Drab to Fab Vintage End Tables

9 Materials
4 Weeks

It's all about the journey, Not the outcome? Well, if these Drab to Fab vintage end tables could talk, they would tell some tales. Disappoint, Frustration, and in the end Happiness. I'll explain to you the lessons I learned and what to do instead of what I did.

Lesson #1 Strip first not sand first veneer

What I should have done but didn't do until the second table was to strip the top. I wanted to stain the tops, but in sanding, I went too far and these were veneer so I had to paint them. (that's the frustration part) Here is what I ended up doing with the second table.

so much easier to take 15 minutes to let some stripper sit and do it's work.

Here is a picture of some of the supplies I used when stripping the layers off of the top of the end tables.

I wanted these tables to be different but similar. So both tops were painted black and then some sections were stained.

The lady who I was redoing these for purchased one of my previous end tables that I refinished and she wanted them to match. I haven't seen them in person, but she said that the color work well together. I choose Aged Bourbon by Zar, because looking at the picture I had and the color it was very similar. Here is the piece she purchased and below is a picture of the stain I purchased.

Lesson Don't try to paint in the humidity

SMH.. multiple times and lots of frustration. Just don't do it.. the paint would not settle right. So I brought them inside to get the finish right.

Lesson #3 Give yourself Grace

As much as I love refinishing/ rehabbing, these were a challenge and I think it's because they weren't mine and I wanted them perfect for her. I usually take my time and work on them as I feel it. They took me a month of working on them off and on. What I learned also was the after the first coat it takes about 4 hours for the paint to dry. Like I said lots of lessons along my journey with these tables.

Did they turn out as I expected or as she expected? They turned out better. I took my time, I quit getting mad and looked at things differently and that made all the difference.

As she said.. I can't believe these are my tables!!!!

Another lesson I learned? That right now, I don't have the time or the patience to work on someone else's furniture. I have a new dog, which means lots and lots of training and walks and for now. I believe that I have to put in the time with him while the weather is nice. As I have mentioned. Prep is key and right now with him we are in the Prep Phase

Hmm once again, my dog is my inspiration for painting furniture :) He's aged bourbon and coal black, right?

Thank you all for reading this and I wish all of you love and happiness on your creative journey.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • John Stubblefield
    on Aug 23, 2020

    Those look great!

    Did you use stripper, and/or sand the areas where you used the mineral paint?

    Thank you,


  • Linda Childress Garrett
    on Aug 29, 2020

    Thanks for posting this project. I have a table like the closed one on the left and have wanted to update it for years. I love what you did! I've already started prepping the table to get it ready to paint. Since this is just for me, I'm not going to strip or paint the sides; I'll just paint the parts that you have painted black. My table is in acceptable condition to leave the stained wood as is.

    Question: how did you clean the brass handles? Mine are pretty tarnished.

    Thanks again .

    Linda G.

    • Jenn
      on Sep 12, 2020

      You can use Brasso. I purchased at Lowe’s. Has a strong odor but works fabulous!

  • Gorgeous, the tables and your new pup. You didn't call him Bourbon did you? I would have been tempted.

Join the conversation

2 of 14 comments
  • Ann
    on Sep 15, 2020

    Well done. They look terrific. Appreciate you sharing your journey.

  • Rocker chick
    10 minutes ago

    Stunning! The colors do go well together!

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