Using an indoor piece of furniture outdoors

I have a vintage desk that I would LOVE to be able to use outdoors as a desk. I don't care about keeping papers or things in the drawers, maybe a pen or two. But I mainly want to put it under one of my Japanese Oaks and have a place to work on my novels. My other gig is I'm a writer. What can I do to the desk to make sure it's not going to fall apart or rot on me. I've thought about building it a canopy to protect it from the elements but still give me the wide open feel of writing outside. (I like to hear the birds chirping and see the wildlife in our yard.) Any suggestions? It's similar to this desk but not the exact one. My desk is being "stored" in the back of my husband's jeep because I "had" to have it two weeks ago and bought it for $20 without thinking about where I was going to put it! I actually thought it would fit in my granddaughter's room but it won't. So, what can I do to it so that I can use it outside?
using an indoor piece of furniture outdoors, outdoor furniture, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, I want to use this outside to place a laptop on and write away
I want to use this outside, to place a laptop on and write away!
  14 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 30, 2013
    You are going to want to keep the rain off of it. Obviously you will not be able to use it when its raining, but a simple tarp could cover it when the weather is bad. Not the most attractive, but cheap and workable. Another option would be to replace the writing top with a more water resistant option. Like a granite slab, sizing it for ample overhangs will help protect the lower portion. Do you write with a laptop or are you old school and use a pen? I've done a bit of "computer" work using my laptop on our outdoor deck furniture. More recently I have been using a lap desk I built.

  • Z Z on May 31, 2013
    There are very few woods that weather well out doors. My guess is it's humid there in Georgia so even if it never got rain on it the humidity could damage your beautiful desk. That being said I decided I better Google so I did and found this product. Though I've never used, or even heard of it, it's been around for over a hundred years and was used to restore 150+ year old USS Constellation.

  • Lori Choman Lori Choman on May 31, 2013
    I'm building a screened in/tin roof shed type building to put it in. I'll have tarps that roll down to keep the rain out. Becky, that waterlox product looks like it might be just the product to protect it! KMS, I do both and actually use a desktop too! I usually pen and paper my ideas and plot flows and such. But everything else is networked between 2 desktops, a laptop and a tablet. I have a spot on our property that I'm going to built a little 8x8 shed on. That will obviously protect it from the rain and the view of the trees and the wildlife will inspire me to either write more or nap! LOL See that spot, right between the tree where all the red leaves are on the ground? It NEVER gets any sun and there are enough trees around that I'll get a breeze. We have deer that like to wander up there and other wildlife too. I've been feeding them for years so they are all comfortable with me. I thought it would be a great place to push out the next great American novel! :)

  • Z Z on Jun 01, 2013
    What a wonderful spot to write Lori! I can see taking a nap there too. :^) Do you have anything published I could find? I'm an avid reader and would love to check out your work.

  • Lori Choman Lori Choman on Jun 01, 2013
    I haven't published anything in about 15 years so it's all out of print. :( I'm hoping to change that really soon. I have one my editor is working on and another one I'm trying to work on but the kids are SO loud!

  • Z Z on Jun 01, 2013
    Good luck. Please do let me know when you get something new out. You can private message me through Hometalk.

  • Porta Verde Studio Porta Verde Studio on Jun 03, 2013
    Hi, this type of desk is in the style of midcentury modern and they are trendy right now! Unfortunately, they are usually made of veneers which will blister and peel from moisture. Instead of putting it outside (were it will not survive even if you protect it) why not sell it and take the funds and buy an old banker desk made of solid oak? It will weather much better, especially with a coat of spar varnish. Those old desks can usually be found for under $100. I deal in midcentury modern and for a desk like this in decent shape, I would charge around $250. Refinished/restored, I would sell for around $500. Hope that helps with your decision.

  • Lori Choman Lori Choman on Jun 07, 2013
    Thanks for all the help with this. I've decided to use the Waterlox product on the desk to help protect it in the writing room where it will be. It's a three season room so it's "technically outdoors". The humidity here in GA is horrible so that's what I was really worried about!.

  • Z Z on Jun 08, 2013
    Make sure to take photos and let us know how you like Waterlox @Lori.

    • See 1 previous
    • @Lori Choman Congratulations to have publisehed your books.// It is very interesting to meet a really writer at these links. I am from Slovakia (a little country in central Europe). I am browsing these pages because of my madnesss to old things. And between old ones I can read dessirees of people. You are so kind, nice woman you have not forgotten a simple reader after all over the year. Much success to you, lucky days. Be happy, Lori.

  • Lori Choman Lori Choman on Jun 13, 2013
    Becky, I can't send you a private message because you aren't following me! I was going to tell you that my book is available on Kindle. The paper back version will be out in a couple of weeks. :)

  • Z Z on Jun 13, 2013
    I should have thought of that. I am now following you. I'm so excited about your book!

  • Porta Verde Studio Porta Verde Studio on Jun 14, 2013
    Even Waterlox will not prevent the veneer from peeling off this desk. Waterlox protects the finish but the humidity will still affect the glue holding the veneer to the chipboard underneath. If you only want the desk to last a season or 2, I think waterlox will work.

  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Dec 28, 2014
    Paint it what ever color you and out, then seal every inch of it in and out with marine sealer..a clear coat they use on boats. But every bit of the desk has got to be sealed to protect the wood from the elements. Make sure even the bottom of the legs are sealed, inside the drawers..every where. I have a dresser and a small set of shelves I am going to use as a plant table that will be on an open deck.