Furniture Facelift

5 Materials
10 Hours

Hi! I'm Liz a decorating and DIY coach. Here is a project I featured on my blog

This furniture facelift features a pair of second-hand end tables that needed a change. Though they were sturdy and the size was good for what space I hoped to use them in, it was the color that was not so great.

It took me nearly 10 steps in the process of redoing these to get the look I wanted, but truth be told, if I would have planned a wee bit better and knew what I wanted at the start I could have avoided a few steps.

If you have a piece that needs a furniture facelift and you want a similar finished look, I’m going to share what I did and what I wished I didn’t do to hopefully save you a few hours in the process.

These two ‘found’ end tables are constructed of solid pine tops and heavy metal legs. At the time I bought them, I thought they had an interesting shape, sort of reminded me of campaign style furniture. However, I didn’t care for the finishes, the scuffed up dark brown that was currently on the legs nor the dark pine wood finish on the top, which had scuffs and dings in it too.

First thing, after I washed and dried the tables, was to prime the wood.

This is my absolute ‘Go To’ primer! It is latex, so it’s easy clean up. It goes on super smooth, and it adheres better than any other latex primer I’ve ever tried! Perfect for over this varnished wood finish. I love that there is no sanding necessary with this primer! HERE is where you can buy some of this amazing primer for yourself.

After the coat of primer dried, I painted the tables a soft sage green. I don’t even know why I painted them this color, other than I had the paint on hand. Worse yet, I have no idea why I continued and painted not only the whole first table, but went on and painted its companion table as well.

I think I was hoping that when the paint dried it would change into another color.

It didn’t. So my answer, (again, not sure why??!) was to paint a thin coat of black over the top of the green.

That looked downright icky. Maybe it needed to be scuffed up a bit, so I lightly sanded it.


That looked a little more icky than before.

I’m not one to give up easily… Maybe it needed to be brighter colors. I remembered that I had seen something like that a few years ago that I thought was fun.

Sure, let’s see how that looks.

Using some of the small acrylic paints I had on hand, I brushed on blue and green…

too intense of color, I thought…

I squirted on some white and spread that around, (this was starting to feel like a finger painting project from kindergarten). That splotchy look really wasn’t anything I was going for.

That was my issue!

I really didn’t know what ‘look’ I was going for because I didn’t have a clear vision for this furniture facelift. I hadn’t taken the time to really think it out. I’m a seasoned and professional decorator. People pay me to tell them what to do for their decorating. I know better! But there’s this thing when a decorator is their own client… it’s easy to lose site of the correct process. Case in point… I just jumped into this project without visualizing what the room and things in it were calling for.

I can see that now, but at that moment, I hadn’t reflected on what the real issue was, so what did I do?

Just blindly trudge ahead.

If it was too splotchy looking, how about some whitewash? White paint mixed with water and a latex paint conditioner was the next layer to get painted over the splotchy colors.

I did kind of like that look, but the problem was that it wasn’t the look the bedroom needed.

FINALLY, re-evaluating what my finished project needed to look like, I thought about what finish would look good for these two tables to compliment the rest of the space they were planned for… the headboard, duvet, white walls and other features in the room.

My furniture facelift design started over. I found some sweet vintage glass knobs. They were white glass and I (finally) realized the wood on the tables needed to be dark, a little darker than the headboard was, but with a nice weathered, aged look. For the legs, I decided a shiny gold leg would contrast the weathered top nicely.

So, another layer or two of paint would hopefully do the trick! This time the layers would be a black glaze.

I mixed black paint with the latex paint conditioner to achieve a semi-transparent glaze and brushed that over the white finish. At one point, now giddy with my newly formed plan coming to fruition, I nearly dipped my brush in my cup of coffee which was sharing the same cardboard box as I was applying the black glaze!

Yes! This was getting closer to the look I wanted.

Once that first coat of black glaze dried, I repeated another coat of the black paint glaze and decided that was the finish I wanted for this space.

Now to those legs.

As I really started to look at them, I started thinking I hated them, and not just the color, but their shape too. When I found these tables, I thought the legs were interesting, but right about now, they just looked dated and I started to doubt myself again.

It was at this point I set the project aside for a few days to contemplate it.

I decided I really needed to finish the project one way or the other. Once they were totally done I could re-evaluate and make a decision if I liked the furniture facelift tables or just needed to re-list them for sale.

Two of these bottles of metallic paint would be enough to paint the legs.

It took several coats of paint to cover those dark metal legs.

After the 3 or 4 coats of metallic paint was dry, I’m glad to say I started liking the legs again.

Then once the vintage glass knobs were put on the drawers, in place of the dated and boring original hardware, I finally loved how charming and unique these table were looking.

The juxtaposition of the gilded looking legs with the dark rustic worn finish of the top, combined with the simple sweet glass knobs is just right for this eclectic bedroom.

I found a pair of matching vintage metal trays on each nightstand pulling colors from the duvet. The brightly colored striped duvet, with the weathered wood bed sits on a distressed looking rug, ( that I bought HERE super cheap!). Combine it all together and this eclectic combo looks like it’s a plan as it’s woven together with color and texture.

If I would have thought out the plan ahead of time for this furniture facelift project, visualizing what the finished tables needed to look like, I could have saved myself a few steps in the process, but then what would I have to write about, right?!

Stop over to my blog to read more DIY and decorating projects I've worked on.

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Liz at Simple Decorating Tips
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  2 questions
  • Kc Nordquist Kc Nordquist on Apr 14, 2021

    I'm wondering why you didn't sand the table a bit before painting.

  • Debra Stringfellow Debra Stringfellow on Apr 12, 2023

    I don’t understand why you didn’t sand before painting. Also, why not just paint them a nice solid color.

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2 of 8 comments
  • Judith Judith on Apr 05, 2024

    Final project was great but would have went with a different knob.

  • Teresa Teresa on Apr 05, 2024

    Lots is work and paint 😂 to get the colour that you wanted. Glad you love that it matches your room.