true – in a few thousand years a scientist is going to chip away the paint to reveal several hundred miggies and determine wonderful facts about our kind in 2013 🙂

      As for Pinterest – only recommended if you have serious time on your hands 🙂 – But great for wedding planning! 😉

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