Jim Cox
Jim Cox
  • Tutorial Team
  • Springfield, MO

Oak Side Table Makeover

6 Materials
$28
4 Hours
Easy

Giving an old oak table some modern color for an office environment

oak side table makeover

Here's an oak table from a friend's office. Sorry I don't have an in-place before shot. I took the glass out and brought it home to paint

oak side table makeover

I used a block sander and 320 grit for the flat surfaces, and green Scotchbrite for the curves and recessed areas.

oak side table makeover

Here you can see most of the shine is gone. Still a bit of work to do.

Not the good primer
Not the good primer

I originally primed it with a quality Krylon spray, but being oak ( I really don't like oak) tons of the woodgrain came right through. I went back over with a fill and sand primer to get rid of more of the grain. You can see it has already been applied inside the glass tray edges, and a trace coat on the bottom shelf. The second primer isn't as shiny

After the fill in primer and latex
After the fill in primer and latex

Here it is after a better primer, and finished off with a coat of 'Dorian Gray' flat latex paint.

oak side table makeover

Another view showing how much of the grain has filled between the 2nd coat of primer and the flat gray latex. If had wanted I could have filled in the seams

Don't overload the sponge with paint
Don't overload the sponge with paint

The existing office has both black and gray accents, so I came up with an idea to 'streak' some black over the gray using flat black enamel paint and a paint sponge. I poured the black onto some newspaper and then brushed out to avoid big globs of paint from my sponge

use very little pressure!
use very little pressure!

I moved the sponge the full length of the project to apply the black contrast evenly

oak side table makeover

I lightly drug a cloth-based paper towel over the black paint to remove any high spots and smooth out what was left

oak side table makeover

Here's the finished look after smoothing out the black

oak side table makeover

While I was at it I played with the idea of matching picture frames...

Apply several light coats vs one heavy coat
Apply several light coats vs one heavy coat

I added several light coats of clear to the table. Take your time or it will bubble up and you'll have to go back several steps and repeat (true story)

The black came out a bit too bold for me...
The black came out a bit too bold for me...

Here's the table with some clearcoat. I'm not completely sold on the look myself, I wanted the 'streaks' to be finer, but don't pass any judgement just yet. Wait til you see it .....

Modern colors are an improvement!
Modern colors are an improvement!

Sitting in the office. The colors work well here. Sure I could do better if I tried again, but I'm happy with the results (and glad to have this out of the garage!).


Comment if you have ideas or techniques to improve the next one

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2 of 18 comments
  • Stephanie Denise Brown-Byrd
    on Apr 10, 2019

    BEAUTIFUL!! Looks great with the furniture.

  • Judy Persohn
    on Apr 11, 2019


    it looks like a solid red oak. For such a table, I would have sanded, and stained or used an oil , preferably tongue oil to bring this back. You put a lot of work into creating your masterpiece.

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