Upcycled Coffee Table: Not a Total Win, Not a Complete Fail

So slowly but surely I am finding ways to finish rooms. We tend start them and once they're at least functionable, we seem to stop until it's "necessary" to finish them. Well we bought a sofa for this little back room that we have made "our" (mom and dad's) area for retiring and unwinding in the evening, but it didn't have lighting except for an overhead ceiling light and it lacked a coffee table. Then I found these little numbers...
I fell in love with the lamp and its sweet cape feel in this paneled room. And the vintage table was adorable with it. Having settled on this led me to my project. I had this 15 year old coffee table from Ikea that is big and clunky. It doesn't really match the decor of the table and lamp I bought so I decided to give it a make-over.
I know what many are probably thinking, the knotty plank wood is pretty just the way it is and I hesitated changing it. But after 15 years I was ready to put a new face on it. I used Behr Cottage White in satin as my color. It cleaned up OK but what you don't see in the pictures is that painting in white shows every little flaw in the wood, and in this case, was extensive. I should've taken the time to sand down the first couple of layers of wood with a power sander to really give this a new surface. Mistake number one.
This little brush is one of my favorites! The handle is a soft flexible rubber and is small enough to paint those cubbies without too much trouble. They were a bit of a bear though,it took 3 coats and a lot of table flipping.
Next, in an effort to help this table fit in, I added a little distressing to help vintage-ize it. I'm not big on distressing since it tends to look too deliberate in my opinion, but I did just a touch.
Finally, I gave the whole stucture a liberal coat of poly to seal it all in. I like Minwax products, especially for stain. This is used as a spray and goes on easily.
And here is the finished product! Truthfully, the table is too big for this room, this room is small! And it's a little too clunky to accessorize the much dantier, shabby chic side table, so I'm not sure it's a win. But the cubbies are a huge plus because they allowed me to add color and femininity with the baskets.
Here's a view of the area. And I have to give a nod to one of my favorite Pinterest shares, the layered frame shelving unit. It's a great focal point to the room with a sweet personal touch.
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
Join the conversation
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Mar 12, 2015
    @Sue Limpert that coffee table is a real gem, side table is nice too. You did a great job. Love how it all fits together. I find rooms are best pulled together over several years. Do the main stuff then as you shop the sales you just stumble upon stuff that will really pull your personality into the room and at a fraction of the cost. Really like your family picture shelves - the perfect room for it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Hannah V Hannah V on Mar 13, 2015
    The farthest thing from a fail! Looks great!