Thrift Store Coffee Table Makeover

9 Materials
4 Hours

A worn looking coffee table gets a big makeover thanks to paint, wax and a beautiful top coat. The details on this one really make it shine.

I scored big upon a visit to my local Salvation Army Thrift Store! Having never been there before I did not know what to expect. I was blown away a the curves and details of this coffee table and knew it needed some cosmetic work but it was simple things that cleaning and sanding could take care of. We cleaned with a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol/water. After scrubbing it and letting it dry, we lightly sanded the entire surface of the piece with 220 grit sandpaper. The surface had a few scratches so we wanted that focal point to be super smooth. After sanding and removing the dust with a microfiber cloth, we taped off the top of the piece with painters tape and craft paper to make sure none of the paint would ruin our fresh sanding on the surface top.

Annie Sloan chalk paint does not need a primer in most cases when using a colored paint. It can be applied directly to the piece and since we opted for French Linen we began by diluting it a little bit with water for our first coat. Lightly sanding in between coats is recommended to smooth out any brushstrokes. We then applied our second coat and checked all the grooves carefully to make sure we found our way around the edges.

Next, we removed the blue tape and craft paper and used General Finishes in Walnut to stain the beautiful veneer. We used a foam brush and lightly sanded in between coats. We ended up doing two coats of stain, letting them dry thoroughly in between each one. Once that was dry, we used used General Finishes Top Coat in Flat to seal the surface. We used a foam brush again for that, lightly sanding in between coats with 500 grit sandpaper. We applied three coats this time. After the top was dry, we clear waxed the body of the coffee table in Annie Sloan clear wax using a wax brush. When using the clear wax, it is important to wipe off the excess. We did this with a shop towel (you can also use a white cotton undershirt torn into squares) and then went back and used a small wax brush in dark wax to get into the grooves to add some depth and contrast. The clear wax undercoat allows for better control of the dark wax and if you happen to use too much dark, you can use some clear to remove it. After letting it dry overnight, we buffed to a sheen.

Here is the finished coffee table. We added hardware that matched the table top. Didn't it turn out so cute?

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Cheryl Gloe
    on Nov 27, 2019

    Sorry f I missed it, but it appears the table has been sprayed with something, judging from the overspray on the cans, your spray booth etc. Did you prime? Gorgeous BTW!

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