Asked on Feb 09, 2014

I hate my marble tables, they are outdated. What to do?

Barbara R
by Barbara R
I have 3 of these, this round one and 2 square end tables. They all have marble tops and fruitwood colored wood. They are outdated and need updating. I don't like chalk paint and making them look older by antiquing them, I want a modern look. Can I paint the marble (glass would not work)? Paint the wood? My walls are Sage green, same color as the carpet that you see. Sectional is deep burgundy, lace and sheer drapes. H*E*L*P!
  69 answers
  • Ann S Ann S on Feb 09, 2014
    I love them the way they are! Gorgeous! Maybe just re-stain them more a cherry wood color!
  • Jmarie813 Jmarie813 on Feb 09, 2014
    ...well,..if you won't send them to me,..why not just make the wood darker? You could even paint them dark.( I really hate ;'chalk paint' too..,-Yuck..) I saw some painted charcoal grey-almost black.I'm not a fan of 'black' either,but these were satin and the marble blended perfectl and really stood out-Don't know what thwey used to bring back the shine though.... people on here always find a way to not only make things work-but to take center stage! Can't wait to see what you do. :0)
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    • Nancy Hatcher Nancy Hatcher on Feb 09, 2014
      @Barbara Rodgers Thank you, thank you, thank you! I really dislike most all the projects that use chalk paint! To me they look old and dirty! It's especially sad when they take antiques and ruin them!
  • Margie Anderson Margie Anderson on Feb 09, 2014
    I think it's gorgeous. Would love to have a table like that.
  • Jan Jan on Feb 09, 2014
    Cover it! Get some foam and material and make it an ottoman! The top of the end tables could be covered with pennies or pebbles and sealed???
  • Suzette Trimmer Suzette Trimmer on Feb 09, 2014
    Though in your eye see's old and out dated I see drop dead beautiful pieces of furniture.Which goes with the old saying "beatuy is in the eye of the beholder." So with this said lets get down to work fixing up this wood. I would consider painting the wood, update by coloring with cool awesome hip bright color. Do NOT repeat do Not touch the marble, unless it is to clean or buff up it's luster. Should you decide to keep with traditional wood finish , then I would recommend sanding the wood down and staining to the color preference to match other wood tones you already have or go off the reservation all together and create your own color tone for the wood. When I have important wood projects I personally always touch base with one of the best wood workers on this site his name is Mr. Alan Korb up in New Hampshire and he has yet to ever steer me wrong. Give him a shoot out here or his site, which I think(?) is Tuff Tables, or I usually find him on his Facebook page. But if these were mine I would cherish the marble and re-do the wood into a fine warm cherry or an awesome black lacquer look.But that is just me. Good Luck I am sure you will get many other better suggestions.
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    • Suzette Trimmer Suzette Trimmer on Feb 11, 2014
      @Barbara Rodgers I wanted to make sure if you do intend to look that expert up his site is TUFF TABLES not tough as you mentioned. just saying. And he is in New Hampshire. Good Luck,.
  • Joanie Baker Joanie Baker on Feb 09, 2014
    Since the wood is already somewhat light toned, I would sand it some to get the sheen off. I am thinking a mahogany stain with a sealer, medium sheen, rubbed in, would look nice with your room. Or maybe a shiny, oiled based paint in a creamy off-white, would look more modern. Good luck.
  • Frankieh Frankieh on Feb 09, 2014
    I would paint the wood the same color as the marble. This would be perfect in my opinion. If you want to match the lace curtains, and pull this look all together, put a big round lace piece in the center over the marble. Finish with a cut crystal bowl of burgundy roses and lots of greenery.
  • Barbara R Barbara R on Feb 09, 2014
    I have a 1970s wood rocking chair sitting close by, too, and thought about making it the same as I do the tables. I like the off-white paint thought if I don't darken it with stain...I'm leaning towards the paint so I can do the rocking chair, too. Do you think the light marble would look better with light paint, should I try to match it? Thank you!
  • Kara Spurlock Kara Spurlock on Feb 09, 2014
    I really love the tables and if you want a more modern look why not a high gloss black like in the pic...
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    • Kara Spurlock Kara Spurlock on Feb 09, 2014
      More like step by step than tutorial... But I cut and pasted from the source...Porta Verde Studio Canada @Colleen S The first thing I did was lightly sand the original finish to take off the gloss and any bumps. Then I primed it with a oil based sealer. Then I sanded with 220/320 grit sandpaper. Then I brushed on 3 coats of oil based black satin paint and let it dry enough to sand in between each coat. I sanded with 220 until the paint was flat and then went over it with 320 grit. After that, I used a satin oil poly and clear coated the entire piece with oil based polyurethane. Make sure you use good quality brushes meant for oil paint. Oil levels much better than latex so the brush marks will flatten out. You also need to thin the paint/poly by about 10%. Good luck!
  • Carole Alden Carole Alden on Feb 09, 2014
    They don't look modern to you because most of use can't afford marble and cherry wood anymore. If your just tired of them, put them in your guest room and look rich.
    • Barbara R Barbara R on Feb 09, 2014
      @Carole Alden Lol, I guess they are or were expensive, they belonged to my step mother who passed away 10 years ago at the age of 80. I loved the 70s, but not the furniture...thanks!
  • Margie Anderson Margie Anderson on Feb 09, 2014
    @ Barbara Rogers We have one marble-top table that was made from an old soda fountain top at a store my boyfriend's aunt & uncle owned. Have you thought of just painted the wood & leaving the marble alone. Perhaps you could pick out a color from the marble.
    • Barbara R Barbara R on Feb 09, 2014
      @Margie Anderson I think that's where I'm heading now...thank you Margie!
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 09, 2014
    Actually, I was going to look for the black buffet that Kara Spurlock posted! I LOVE this classy look. And with the cross bars on your table, this would bring it to an entirely different level! I would leave the marble unless it is something that you hate. You could look into black granite. Some of these granite places have scraps where they cut out for sinks, etc. so you may can get a deal. And when you have finished with the piece, the marble may be perfect! Post completed photos.
    • Bernice H Bernice H on Feb 09, 2014
      @Jeanette S I agree Jeanette..I just drool over the black buffet, one of the best finishes I have seen. If Barbara has the nerve, they will be stunning! I remember learning a long time ago, add something black to a room and it adds class instantly!
  • Michelle Michelle on Feb 09, 2014
    It is a pretty table. But, if you must change it, I love the ottoman idea.
  • Cindy Cindy on Feb 09, 2014
    The table is beautiful the way it is but if you really hate it you could paint the wood but I sure would not touch the marble...maybe you could sell them for a good price and get something you would love.
  • Shari Shari on Feb 09, 2014
    To start with, I would only paint or stain the wood parts, not the marble. What colors are in the marble? If you use paint, i would recommend black. You might also consider a rich deep chocolately brown (if the marble has brown-tones), or a pewter/charcoal gray (if the marble has any gray tones). A light beige or off-white could be pretty too (again, depending on the colors in the marble) but I don't think a light color is going to be as dramatic and modern looking as a dark one. For stains, I would also recommend something dark such as ebony, or jacobean shade. In my humble opinion, cherry or mahogany is going to look less modern and more "grandma," which is okay but you said, "I want a modern look." (See examples below--black looks much more current and "now.")
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    • Bernice H Bernice H on Feb 10, 2014
      @Barbara Rodgers black goes with EVERYTHING! We know this from clothing!You have enough of other features I don't think it will be over whelming, and you can always beef up the accessories so the black recedes just enough. sooo classy, so elegant! And you MUST share with us what you do.
  • MM&D MM&D on Feb 09, 2014
    I do like Shari's example as well as Kara's. I don't know about matching your living room but if there's a lot of grey in that marble, the wood might look beautiful painted a grey with some distressing.
    • Barbara R Barbara R on Feb 09, 2014
      @Me Myself & DIY Hi! there is only brown streaks in the marble that match the present wood, I'd love it if it had grey, then the black would be gorgeous. I'm not worried about matching the marble, considering the black now. Oh! I'm getting confused now lol...Thanks!
  • Judy Adams Judy Adams on Feb 09, 2014
    Please don't use latex stain on this beauty it will make to wood look dead , MInwax is a perfect oil based stain the brings to wood to life, a nice cherry stain would be a good color . Also maybe cover the marble with a faux material like leather an antique it to look aged. Good luck
  • Carole Carole on Feb 09, 2014
    Have you thought about selling them and buying something more modern if they are no longer to your taste? Just trying to think outside the box for a moment. If you want to keep them and update them, are you able to remove the marble without damaging the table (if it is genuine marble it is worth a bit of money) and perhaps replace the marble with clear or smoked glass and paint the wood? The marble could be sold or used for something else?
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    • Carole Carole on Feb 09, 2014
      @Barbara Rodgers Good luck with it, I hope you find a good solution to the update!
  • Barbara R Barbara R on Feb 09, 2014
    I'll post some pics when I'm done! Thanks to ALL!! You inspired me to get to work now lol <3
  • Jmarie813 Jmarie813 on Feb 09, 2014
    I know... :0/ ... things were actually extremely well made then-with "REAL" wood..not this veneer junk-and the finish is water based and scrapes of with your nail! Chalk paint is crap-and looks even worse..'distressed' is right! POOR FURNITURE!!! Satin paint looks nice and I have good quality french provincial furniture that's a weird yellow shade,so I planned to strip and stain,but gosh .. the work involved.. I may just paint it too...have been trying to decide on a color for two years,though.. there will be some new fad soon.. :0) Can't wait to see what you decide!!!
  • Shari Shari on Feb 09, 2014
    @Barbara Rodgers Just FYI, here's the original link for the gorgeous black dresser Kara Spurlock posted up above: Whatever makeover technique and look you decide on, I hope you will post pictures of your tables when you get them finished!
  • Cathy C Cathy C on Feb 10, 2014
    you could sell the tables to someone who appreciates their quality as is and instead of buying new, use the money to buy something thrift that you can fix up the way you want
  • Kat Kat on Feb 10, 2014
    if ya hate em sell them and buy cheap modern ones !do not mess with classic timeless beauty such as these !
    • Barbara R Barbara R on Dec 30, 2014
      @Kat I have tried to sell them again, again with no luck at all. Used furniture goes super cheap where I live at resale stores, nobody wants to pay over $5 each for the 3 tables. And what is available for sale here looks really bad so far (almost a year since I've been looking. I guess paint is my only option, but now that it's winter, I won't bring that into the house with the smells. Thanks!
  • Cynthia E Cynthia E on Feb 10, 2014
    I would sell the marble if you dislike it and use the money to have glass cut for the tables..
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    • Cynthia E Cynthia E on Dec 30, 2014
      @Barbara R you might could get some clear spacers that you could place around to make up the thickness :)
  • SusZanne SusZanne on Feb 10, 2014
    perhaps applying some bronze or copper leaf to the marble, gold leaf might be too much but you could explore that idea with painting the wood.
  • Alexandra Maas Alexandra Maas on Feb 11, 2014
    sell them to a lover of tables-with-marble, and by something new.
  • Alexandra Maas Alexandra Maas on Feb 11, 2014
    please don't ruin them in bordello style...
  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Feb 11, 2014
    Love the metallic paint my new obsession.I would not touch the marble and paint the wood a green or silver metallic paint.martha Stewart has a great selection
  • 117135 117135 on Feb 11, 2014
    Paint to wood with Modern Masters pearl black. It's a beautiful color that will give you the modern look you want. This paint glides on and is easy to use.
  • Pat Griffith Pat Griffith on Feb 11, 2014
    get a piece of plywood cut to size and replace the marble top - you can then decoupage the top and/or paint the piece.
  • Paula Driesell Paula Driesell on Feb 11, 2014
    I agree with DeDe above. Use the Modern Masters Pearl Black. Very pretty.
  • Janet Dubinski Janet Dubinski on Feb 11, 2014
    I understand wanting a change - more modern; but, they really are quite nice. Just don't do anything you're going to regret!
  • IrishScrapper IrishScrapper on Feb 11, 2014
    You could put a thin set coat of cement (prepare all surfaces first) sand and seal however you like. Remember you can add tint to cement if desired.
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Feb 11, 2014
    If you hate them, send them to me. They are beautiful as they are. If you need a change, change something else in the room.
    • Barbara R Barbara R on Mar 17, 2014
      @Liliana Wells I just changed my sofa to a 4-sectional modern (burgundy) with some gilt-edged throw pillows. I'd send them to you if I could! Thanks.
  • Z Z on Feb 11, 2014
    I didn't read all the comments but yours @Barbara and I realize your thinking of keeping the marble as is and just changing the wood. Though I love marble and like them as they are if you find even after painting or staining the wood you're still not happy, why not decoupage a map or something else you find interesting on the marble tops? Mod Podge can be removed without damaging the marble if later on you want to change them once again. They have a variety of Mod Podge products even one made for furniture called hard coat in a satin finish.
  • Mags Mags on Feb 11, 2014
    Hello Barbara ...... Your tables are quite nice. If and when you purchase case should purchase timeless pieces...such as yours. You seems to want change maybe try this. Purchase a piece of glass (2-4"larger -- Hobby Lobby/Pier 1) this will change the appearance. Then Place new different items on your tables. Books, candles, crystal box or dish or a large bowl of white orchids. This would go with your room. I believe if anything is dating your room, you mention lace & sheer curtains...maybe they are the one items that's needs changing .... Something more modern. Good luck with your decision making and re-post new photos.
  • Elizabeth Elizabeth on Feb 11, 2014
    I completely agree with painting them a classic black and keeping the marble. The accessories that you use on the table can dictate your true style of modern !!!!
  • Dee Dee on Feb 11, 2014
    Those tables are beautiful. You can clean and re-stain them or maybe paint them oiled rubbed bronze. Do not try to do anything to the marble. I'll take them if you don't want them LOL
  • Carol Tomlin Carol Tomlin on Feb 11, 2014
    I agree with Mags that it's time to update the curtains. You will be happy you did. Use black decorative rods. Then tie this in to the tables. Use black satin paint on the top of the table around the marble and on the side rectangular panels. Freshen up the wooden legs with a wipe on wipe off product. It works great. Freshen the bottom shelf or sand & use the black satin, If you want, try glass knobs on the rectangular panels or leave them plain. Or if there are any drawers on those square tables use the black satin and the new glass knobs. I tried this idea on an entire bedroom set and the results blew me away! Get rid of any ruffled pillows and replace with cleaner line pillows. You might even look for an old Singer sewing table with wrought iron base and add some where in the room as a small desk. Time less. There are many good suggestions here. Have a good time with this you will love whatever makeover you choose and save a lot of money, too like I did.
    • Barbara R Barbara R on Mar 17, 2014
      @Carol Tomlin I just bought a Singer Sewing Machine base with a wood top (no machine)...are you psychic? lol WOW! (Got it for $20 off Facebook ad), what a deal! I have plants on it. Thank yu!!
  • Rachelle D Rachelle D on Feb 11, 2014
    Keep the marble but remove it temporarily, or if you can't take it out tape it off really well. Sand the wood and use a black gel stain to highlight the black veins in the marble. Finish the wood with a clear, matte, poly. Using buffing compound on the marble to polish out any scratches and then use turtle wax to finish... and voila!! Sleek modern!!
    • Barbara R Barbara R on Mar 17, 2014
      @Rachelle D I would love to darken the veins in this marble, YES! I didn't know I could do this. Thank you SO much!
  • Carol Tomlin Carol Tomlin on Feb 11, 2014
    Rachelle, I love your ideas to freshen the marble tables.
  • Susan Sheffield Susan Sheffield on Feb 12, 2014
    I would not paint these beautiful tables. I think a dark stain would be a great option. As for the top, I recently did a desk makeover by having a piece of glass cut to size and bought a coordinating wrapping paper at Hobby Lobby and cut it to fit under the glass. This is a quick and easy face-lift that isn't permanent so that you can go back to the marble or interchange the paper according to your décor change in the future. Good luck on your lovely tables.
  • Twila Palmatier Twila Palmatier on Feb 16, 2014
    I think Susan Sheffield has the best answer. Clean up and redo the wood but DO NOT paint it! Then follow Susan's idea for the top (quick, simple, inexpensive). From what I can see in the photo it looks like you need something that will "POP" the room. Maybe use a paper that has large, bright flowers on it with just a hint of the sage on the leaves or elsewhere to tie it all together.
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Mar 17, 2014
    Please post pictures of your new furniture. It sounds beautiful.
  • Kimberly Noelle Kimberly Noelle on Mar 17, 2014
    I found a square type version of this at the Goodwill and kept the marble buy painted the wood a beautiful blue and chipped the paint because I like a rustic look but I would definitely keep the marble and update it with paint, it will look fabulous.
  • Linda Dorn Linda Dorn on Mar 17, 2014
    I would keep the marble and paint the wood black to make the table elegant and the marble pop.
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    • Barbara R Barbara R on Mar 26, 2014
      @Linda Dorn I love this one, I think this is my number #1 choice...looking at the round one really makes sense. I have a vintage rocking chair across the room from this and it will be black, too. I think it would set off the cream-colored marble top. Thanks!
  • Carol Tomlin Carol Tomlin on Mar 19, 2014
    Awesome ! I'll bet it looks beautiful with plants on it. Sounds like you got a really good deal. I actually inherited mine from my Mom. I designed an entire room around mine. Enjoy,
  • Carol Tomlin Carol Tomlin on Mar 19, 2014
    Love to see the finished tables and room when you're done.
  • Carol Tomlin Carol Tomlin on Mar 19, 2014
    Linda love those black tables ! Kimberly also love the painted table ! Great ideas ! So nice of you to share the photos. Someone needs to show me how to do that. :)
  • Joan @ Nicer Than New Joan @ Nicer Than New on Mar 19, 2014
    I love the idea of painting the wood black or a dark colour that would go with your decor. I recently tried a method for removing stains from marble...
    • Barbara R Barbara R on Mar 26, 2014
      @Joan @ Nicer Than New Joan, that page does not it says. Would have liked to have seen that! Thanks!
  • Barbara R Barbara R on Mar 26, 2014
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.
  • Heidi Heidi on Jul 11, 2014
    Paint them black or white and leave the marble. I have expensive tables just similar and I am painting gray base with white/gray Marble top. Decorate for your room they are going in with just the cost of a primer and paint :)
  • Moxie Moxie on Jul 11, 2014
    I would put something with pattern that I love (like fabric or scarf, trinkets, etc) lay them out the way you want them, put some small flat top cabinet knob hardware in supporting locations, add one of those clear self stick cabinet bumpers on the top and then have a piece of glass made to sit on those. Just an idea. I did this on top of a dresser and put rope lights under the glass in a spiral..but you could put anything under the glass. You can also use the textured type or colored glass
  • Susan Haynes Susan Haynes on Oct 13, 2014
    I say paint the wood a black family color it will make the marble pop!
  • Reta Minnis Reta Minnis on Oct 13, 2014
    Here is a link on how to refinish marble. I have a few ideas on what I would do but it is a matter of your taste.
  • Jeri Shull Jeri Shull on Oct 13, 2014
    I've been seeing metal finishes are very popular right now. Maybe gold metallic (and an antique glaze?) since the marble colors would relate to the gold. It's not a huge departure from the original color but a modern update.
  • Jan Riley Jan Riley on Oct 20, 2014
    I would paint them a color that is in the marble.
  • Judy Adams Judy Adams on Oct 21, 2014
    I say put that beautiful quality furniture away in the garage and go to the Good Will and find a piece of junk to paint, so you wont ruin that gorgeous marble furniture. When you are tired of the painted junk then get the real furniture back in the house .I wish i had something that nice and as much quality as that Italian Provincial.
  • Sherry Mason Sherry Mason on Oct 21, 2014
    Not everyone cares for wood furniture. Painting or not is a PERSONAL decision. I would paint the wood a color in the marble as Jan suggested. Wood is not only good.
  • Rebecca Rebecca on Oct 21, 2014
    I have a similar table that I padded and topped in a fun fabric, finished with a large round metal tray I found for a few bucks at an estate sale. I didn't want to destroy the top/table but just needed a change. My marble inset came out, (weight of the stone was enough to hold fabric in place), with a little prying and no damage to the top for when I'm ready to uncover or swap fabric. Just a thought...
    • Dee Dee on Sep 01, 2015
      @Rebecca This is my kind of idea! Love it. I have a table that was tossed in a dumpster, along with the glass, which slipped & broke when I was rescuing. I have painted and put a light plywood insert which I covered w/decoupaged stamps. I like it.
  • Debbie McGarrity Debbie McGarrity on Jul 13, 2015
    No keep the marble cover protect and either metalic spray or paint in a metal copper gold bronze
  • Belinda Van Houten Belinda Van Houten on Sep 02, 2015
    These tables sell for a high price at antique flea markets....sell the table and buy a cheaper one to paint...marble tables are a classic that dont lose their value.
  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 02, 2023

    Hope you have made your decision by now. Was it Save or Sell?

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 02, 2023

    If you had a cover (sort of like a big shower cap but for the table) you could change out the pattern or color of that cover.

  • Janice Janice on Sep 05, 2023

    Decide what you dislike about the tables....the marble or the frame. You can change up either one or both. Marble could be painted or treated to look different as has been mentioned. If the color has worked well with your decor, I'd just change the wood part by selecting a metallic spray paint that complements the marble and paint the wood portion. There's a rose gold now being marketed by Rustoleum that might be beautiful.

  • Dee Dee on Sep 05, 2023

    I love those tables. If you want to update, get a nice dark stain from General Finishes. My first choice of stain. They also sell a top coating that is just about "bullet proof".

  • Deb K Deb K on Oct 06, 2023

    Hello, you can paint both! It's all personal choice, you could even get a piece of glass cut to cover the marble w=once it's painted.