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Free Ultimate Furniture Painting Guide

Transform Your Space with a Whimsical Painted Writing Desk Makeover

Third times a charm!  

If you feel like you've seen this antique writing desk TWICE are correct!

I used it to show off two new Dixie Belle paint colors....which were pretty....but I was just dying to go full on WHIMSY with it!

So buckle up and join me for the journey to the cutest little whimsical writing desk you ever did see!

Whimsical Writing Desk by Traceys Fancy


If you are a new reader, hello and welcome to the Fancy Fam! With over a decade of furniture painting experience, I can honestly say that sharing my projects through this blog is still my favorite way to inspire! I've got years worth of fun and creative ways to update your home decor and furniture through paint! If this sounds like something you'd like to have delivered to you every Sunday be sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter here!


The Design Plan - Whimsical Writing Desk

What I hope to achieve in this project journal today is to give you a glimpse into my brain as I wrap my head around an idea. 

I started this desk with absolutely zero vision of the finished look but I DID have an inspiration piece!

For this whimsical desk makeover, I was inspired by my recently painted nutcracker chair!  

Nutcracker Chair by Traceys Fancy

That is so very helpful when working on a painting project without a plan to at least have something that you are pulling colors or style from.

From this chair I would pull my color palette. 

collection of paint colors

Supplies Used - Whimsical Writing Desk

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How to Paint a Whimsical Writing Desk

Where to start with this whimsical project?

My least favorite color is yellow...and I really didn't want to add it to this project.  But how could I leave it out when it shows so boldly as the nutcracker crown?

So I decided to use it as a back light for the inside components.  

I used Colonel Mustard, a deep and rich yellow, as the inner light for the center inset and the two very dark hand hole areas. 

painting yellow interior on Whimsical Writing Desk

My point is....even when you have no idea what you will do least do the ONE thing you do know and that will get you started!  

When you are done with that step, stand back and study the piece and see what ideas come from it. 

Featuring Red & Pink Harlequin

It was at this point that I knew I wanted to use red and pink to make a harlequin pattern on the desk top.  

I loved the pink and red stripe on the nutcracker chair cushion and wanted to feature that color pair as the main focus on this writing desk.  

I chose the size for my harlequin to be 3" wide x 6" tall...measured out the harlequin and drew my diagonal lines to form the final pattern.   

painting pink & red harlequin on whimsical writing desk

Using Peony Pink and Honky Tonk Red.....this gorgeous desk top was complete!

completed pink & red harlequin on whimsical writing desk

Standing back again, I realized I wanted to do the same exact thing to the center upper portion.

This time I used the DB Harlequin stencil to trace out my pattern and then paint.

As you can see, I really prefer to free hand harlequin vs taping it out.....just so much tape equals a headache for me!

hand drawing harlequin pattern before painting

Adding more color...lots more!

Little by little, I began to pull colors from the chair and add it to the desk.

I painted all the trim white....which I later changed to gold.  

I used The Gulf for most of the side panels and the body.

I chose Blueberry and Lucky Lavender to accentuate the beautiful spindles and legs!  

This was a lot of extra work to paint each little circular bulb....but that is what makes WHIMSY....whimsy!  

whimsical painting on spindle leg of writing desk

Going the extra mile and painting in all the detail!  

The Blueberry/Lucky Lavender combination was very pleasing to me so I decided to bring it from the outside legs to the center focal point on the little drawer! 

whimsical spindle on writing desk

I even trimmed it in red....which I later changed to gold as well...more on that later.

A Strong Pop of Black & White

Again....standing back......I realized I needed a strong pop of black and white!

So what better place to put that punch of contrast than the gorgeous curved backdrop to the desk.  

whimsical writing desk by Traceys Fancy

Pulling from my inspiration chair....I chose stripes just like the cushion....using my favorite Caviar and Fluff

It was right here that I began to finally see my vision!  It took that long!!!

Do you see how much work I'd already done.....and was totally trusting the process?

Final Details

Now for the FINAL details to set off an already very detailed whimsy desk!

At this point, the only color I haven't used from the nutcracker chair is Soft Pink....which were on the front two legs of the chair in stripe with Peony.

So I chose the bottom cross bar of the desk and again, paired with Peony, painted big bold stripes.....for the bringing it home move!

Whimsical Writing Desk by Traceys Fancy

I first imagined that all the trim work would be black and white stripes or checks. 


However I realized I had not utilized the metallic gold from the chair....and you know I love any excuse to pull out the gold!  The gold is Posh Pigments Byzantine Gold infused with Gloss Top Coat. 

Whimsical Writing Desk by Traceys Fancy

So in using my inspiration chair....I applied gold mostly on the lower portion of the desk.....saving the whimsical arches of the hand holes and the main trim around the desk for the pop of black and white!  

The Finished Look: Whimsical Writing Desk

I.  AM.  IN.  LOVE.

I have not painted a protective top coat yet because I couldn't wait to take photos!

I  usually prefer my whimsical pieces to I plan to use DB's top coat in Gloss!

Whimsical Writing Desk by Traceys Fancy

I have no idea where I'm going to put this beauty...but for now she is mine! Even if it means she sits out here in the shop with me just to make my work days brighter!

Heres a quick overhead view of every single product and tool that I used. 

The chaos behind the beauty!

overhead shot of paint supplies

More Inspiration: Whimsical Projects

If you are loving this whimsical look as much as I do, check out some of my other inspirational pieces!

This is a question I get ALL THE TIME...What do you do with all this whimsical furniture? Does it sell? See the answer HERE!

Click on any photo below for more up-close photos and all the design details


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Whimsical Writing Desk by Traceys Fancy

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