The Perfect Little Table

5 Materials
3 Days
For months I looked for the perfect little table to fit in my front hallway. I wanted something a little industrial, a pretty color and it had to be small (less than 18" length and width) to accommodate the small corner by the front door. The prices were higher than I wanted to pay, and the pieces I liked weren't always small enough. I searched everywhere it seemed, and then one day, while cleaning my back porch I came across a small table that we had been shoving in the corners of storage for years, because it was cute, but, too small to use for any of the purposes we had for it. I think it was in the house when we bought it over thirty years ago, and had been used for a nightstand, a doll stand (when my kids were little), a small table on the back porch to sit things on, etc. It had been spray painted at one point, years ago, and even left out in the weather on the patio, to hold our odds and ends out there. So it was peeling, dirty and I wasn't sure if it would work, but, it was exactly the right size, so I figured - give it a try!
This is how it looked after I finished peeling the paint off it. I hadn't been sure it was salvageable while it had the paint hanging off of it, but, a scrubbing and minor scraping and I had something I suddenly had a vision for. I wish I'd taken an earlier before picture, because it was very forlorn!
Here's another look at it. Some of the old finish was still there, and a little sticky, so out came some Citristrip gel stripper that I had on hand, and my palm sander after it was cleaned up and dry.
After some stripping of the old finish and some sanding to smooth things out, I started painting it a mixture of blue and gray chalk paint I had. Just kept mixing it in a small container until I found a shade I liked. I didn't want the bright blue I had for this, but, didn't want a full gray either. I used Lagoon and Silver Lining Waverly chalk paint from Walmart that I had from another project. I layered it on to get some variation of color as I played with the color I wanted, until I was happy with it. Since I never seem to want exactly the same color twice, this works for me, but, if you want to use the same color on something else, you might want to keep track of the ratios you're mixing so you can duplicate it. I love shades to play off each other, not be matchy. I've found you can also add a darker or lighter latex paint to the chalk paint to darken or lighten the shade. So I try to keep white and dark gray or black latex paint on hand.
I found the little orange cones at the dollar store, 2 for $1 and they were perfect, and surprisingly sturdy! I love these, and am using them for other painting when I need to raise something up. I've also used the cut off ends of wood from my husbands workbench, to lift things up, before, and I've seen those raisers for bed frames used for this purpose, also, so use what you have or keep an eye out for these handy things!

Then I added some wheels I purchased on Amazon, to make it slightly higher and more mobile.
They cost less than $8.
I knew I wanted metal on the top, but, the pieces I had were all too small. So, after pricing them online and not wanting to spend too much more, I went to the craft section of my local Walmart. They had this corrugated metal with a hanger that is for making a sign or message board. It was less than $5 and larger than the 15 x 11 inches I needed! I'll save the leftover for another project.
I traced the outline of the recessed top with a black fine tip marker and started cutting it (think gloves, etc. along with snips). At the halfway point I just couldn't cut anymore, so I asked my husband for ideas. He pulled out a tool that he uses to cut metal and such, and took it outside. He later told me he was amazed I got as far as I did with the snips! This was a heavy gauge.
So here she is - some smoothing of the rough edges (and sharp ones), and it fit like a glove in the small table. So there you have it - using what I had on hand, wheels purchased online and a metal piece from Walmart, I had my table! It has the industrial feel I wanted without going for rusty metal, etc. (I'm not a fan of rust) and it fits perfectly in the soon-to-be finished (I hope) front hallway that I've posted in progress pictures of, previously. Allowing for drying time with scrubbing, stripping and cleaning after sanding, a day of painting and then the final touches, it took slightly less than 3 days. I'll probably put a small hand thrown pot on it or something else that goes with the decor, when I'm ready to decorate in the hallway. If you have any questions, please ask! Hope you liked it!

Suggested materials:

  • Old table   (I had it)
  • 2 colors of chalk paint, leftover   (Walmart)
  • Metal for top   (Walmart)
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Frequently asked questions

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  3 questions
  • Phyllis Phyllis on May 29, 2017
    Could you sit anything on top of it, with the top being wavy?

  • Sco13903253 Sco13903253 on May 29, 2017
    What tool was used to cut the metal?

  • Carol Cook Lucas Carol Cook Lucas on May 29, 2017
    Were you going to put a glass or plexiglass too on it to set things in the table without wobbling?


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3 of 72 comments
  • Itsmemic Itsmemic on Jul 14, 2018

    you can go to the thrift store and pick up a glass front frame for cheap ! Measure the top and start measuring ! You will find some ugly picture with just the right size I promise !

    • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Jul 15, 2018

      Thanks for the suggestion. It's been without a glass cover for months, now, and I have a pot of dried flowers sitting on it, and nothing else. It doesn't collect clutter like every other surface, and when I do sit keys on it, or something like that, they stay put. So, I'm going to leave it as is for now and enjoy the simplicity of it.

  • Diane Diane on Sep 29, 2018

    As more of an accent piece, the wavy top should be fine, & is unique. For an end table, or something where you might be setting beverages, etc. the glass top would be useful.