Asked on Apr 15, 2013

Old school desks

Patricia W
by Patricia W
Ive got these two old school desks picked them up super super cheap at a yard sale. They are in perfect shape, the seats fold up nicely. Ive dated them to around 1890.I had them for sale on Craigslist, but the only hits I received were from a couple of "clowns" who wanted to send me a "cheque" and have cousin Vinny swing on by and pick them up. Anyway, Im not sure what to do with them. I do not want to paint them. Any ideas would be wonderful!
two old desks.
  38 answers
  • Lulu Dubin Lulu Dubin on Apr 16, 2013
    I had the same desks! M grandmother was a school teacher. I also wondered what to do with them.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Apr 16, 2013
    Sometimes selling stuff on craigs list can take a while...If you are looking to just get rid of them I have gotten dozens of responses when listing stuff in the "free" section. It just comes down to letting them go at a loss. Do you have a consignment furniture /resale type shop in your area? we have purchased stuff a bit like this (some vintage chairs and table) from ours
  • Marie Beall Marie Beall on Apr 16, 2013
    See if you have a local site. I personally have a desk fetish! ha ha. I would put them near the front door next to each other, a basket under each seat, a little lamp, it would be a place to sit and put on shoes, combined with a sofa table idea for keys. Use an old door long ways and put some wrought iron hooks on it above. Paint that black w/ stain the same color to unify and call it a day! If I wasn't so far away, I would buy them myself!
  • Z Z on Apr 16, 2013
    I love @Marie Beall's idea of using them at an entry as a table and place to put on and take off shoes. since the seats fold up you don't have to worry about having the space to leave them out all the time. Now if you didn't live so far I'd buy them from you for our back entry! If you still want to sell them on CL a hint is to add in red letters that all scams will be reported. You can find out how to change font colors among other HTML codes here....
  • Patricia W Patricia W on Apr 16, 2013
    Thanks ladies! Maybe our mudroom. Everyone comes through that door.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Apr 17, 2013
    I can say that they sure don't make school furniture this nice any more...the stuff my girls have in their class rooms is plastic and particle board. Hardwood and cast iron in these have lasted more than 100 years...I'd say durability is a good thing and rare these days.
  • Caley's Culinaries Caley's Culinaries on Apr 18, 2013
    I have seen them used as bedside tables. It looked great with books and an inkwell!
  • Tina Goyette Tina Goyette on Apr 22, 2013
    I think they are beautiful the way they are
  • We used to have one on our front porch with potted flowers on it.
  • Mercedes McFarland Mercedes McFarland on Apr 22, 2013
    a study room for the kids and they can use their lap tops on the desks and keep school/office supplies in the desk part....or make into a crafting area to store all kinds of arts n crafts in the desk and can do projects ontop of the tables and you have seating available to relax and begin crafting your imagination
  • Brigitte J Brigitte J on Apr 22, 2013
    I would put plants into the desk ... pillows on the bench ... voila cute access to the garden or porch
  • Mary M Mary M on Apr 22, 2013
    Put them in the yard, sit on them sideways and rest drinks on the desk part.
  • Wendy W Wendy W on Apr 22, 2013
    You could remove the desk tops and make them into planters with some beautiful flowers and vines. Put the benches side by side and put them on a porch
  • Elizabeth Bauernschub Elizabeth Bauernschub on Apr 22, 2013
    They would be perfect for children to use for a childrens playroom. Screw the legs to pieces of 2x4's for support and arrange them facing each other or back to back or just anyway that fits in the place you want to use them. When they are old enough to use for homework or just coloring and paintin the mess is all in one place. I have twin grandchildren and they would get plenty of use.
  • Patsy W Patsy W on Apr 22, 2013
    Those are precious! Could you remove the actual desk top & use the well as planters & use the desk top tops as a garden sign or if indoors, add a piece of cork on one & chalkboard paint on the other. Would be cute in some type of covered garden area or porch!
  • 'Joyce Craig 'Joyce Craig on Apr 22, 2013
    Oh my, put one in the garden. Take the lid off, paint the wood with marine clear paint to protect the wood. If there are no holes in the metal desk well drill some & now you have a planter box. This would just look so awesome & make a beautiful place to sit in your garden. Now I want one.
  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Apr 22, 2013
    I would put a flower pot in the desk top and use as a bench in my garden.
  • Linda Tittle-hatfield Linda Tittle-hatfield on Apr 22, 2013
    i would put them on the front porch with pretty pots of flowers on them!!
  • Wilma Bishop Wilma Bishop on Apr 22, 2013
    Please don't paint them, they are beautiful as they are. Painting them would lower the value of them.
  • Penster47 Penster47 on Apr 22, 2013
    Not sure they are quite that old. I sat at ones just like that in the 50's.
  • Carol P Carol P on Apr 22, 2013
    Side-by-side them, put sitting cushions on the seat and use them as a seating/console table combination somwhere. On a porch maybe?
  • Lonestarlady Lonestarlady on Apr 22, 2013
    I bought this old school desk from my neighbor specifically to have it painted. Although it's not a likeness of them, It represents my 4 children. I've had it for over 20 children are adults with little ones of their own...and I've never regretted having it painted.
  • Kat Praeuner Kat Praeuner on Apr 22, 2013
    love the idea of using them on the porch add a cushion and they would make nice chairs. Use the back desk part to hold magazines, books, or even garden tools and gloves, with some potted plants on top and a small table between them with a lamp and you would have a nice reading or sitting area no matter which room it was in. I too would put a clear marine coat on them to protect them if you put them outside...
  • Kathleen Kathleen on Apr 22, 2013
    I have two similar ones and use them as end tables on each side of my sofa. Also have inkwells and old pens on them.
  • Gloria Foisy Gloria Foisy on Apr 22, 2013
    If you try and sit on the bench part it will turn over. It has to be bolted to the floor to keep it from tilting. I have one on my front porch and add potted plants on them.
  • Linda Chilcott Linda Chilcott on Apr 22, 2013
    I have one of these desk in my living room, please don't paint....Love rustic look...the only thing I use on the desk is oil to keep the wood in good condition. I bought old 2 old Golden books from 1936.... All for 25.00 !
  • Linda M Linda M on Apr 22, 2013
    I bought mine for the kids to use. now it is a table like catch all in a bed room. how do U tell the age? mine are still the natural color.
  • L.J. Voss L.J. Voss on Apr 22, 2013
    If you put them outside, please coat, varnish or something to PROTECT them. I have one single desk with the bench on the front. It was outside at my Grandparents with plants on them for MANY years. I don't know what to do with it now, but as a child we put MANY hours in playing school, so I have very fond memories of it.
  • Lais Pfitzenreiter Lais Pfitzenreiter on Apr 22, 2013
    They are beautiful as they are. Just find a corner and put it there maybe with some flower pot or plant on it.
  • Joe S Joe S on Apr 22, 2013
    In 1952 I was in grade one and used these old log school house at Scotswood Alberta, 15 miles west of Fairview ,Alberta, Canada. These old desks in Port McNeill. BC, Museum to, where i work part time
  • Sharon Murray Sharon Murray on Apr 22, 2013
    secure them next to each toher, make some cool cushions for the new 'couch and put a lamp, phone and a plant or candle on top and use the desk storage for your stamps, phone book, extra writing supplies, pens etc all the things yuo need by a phone, and enjoy, i would, polyeurethane or shellca it keeping the dignity fo the antigqunes and showing off the beutiful flaws in teh desktop. love this
  • Janet Boyd Janet Boyd on Apr 22, 2013
    Bed side tables for a kid's room...I had one when my daughter was growing up but it was the smaller one that was all wood. It was perfect beside her smaller bed.
  • Donna B Donna B on Apr 23, 2013
    I would put cushions on them and place them side by side in a theatre room - snacks (popcorn/candy etc) could be stored inside desk for easy access.
  • Debra L Debra L on Apr 23, 2013
    I would put them together long ways as one long bench and use the desk top to put drinks on in the garden!
  • Maria Maria on May 18, 2013
    I'll Buy Them, They are so cute!!!
  • Jean Gordon Jean Gordon on Jun 02, 2013
    Mount them on 2 x 4's that are longer then the span of each side leg bracket; that should solve the tipping problem. My sister-in-law used two school desks as end tables in her family room for years.
  • Jessica Mullen Jessica Mullen on Dec 29, 2013
    I am a bit of a purist & would not do anything to them.... but growing up my surrogate parents had one & I had the chance to sit at it for hours & paint & color etc as a kid.