Monday, April 29, 2013

Side Table Makeover

Welcome to the first of my many furniture makeovers! I have been wanting to redo some of the furniture pieces in my house for ages but I never got brave enough. Moving into my own place gave me the kick I needed! I was in desperate need of furniture and I didn't want to have to go out and buy much so I decided to finally give refinishing a try.

For my first piece, I selected these absolutely hideous side tables complete with a tortoiseshell top.

Here is a close up of the top. Blech.

They were so ugly that when my mom first asked if I wanted to take them with me, I shuddered and cringed and declined. Finally I said yes when I realized I could just paint them. I mulled over what to do with them for about a week before I decided to just go all white on them. I considered doing something with a bit more punch but I found some awesome lamps from Home Goods and I didn't want to overshadow them with a stencil or too much color. Here is what I used:

-Primer: Kilz (one coat)
-Color: Behr Ultra Pure White (2 coats plus extra coat on top)
-Polyurethane: Minwax in Clear Gloss (2 coats, top only)

I started off by sanding the entire piece then I wiped off the dust with some Lysol wipes. Then I primed it. Now, I've found that I really do enjoy refinishing pieces but what I don't like is priming them. It takes longer to prime than to paint because the primer is so much thicker. Also, I will never refinish a piece that's all curved like this one. It's so much more difficult to paint. I much prefer the hard edges of squares and rectangles where you can use a roller.

I gave it one coat of the Kilz primer and then I went in the basement and found a gallon of Behr Ultra Pure White. I'm pretty sure this is what we use when we paint our trim but I really didn't want to spend the money on buying anything else. I gave the tables two coats each and then went back and did a third coat on the top since it would really be what people saw.

I loosely followed the directions of a tutorial from Young House Love. I finished it off by adding two coats of Minwax polyurethane in Clear Gloss (just to the top of the table). Now, I will warn you that even though it's called "clear gloss" there is still a bit of a yellow tint to the polyurethane. It's more obvious to me in certain lighting but I don't mind. The table looks a bazillion times better than it did before.

Here is another angle (can you see the ever so slight difference in the color of the top versus the legs?):

Here is my awesome lamp I found at Home Goods. I got one for each table. They were a splurge at $50 each but it was still cheaper than the $200 lamps I fell in love with at Pottery Barn (so they really felt like a bargain). It seems they've finally been taken off the site but you can see my pin here.

Here is the close up of the top, complete with my awesome celestial coasters from Anthropologie. I'm glad I went with white. A fun top to the table would definitely have overpowered my coaster and lamp. Now they pop!

Here's a reminder of the before and after.

I think they came a long way, don't you?

I'm linking up here!


  1. I hope I will be brave to do a project like this when I move. :-)

    1. If I can do it, you can do it! I just had to force myself to go buy the stuff so I would actually do it.

  2. LOVE it!!! Much nicer than the screaming faces ;)

    1. Thank you! I laughed so hard when I saw your comment before because I really hadn't seen the faces and then they were all I could see! I kept seeing little ET heads floating around and ET always used to give me nightmares.

  3. You did a great job!! They turned out beautiful!

  4. Very neat, good as new! I really like the size of that side table, and those legs--vintage.

    1. oooh, yes - vintage! I like the way you think! The size is perfect for my living space right now.

  5. This is definitely a piece that needed a makeover! Great job! Thank you so much for Linking up to Fluster's Creative Muster Party!

    Fluster Buster

  6. This looks great! Love the makeover. :)

  7. Much better. You did a great job!


Thanks for visiting! I really appreciate your feedback.