This thing didn't just show up like this:
When I got it, it was cute, but there were these kind of cheesy looking flowers on the back, and a lot of the finish was wearing off, especially on the desk (due in no small part to historically enormous telephones, I'm sure).
It sat around like this for a few months, while I spent an insanity filled 6 weeks full of Thanksgiving and Christmas and 2 conferences. Then, I finally decided to take action. I bought some semi-gloss paint at Home Depot, upon recommendation of the extremely patient Home Depot man who didn't even roll his eyes when I got completely stymied by the approximately one million shades of light greyish blue paint available. I then sanded it lightly with very fine sandpaper, but didn't do any primer because he said I probably didn't need it. I thought the bench seat looked pretty good, so decided to leave that as is.
The hardest part, by FAR was dealing with the spindles. I had to wrap them all with blue tape and then construct an elaborate drop cloth out of taped together kitchen trash bags (these pictures are extra bad because I was covered in paint and it was night time)
I love how it turned out, it's the perfect size for dumping things, and I can hide the shoe basket underneath. Plus, I like how it's kind of unique. PLUS, I had never heard of these things before and got to spend time getting all obsessed with finding other people's super cute telephone bench makeovers like this one and this one and this one. It's really about the most I could expect out of any one piece of furniture!