I recently bought the primitive desk pictured above at Lula B's, one of my favorite antique stores. I liked it because it was small, had one large drawer, and was the perfect spot for my laptop. I also found an antique medical office exam chair which makes a great desk chair. I love the scale of the desk but I did not like the knobs and I really hated the "country" look of it.
So, I took the railing off the top of the desk and spray painted it with black chalk paint (NOT chalk board paint) which was about $8. I found two modern knobs at Home Depot for under $10. I think it was money well spent. Here's what the finished product looks like: