I have recently enjoyed refinishing furniture. I started doing more projects when the pandemic began in 2020, and found that it was very rewarding.
I was originally given this table by a neighbor who was moving. It is a nice, solid piece, and I just wanted to update it so it would be lighter and brighter. I look on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for used furniture, and it is fairly easy to find pieces that are solid wood and styles that I like.
The first step was to remove the top of the table from the base. This coffee table was a pleasure to work with, because the top simply came off after removing about 8 screws. We have had other tables that needed to be completely dismantled.
For the top of the table, I sanded off the dark finish. I started with a rough paper, around 100 grit, and worked my way up to a much finer grit (200+) once the color came off. I recommend starting with something like 120 to see how it is on your project, before going with a coarser grit. You don’t want to leave scratches on your wood surface.
There are also different qualities of sandpaper. I used some cheap Harbor Freight sandpaper, and then switched to 3M – what a difference! (Even cheap sandpaper can serve a purpose – like when I was sanding our staircase railings, which had dark, thick layers of poly).
The table had a lot of stain as well as scratches, which is why I started with a more aggressive approach to remove the imperfections and colors.
I used a palm sander, which took a while. For future projects, I may invest in a better sander. One of the most satisfying parts of a refinishing project is seeing the beautiful wood grain hiding underneath all that dark stain!
For the blue coffee table base, I sanded it lightly with a very fine 220 grit sandpaper. Someone also recommended steel wool, but we already had a wide range of sandpaper on hand, and the 220 was perfect.
I used a sandpaper that had a rubbery backing because of the round shape of the legs. I was able to hold the sandpaper and wrap it around the rounded parts. For flat portions of the table, I wrapped the sandpaper on a block. This did not require a lot of sanding – just enough to rough up the surface and to remove any peeling paint.
I was concerned about my white paint being able to cover and stick well over the dark blue, so I started with Zinsser spray primer. The can cost me about $11 and did about one coat before running out. Be careful about following the instructions for this: shake adequately, do your project in a well-ventilated area, don’t spray too close to your surfaces, keep moving as you spray. I did get a few drips when I wanted to put on a thick layer, so exercise patience.
I did the subsequent coats of spray paint with Rustoleum Paint + Primer, which runs about $5.99 a can. In retrospect, I could have probably gone with the Rustoleum from the start, but the overall project budget was still low. The Rust-Oleum did an amazing job of smoothly coating everything, and I love the semi-gloss finish. I did one coat of Zinssers Primer and two coats of Rustoleum.
For the coffee table top, I wanted to maintain the color as much as possible. I have used oil-based polyurethane before, and for this project, decided to go with a water-based poly instead. The oil-based polyurethanes will add a yellow finish, while the water-based does not change the color as much. It is a thinner product, so it took a little more patience. I did several coats with brushes and foam brushes, sanding between coats to remove lines. For the last few coats, I used a microfiber cloth to brush it on. I had read that it can be tough to tell where you have even applied the water-based polyurethane as you work, and I would agree that is the case.
The final product!
I am so thrilled with the final product! It came out beautifully and is so light and bright. The wood grain is gorgeous and I love the natural color.
What an amazing transformation of a worn table to a masterpiece. I never did woodworking but you have shown me how you can make something new.
How cool. I love how this turned out. You did such an amazing job.
It looks incredible! I wish my husband would do something like this. He always picks up furniture and leaves it as is.
It’s a good feeling when you’ve done a DIY like this, right? I like it,. I love how it turned out. So creative!
Your refinished coffee table looks great! You did a fantastic job!
I love DIY projects! I want to add built ins around a fireplace one day!
I love how you gave this table a new life!
This is a beautiful transformation! I love DIY projects!
wow! Love this coffee table makeover! You make to seem so easy to make!
Great makeover. I would love to try my hand at chalk painting some old windows I have.
I am loving how the table came out and appreciate the tips as I have several pieces that I am going to redo in my home as we just bought a new one. Love the way it turned out and I know it looks amazing!
Wow, such an amazing transformation. Really love your idea.
You did an amazing job on that table. I love the color. It’s perfect for any home. Very classy.
It’s a great result for this table as it was, I love also the finished color you’ve done into this. Everything is perfect and definitely looks so mesmerizing.
What a wonderful job! You just inspired me to give our coffee table a makeover too. I was planning to redecorate the house and a little uplift in our old table would be nice. Thank you for the tips.
Wow I can’t believe the top came out so beautiful. I thought the dark stains were going to be hard to get rid of when I saw the initial pictures, but you did a great job. It is lighter and brighter!! Very nice.
I never knew how to make these, thanks for sharing your craft!
You did an amazing job! I have absolutely no skills when it comes to doing just about everything but if I could refurbish items like you my house would look so much better! So creative!
Wow you did such a good job. I really like this rustic makeover. We’re also refurbishing right now, so you’ve given me some good ideas to think about.
Wow! This is an inteersting transformation.I really like the new look.I too have an old TV console which I want to repurpose.Want to try a makeover for it.
You really do know your stuff. I love DIYing things. Too bad that I don’t have a lot of time. But you did a really great job here!
I love the work you did here! It’s such a lovely cofee table now, but somehow, strangely, I also liked it before the makeover. Well done! 🙂
It looks beautiful, you did a great job transforming this coffee table from an old boring piece of furniture to a modern piece.
The transformation is amazing. I would have never thought of turning a dark coloured table into a brighter colour. This is so cool.
Indeed a very beautiful makeover. Love the new color and the look. You truly saved so much .
I’m so glad I found this post…just as I’m about to start a refinishing project on my table…serendipity! Mine is a camper table and more of veneer so hopefully there is good wood to even reveal under that stain. But i’ll certainly brining this article to the hardware store as i do my project shopping. your table turned out beautifully!
What a great job you did with this coffee table! Truly a magnificent transformation.
I did this with my coffee table a few years ago and love the new look! I actually found it on the side of the road being thrown away (a well made highly expensive brand) the owners were throwing it away because of a little water damage. I sanded it, painted it, poly sealed it and it is holding up well!
Yours looks great! Nice work ; )
You did a great job of updating this coffee table. I love the natural wood top.
I don’t do DIYs but I really liked what you have done with this coffee table. It looks good!
I’m very impressed by your DIY coffee table redo. It looks stunning!
I loooove this DIY, the table looks amazing wow!!! Amazing job…
Wow that looks brand new! Great job!
You did an absolutely amazing job! It looks brand new! I love it. I may have to try this myself with one of the tables I have. This was a great DIY project!
Such a great DIY
Wow.it looks absoulety goerous. I also love doing diy, instead of buying a brand new one. All you need is refinish them.then there is no waste~
This is absolutely incredible. What an amazing transformation! Thank you for sharing.
Love this. I love anything D.I.Y. I am a crafter and love to build or create and makeover everything and anything I can. I did my kids dressers to match their walls in their rooms and they love them. It’s mommy therapy.
That looks amazing! I love refinishing tables! I def learned a thing or two from this post!
Wow! It came out really nice. After all the effort you put into this project, you should pay yourself on the back. It looks so brand new.
This is stunning! Such a nice refresh to a classic piece!
You did an amazing job, it looks amazing! I have always wanted to refinish furniture but have yet to do so! I am definitely going to do it now. Thank you so much for sharing your step by step, it is so helpful!