Refurbished Coffee Table

3 Materials
4 Hours

What better housewarming present than a much-needed coffee table crafted by your mom. Am I right?

My son moved out this year and it was bittersweet. For one, I’m thinking, “Yay! I finally get to clean out his room and turn it into my office!” On the other hand, I miss him. :’-(

So far, his bachelor pad has been furnished with hand-me-downs. My parents, which are avid auctioners (not to confuse with auctioneers), have a garage full of furniture they’ve bought. Besides giving him a couch, chairs and other necessities, they’ve also given him a coffee table. This coffee table is kind of dated but beggars can’t be choosers, right? It was an ornamental iron table with a glass top. (It looks like something from the 90s, I’m guessing.) He didn’t like the color so he brought it over for me to repaint.

When I finally saw it, I thought, “I can do so much more than just repaint it.” I asked his permission if I could add wood to the top to give it a more masculine feel. (I mean, this IS for his bachelor pad.) After he gave me the go-ahead, I began the project.

As you can see in the second photo, I painted it off-white with Krylon spray chalk paint. Then, I cut a piece of plywood to fit on top.

On top of the plywood, I was going to lay strips of pre-cut poplar, but first I had to stain the pieces with Minwax dark walnut. After that, I laid the pieces across the top to see how it was going to look.

We bring it over to the barn to work on. The barn, with a wood burning stove. A wood burning stove, because it’s in the 20s outside. Keep in mind that I’ve had this table sitting in the garage since the end of summer. We’ve had all this time to work on it but, oh no, we wait until the coldest day of the year (thus far). Anyhoo, we decide that since the table will have glass on top of it, there’s really no need in nailing the pieces of wood down. We opted just to glue it. (This will make sense to you later.) So, we found the center and started working our way out. Since we could only find four of our clamps, we would glue two pieces of wood, clamp it down, then wait for the glue to dry. (We didn’t mind the wait because while we were waiting, we were warming up by the stove.)

We continued gluing and clamping and warming until all of the pieces were on the table except for two slats at each end. This is where my husband used the pre-drilled holes to screw the plywood to the iron table.

I noticed after we had attached the slats to the plywood, the wood was bowing up in the center. This is when my hubby drilled two holes on the underneath side of the table and attached the plywood to the iron table.

Once the rest of the pieces were put on, the next step was the trim. I wanted the trim to stick up even with the glass that was to sit on top.

We used a nail gun to attach the trim to the plywood.

After it was finished, we moved it over to the house so we could present it to my son for Christmas the next day. (I work best under pressure.)

Okay. So it didn’t turn out as masculine as I had thought. Still, my son saw it as a huge improvement from how it started. And remember, beggars can’t be choosers. **wink, wink**

Resources for this project:

See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info

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

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  1 question
  • Ginni Pereira Ginni Pereira on Mar 24, 2018

    It's beautiful. What kind of varnish was used to seal it?


Join the conversation

2 of 122 comments
  • Nana Nana on Dec 26, 2020

    To me, it looks more like a wrought-iron table from the '50s or earlier. I had an uncle that lived in Tampa, Fla., and had a wrought-iron shop. There are many beautiful examples of this art in and around Tampa. It was fascinating to watch him take the iron from the fire and shape it into intricate designs.

  • Mavis Mavis on Dec 27, 2020

    A Lady from a small town used to come into our big city and show her wronght iron items to someone who would host a 'party' in their apt. or house, and people would place their orders through with the host given a choice of one piece as payment for hosting the party.similar to Tupperware or 'candle' parties held all round in different years.