Occasional Table Makeover

7 Materials
5 Hours

I found a cute little wood table on marketplace for $5 and scooped it up. It was pretty beat up and drab so I gave it a makeover.


I was hoping the top was solid wood so I could sand and re-stain it, but once I picked it up I could see it had a top layer of veneer because it was cracked around the edges. Ugh.


I tried my best to remove the veneer, but it was much harder than I expected! I tried a heat gun, I tried the wet towel trick, I tried a hammer and putty knife…it was not coming off in the center! So I decided to give up on that idea and paint the top instead. 

I sanded it down, using an orbital sander and 80 grit paper, so the ridges on the veneer would smooth out. Afterwards I sanded it again with 120 grit for a nice smooth finish. I gave the legs a light sanding by hand, using a sanding block.


The table was wobbly, so I replaced the brittle and cracked brackets with metal L brackets for sturdiness.

Replaced brackets

I cleaned the table with TSP and painted it with blue mineral paint, two coats. Even though it’s blue, it really looks more on the green side to me. It’s a beautiful shade that I’d never tried before.


For some reason, after I painted it, I totally lost motivation and this table sat in the middle of our kitchen all summer!!!! It happens. I’m not proud.

But alas, I decided it was time to finish this project (or throw it to the curb, which I would never do), so I dug deep and took it across the finish line. Because the top was painted the same as the base, it really wasn’t speaking to me. Boring. I had a furniture redesign transfer that I had bought for another project and never used, so I decided to use that on the table top to give it some visual interest. The transfer was divided into six pieces, I laid them out on the floor, measured the table top, and chose the four pieces I wanted to use.

Redesign transfer

I started on one corner and cut off the excess (my table wasn’t as wide as the two transfer pieces side-by-side). If you haven’t done a transfer before, they’re pretty straight forward. You remove the backing a bit at a time, rub, rub, rub the design onto the furniture until it sticks on and nothing is left on the plastic coating. They’re a pretty great invention for those of us lacking artistic talent, in my opinion! 

First piece
Second piece
Third piece

I few spots on the edges of the table had transfer material stuck to it, so I scraped it off with my thumb nail and used a little precision brush and painted over with the original paint colour for a nice crisp edge.

Sloppy edges

The next day I sealed everything with Fusion wipe-on poly, applied with a damp rag. I forgot that fusion wipe-on poly is not recommended for darker colours, but fortunately it didn’t end up streaky (likely due to the lighter colours in the design transfer)! I’ve made that horrible mistake before and can’t believe I forgot! But "all’s well that ends well," as they say.

And after this table invading our kitchen space all summer…it’s finally done!  

I think it turned out pretty cute, the design transfer gave it the little edge it needed. What do you think?

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Frequently asked questions

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  2 questions
  • Linda Linda on Oct 19, 2021

    Love It! It's just beautiful!

  • Elaine Elaine on Oct 19, 2021

    Did you give it a final coat of something to protect it?


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3 of 38 comments
  • Dda28102354 Dda28102354 on Nov 06, 2021

    I love what you’ve done with your table. Very artsy!! Good idea using the transfers. I’ve had a table similar to yours since my grandparents gave it to me in the 1980’s. I’ve always used decorative table covers on it. The veneer is cracked and pieces are chipped off.

    My parents had gone on to their Heavenly home 5 yrs ago. They left their home to me. Unfortunately my health has deterred somewhat thru these last 3 yrs. I would love to have someone do this to my table. I don’t have one style, I luv all different styles put together. Like hodgepodge!! I luv pinks, yellows, sage greens, corals, creams, and etc. Lol, I could go on, but I’d better stop. Time to get my sweet l’il Cookie(my Yorkie) her lunch. She definitely makes a wonderful, caring, and lovable companion. Lol, she can also be a funny l’il turd!!!

    Have a good day!♥️

    • Valerie Burge Valerie Burge on Nov 06, 2021

      Thank you! I'm like you, I don't have any one style. I like many, many styles! I guess that's the definition of "eclectic style." :) Maybe you can find someone with a sander to sand down the top of your table. Painting, and the design transfer, are pretty easy and not too taxing on the body. I flipped mine upside down on the counter to paint, so easy on the back and joints. For the transfer, I sat on a garage rolling seat. Again, so easy on the joints. I hope you find a way. I really enjoyed reading your comment. I hope you and Cookie are having a lovely evening. (ps I had a cat named cookie once. :)) Peace and love to you. ❤️

  • Jacx Jacx on Nov 06, 2021

    It is really charming!