TaDa! My very first furniture makeover!

Update 3/2011: After my google disaster, I lost all the photos on my older posts. Unfortunately, I no longer have the photos from this tutorial, so I couldn’t re-upload them.

I DID IT! I FINALLY DID IT! I refinished my very first piece of furniture! And you know what? It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Really. I mean true, my lower back hurt for days after bending over for hours reaching every nook and cranny with my paintbrush. And I walked around with primer on my arm for three days. (How the heck do you get that stuff off anyway?) But it was so rewarding to turn a piece of trash into a treasure.
Do you want to see the before and after pictures? And a few “during” pictures?
I adore before and after pictures and could look at them all day.
So here you go:
I started with this table that I found on Craigslist for $20.

It was all dusty, the varnish was peeling off, and it had some water damage on the top. But I could see the hidden potential so I had my husband pick it up during his lunch hour one day. Thanks honey!!
First I took it out to my “studio” and gave it a really thorough sanding. I used a palm sander for most of it, but the spindles had to be done by hand. I also used some “Liquid Sandpaper”, but it stunk to high heaven and I didn’t think it worked all that great. (Maybe I did something wrong?)
Notice how my table is standing on end. No, we didn’t have a tornado come through, I did that on purpose. I found that it was much easier to sand all the surfaces if I could let gravity do some of the work. I kept flipping the table around so that I was always working on the top and pushing down to sand. Does that make sense?
After sanding, I filled any small holes with spackle and let it dry. Then I wiped everything off with a slightly damp rag, then wiped it with tack cloth.
Next I applied two coats of primer. I used Behr brand from Home Depot. I applied the first coat with a sponge brush because one of my favorite bloggers says that is her preference. I wasn’t thrilled with it so I applied the second coat with a paint brush. Worked much better, especially on all those crevices on the spindles. I learned that just because something works for someone else, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. And that’s OK.
I do have to tell you though, if you use a paintbrush, BUY A GOOD QUALITY BRUSH! Trust me, it makes a huge difference. The best brush at Walmart isn’t a good quality brush! Fork out a few extra dollars at Home Depot for a good paint brush. You’ll be glad you did. I’ve had mine for over 8 years and I just love it. If you’re not sure what to get, (I wasn’t) just ask for help.
Here is the table after two coats of primer:Looks better already, doesn’t it?
You’ve probably noticed that my studio was upgraded. It was stinkin‘ cold in the garage, so I just set up camp in the entryway and prayed that no one would come to the door.
After the primer, I applied three coats of black paint. Again, Behr brand. Then came the tricky part. I didn’t like the old funky stained glass. It was filthy, the silver parts were all tarnished, and it had an ugly gold color in the middle. Gross! So we headed to Jones Paint and Glass to order three new pieces of glass. When they rang up the order, it was fifty bucks! What the! For three little pieces of glass? I just couldn’t spend that much.
I thought about using fabric, or scrapbook paper, but I really, really wanted to use glass. I tried to find some picture frames that were the right size. No luck. Then I was at the hardware store buying spray paint (of all things), and I happened upon this:
Light paneling (you know, like they put in florescent lighting fixtures). It was only 8 dollars! And they cut it to size for me. I was so excited I almost started dancing right there in the hardware store!
After I put in the pieces of “glass”, all that was left was the handles. I couldn’t find a replacement that would fit, so I just spray painted the old ones with a coat of spray paint primer and two coats of silver spray paint. I’m not totally thrilled with them, but they will do. Remember what Nester always says, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” I just love that saying!
And now, for the final reveal. Are you ready?
Here is the before:
Here is the after:

Quite a difference isn’t it? And it cost just under $45 for the whole entire project. (Plus I have leftover black paint, silver paint, and plexiglass for a future makeover!)
If you need decorative glass, but don’t want to fork out lots of $$, make sure you check your local hardware store for plexiglass. 🙂

For other thrifty tips, check out The Lettered Cottage.


  1. What an amazing makeover!!

  2. OMG!!!Good for you! You are so inspiring!! I cant wait to try all your ideas!

  3. LOVE it! Just wondering if you used black spray paint or brushed it on? Thank you!

  4. I absolutely LOVE the end result! Thanks for sharing the steps you took, I have items I plan to paint as well.

  5. I love this! You did a great job!!!

  6. Nikki@KreativeKnack says:

    Oh! you have me in awe! I love it!

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