Ideas for glass top end tables - with the result

Maggie McArdle
by Maggie McArdle
I got these at my local thrift store. They are super heavy and solid I just am not a fan of the really dark wood. And the glass tops are tinted. I was thinking about painting them, distressing the wood a bit. Then use a reddish brown glaze. Does anyone else have any thoughts?
first table
Second table
final view 1
final view 2
  39 answers
  • Suzette Trimmer Suzette Trimmer on Dec 03, 2014
    What ever you do DO NOT PAINT good wood. it will be a rare item within a generation due to the amount if real wood , being cut down 10X faster then the tress can grow. Then just think about thousands of wildfires & how many trees those took. Embrace the natural wood and sand down or consult on of the best known in the industry, small one man operation His Name is ALAN KORB and own his company think the name is TUFF TABLES . But First do your self and anyone who will inherit these by contacting him first. He may well know worth it or not. better to know then regret right?
  • Liz Liz on Dec 03, 2014
    I doubt seriously these are good wood but it never hurts to check. Even if it is mediocre wood, refinishing might work. If you want to try refinishing, you can take one leg and sand and stain it to see how it comes out. If they are made of wood that is too soft or are coated in plastic, painting will give you a nice finish. I use a chalk paint (homemade) for the first coat or two, sanding in between, then finish with a coat of the same paint without the chalk. Normally, I apply the final coat with a rag to give it an ultra smooth finish. Using this method, you can pick any color or combination of colors you want. Good luck, great find.
  • Nicole MT Nicole MT on Dec 03, 2014
    OK, not to disagree with Suzette, but you have a couple options. You can paint them, but you can also sand them down and restain them in a tone you would prefer better. If you paint them, I recommend a non-oil based paint that can be (relatively) easily removed down the line should you decide you want to return to the natural finish. I have a similar table and have every intention of chalk painting it then sealing it, painting the glass with the mirror spray paint and giving it a mercury glass finish. You have to do what you want to live with (and can afford) - can't wait to see your finished product!
  • Maggie McArdle Maggie McArdle on Dec 03, 2014
    thank you so much for all your feedback! I think I'm going to strip them to see what kind of wood it is. As I looked at them today, it looks like someone added some kind of goldish glaze to them. So after I strip them, and figure out if the wood is worth not painting, then I'm kind of leaning toward the chalk paint/distressing/then glazing. Thanks again for all your help!
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Dec 03, 2014
    You have to do what you feel will suit you best. However, keep a couple of things in mind. Most likely if the pieces are heavy (without the glass inserts) then they are probably solid wood...which can relate to "good wood". But if it is not the color you like, it may not be "good for you"! And having someone restore these might cost more than you are willing to put into an unknown. Keep us posted. .
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Dec 04, 2014
    The finish looks a bit strange to me - as if it had been painted on. I'd strip to see what exactly you're dealing with.
  • Melissa Coutilish Jewell Melissa Coutilish Jewell on Dec 04, 2014
    Chalk Paint,distress then wax...I have tables that have the same queen Ann legs that were My Grandmothers that are fruitwood stained with Carrarra Marble tops,that I'm doing in white to bring them into a more current style & use as a functioning piece of furniture,instead of just sitting in the basement collecting dust..Yes,There are people who believe no reel wood furniture should be painted,But I know My Grandmother would rather Me paint & USE THEM,Then pack away & not think of her daily everytime I see them.Theres tons of images under shabby chic or cottage style decor on Pintrist & google that will show you examples of colors & what the finished product would look like.The awesome thing about Ann Sloan chalk paint is there is NO PREPWORK! No sanding,no priming & the more coats you do,The more intense in depth in the paint gets (I'd do 2 coats) then once you hit the edges where normal wear would be then wax in their colored wax,It looks like a professionally painted surface & is extremely durable!
  • Wanda.ll Wanda.ll on Dec 04, 2014
    Get a product called restore and try it first if you don't mind the color they are. You can find loads of places. Works really good on all kinds of nicks and dings. Easy to use to wipe on leave few minutes and wipe off excess. I use it all the time on my furniture that gets scratches.Comes in all colors of wood goes thru the finish that is now on it without taking the finish off first My antiques dealers use it on everything they have,
  • Cheryl Cheryl on Dec 04, 2014
    I would go with Wanda's advice. It will be a lot of work to strip them with all the ornate features. These are a treasure you need to not paint
  • Pat Nolan Pat Nolan on Dec 04, 2014
    My vote is for stripping, sanding, and choosing a good finish for whatever you find underneath. Lots of work, but worth it if you're going to keep the piece. I'm absolutely not a fan of the current color/finish.
  • Cynthia Britt Cynthia Britt on Dec 04, 2014
    I don't see how you can hurt them. If you don't want to go the stripping route then paint. Word of warning; with all that intricate design you are going to have difficulty stripping, staining, OR painting. Beware. Hopefully you have a sprayer. Sometimes a bargain isn't so much if you don't really like it and changing it up is going to be an act of frustration. Sometimes it is better to walk away. I have bought items at yard sales and then taken them to charity after realizing the cost & effort to make them something I like.
  • Valeria Valeria on Dec 04, 2014
    Annie Sloan Chalkpaint is the answer for this kind of protects ;) no sanding no priming!!:)
  • Chris Knutson Chris Knutson on Dec 04, 2014
    If you love the table itself, take it somewhere to have it dipped then do a french look with Bri liming wax. The glass could have a mercury effect added (lots of DIY) videos on that! This table could be awesome! As far as antique value, it's only valuable to someone looking for EXACTLY that particular piece. You have to live with it so do what YOU want!
  • Bard Judith Bard Judith on Dec 04, 2014
    With that ornate, heavy look, the dark stain makes it really dated. My preference would be to take out the glass and use mirror paint on the back, then spraypaint right over top of everything else with a colour you love. Turquoise, for example, would make it pop, especially with the top in a reflective chrome - then touch up those decorative carvings with dry-brushed silver to match the mirror. Or set in a shallow display box under the glass top, fill it with sand and sea treasures, and use a light blue with ivory dry brush.
  • Sherry Parker Sherry Parker on Dec 04, 2014
    You could cover the glass or replace it with plywood covered with faux leather with nail heads around the edges. I would do a paint finish on the rest rather than try to refinish.
  • Terri Terri on Dec 04, 2014
    from the photo it looks like the details are actually carved and not an applied decorative detail...if so you can strip them but if the decorative detail is applied {they would have used glue to apply it} then you have to be careful when you strip it. I understand the urge to get rid of the dark brown, but I do think you should try to lighten the wood by removing the stain first to see what it looks like - before you commit to a paint. it is unusual to have carved Queen Anne legs on a side or coffee table and the top shape is unique too...good find and good luck!
  • Rebecca Rebecca on Dec 04, 2014
    You could also consider painting the underside of the glass in a color or colors that would complement the tint. What about faux marble in a metallic gold and bronze?
  • Irene Irene on Dec 04, 2014
    I would paint them a mat black and replace the glass with slate. Also try a little antiquing on the carved areas, if black doesn't appeal to you try antique green with the slate.
  • Marge Therio Marge Therio on Dec 04, 2014
    Paint them white then sand gently ...great look that blends with all decor.
  • Gilmer Gal Gilmer Gal on Dec 04, 2014 Look at this site. This was done on a dining room table, but I see no reason why you couldn't use some chalk paint of your fav color (no sanding and you can find DIY chalk paint from lots of sites on Pinterest) and some nail head trim strips. They could look awesome!!! Good luck
  • Maggie McArdle Maggie McArdle on Dec 04, 2014
    can you use chalk paint in a paint sprayer?
  • Mark Mark on Dec 04, 2014
    Take out the glass and replace it with a nice copper panel that has a complimentary patina. I am biased of course.
  • Maggie McArdle Maggie McArdle on Dec 04, 2014
    I like the copper idea!
  • Janice Goff Janice Goff on Dec 04, 2014
    ~ SHADOW BOX ~ Measure Glass top...Find a frame that size...Attach something solid to the frame you've found ie: glass, wood, metal... Attach this frame underneath the table glass...Adjust to fit in what ever way is needed....Fill with your memories or favorites ~
  • Nancy Garrison Nancy Garrison on Dec 04, 2014
    I have these exact tables. They are in pretty good shape minus a few dings. I am not crazy about the dark wood either. I'm really interested in everyone's suggestions. Good luck to you and let us know how it turns out!
  • Lorraine M Lorraine M on Dec 04, 2014
    These must have been really popular back in the day. I have inherited the very same ones, and detest them. Since frugal husband balks at tossing them, I look forward to solutions!
  • Orchidmg Orchidmg on Dec 04, 2014
    You could etch something into the glass. Your family's last name, a design around the border, etc. You can also attach a narrow wooden box to the bottom of it to make a shadow box, paint it to match what you do to the wood and put things in the box that you like, like shells, family heirlooms, anything you collect. And nail the box to the table from the top or glue it, flip the table over and have the items inside attached to the box (can attach them to fabric and glue the border of the fabric to the bottom of the box) so when you glue the box to the bottom of the table, the items won't move around. I've seen these and am just guessing how they attach it to the bottom of the table.
  • Melissa Coutilish Jewell Melissa Coutilish Jewell on Dec 05, 2014
    @ Maggie McArtle..Thsts the beauty of chalk paint,You don't NEED to spray it! I'm not sure if You even could though.It has a perfect,brush-free finish with a brush & no priming necessary
  • Lise Morrison Lise Morrison on Dec 05, 2014
    I would use a deglosser then spray them a matte black. After the paint has cured (24 hrs)I would dry brush them with gold. leave the glass as it is.
  • Cindy tustin Cindy tustin on Dec 06, 2014
    I don't have these tables but do have a set with glass tops and detest them. Liked the idea of painting the glass on the backside.
  • Rachel Hinks Rachel Hinks on Dec 06, 2014
    i just did a set of tables similiar to these and they used to have glass in the center and my client had replaced the glass with wood that she had cut from her local building centre painted you cant tell i painted them with a Benjamin Moore pallet - distressed to her liking and she loved them! stick with your first instinct its always the best!! Your tables got great bones!!
  • Cynthia Jensen Cynthia Jensen on Dec 06, 2014
    Cut wood for the glass and replace. White distressed (light blue is in too), Distressed with a grey and white chevron stencil. Or you could add a bit of color. Distress the stencil also. Here are a few ideas Actually these are my favorite
  • Carol Main Carol Main on Dec 06, 2014
    Can you make a tray underneath the glass to hold antique treasurers, then chalk paint it with an off white and distress.
  • Honour Min Honour Min on Dec 06, 2014
    The table strikes me as French Provincial style, sometimes called French Country. In chic shops you'll often see it painted Antique white, chalk paint or matte black with the carvings and edges highlighted in gold [Sharpie like marker] with the glass insert. It would be a terrific bar cart with wheels added. What is your colour palette? If you can find a reasonably priced, thin, granite-like insert to replace the glass it would be 'french-like.' You might add toile fabric to the underside of the glass held by spray glue.
  • Parrot-Eyes Art Studio Parrot-Eyes Art Studio on Dec 06, 2014
    I would create a false bottom about 6-8 inches underneath the glass. If you leave a panel that opens, you can fill it with oats, corn, different items for the holidays? Ornaments, Easter eggs, hearts, candy, family pics, buttons...etc...
  • Skbunes Skbunes on Dec 07, 2014
    I had glass door inserts on my cupboards I took them out and put paintable wallpaper that looks like tin tiles. I painted them cream like the rest of the door. after they were dry I painted white over the cream and wiped off the high spots. now they look like tin tiles. what an amazing modern look in my kitchen.
  • Melissa Coutilish Jewell Melissa Coutilish Jewell on Dec 07, 2014
    My Mom had a coffee table years ago (I don't know why I didn't think of this before) it was the same shape as these,too.All done in dark stained walnut) what was different was it had a piece of lattice under the glass! Creating a piece to fit & just holding it in place with either L-brackets screwed in from underneath or better yet,Just little blocks made from 1x1 pieces of wood,Would be adorable! Especially if you painted them out like Myself & a few other people suggested.Although,I like the marble idea to replace the glass insert all together,The best! I hope You haven't been overwhelmed by ideas now & you have decided what You'd like to do.Good luck
  • Judy Lambert Judy Lambert on Dec 07, 2014
    I am in the process of removing the top of mine and replacing it with an ottoman style top. The legs could be painted or not. In my case I am using an animal upholstery fabric and it is in black and gold so the legs are staying as are. Mine is large -35 x 35. Have fun!
  • Lori Lori on Dec 13, 2014
    See if you can find "Touch The Wood" they are often on the Hometalk site and see what they do with wood. It will blow your mind and give you ideas you have never dreamed of.