My $24 Coffee Table Makeover

16 Jun

This coffee table has been on the docket for a makeover for….let’s just say, awhile. I had a chance to tackle the re-do while the l’il guy was at Summer Camp last week.

Here’s a before shot of what I started with:


I picked up the coffee table at my local Salvation Army for $24. It’s a solid wood piece, but wasn’t in great shape – lots of scrapes and scratches, marker stains on top, and generally well-worn.

And after:


Here’s the step-by-step process I followed, which spanned several days:

First, I cleaned the table thoroughly with TSP and let it dry.

Then I used Kilz Complete Primer to prepare the table for painting. I forgot to put a drop cloth down so I spray painted the grass. Oops.


If you follow my blog, you know how much I love primer. I never tire of the fresh canvas – something about it fuels my creativity.

After priming, I sanded the table lightly with 220 grit sandpaper to achieve a smooth, paintable surface. I chose Winter Gray by Rustoleum for the base using 2 1/2 cans of spray paint.

After letting the paint dry overnight, I sanded the surface lightly with 320 grit sandpaper, and then I went about distressing the piece.

Distressing oil paint by hand is really h-a-r-d. Chalk paint is much easier to distress, but I wanted to use spray paint for this project to achieve a more durable finish, since the table is subject to hours of lego-building and game playing.

I applied pressure in areas that would incur natural wear over time. I applied Valspar Antiquing glaze using this technique to highlight the distressed areas and all the little dings and scratches.

Finally, I applied paste wax in order to provide some protection and a nice satin sheen.

SC Johnson Wax

Since this piece is heavily distressed, if it acquires a few more dings here and there, it will just add to the table’s character.

It was a lot of work, but I’m really happy with the finished piece. Here are some of my favorite close-up shots of the detail:


I’ve got quite a few household projects I’m tackling Around My Home this summer, so stay tuned for more DIY tutorials!


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