How To Refurbish A Wooden Coffee Table

Refurbishing An Old Coffee Table With Paint And Varnish

Learn how to refurbish a wooden coffee table with paint and varnish. A simple coffee table makeover, for a piece of furniture that could end up in trash.


I’ve always wanted to have a special coffee table around for my guests. My amazing husband got his hands on an old coffee table. This way I had the chance to try this for the first time. I had an idea in my head for a long time, so I was really happy to finally put in in practice. Scroll to the bottom of the article for the video tutorial. Let’s get to work and show you how to refurbish a wooden coffee table.

This article may contain advertising and affiliate links. More details in our disclosure.

Supplies


Old coffee table to refurbish

Preparing The Table For Painting


This is I believe it’s the most important step, as the paint will hold depending on how well you prepare the surface for painting. Since the table I had was previously varnished, I had to remove the first shiny layer by sanding it off. You don’t have to sand all the way to the wood, as the paint these days it’s pretty well on sticking to anything. The idea it’s to have a mate surface to paint on, and also to make sure you are removing any imperfections.

Sanding the varnish from an old coffee table

I did the top part with a sanding machine, but you don’t really need one. It works just as fine if you do it by hand. Anyway we ended up burning the sander, as we were in a rush to film the tutorial and we pressed too hard on it to sand faster. Turns out the tool didn’t like that. For the small details and the legs you really have no choice but sand by hand anyway. Once you finished sanding the table, make sure you wipe it well and remove all the dust.

Painting The Coffee Table


There it’s not much to say about the painting part as anyone knows how to use some paint and a brush. I can give you some tips though, in case you are not doing this too often. First of all, for the past years I give up on using the regular paint, and I only use water based paint. Try to have a thin paint, as if the paint it’s too thick you will have brush marks left on the surface. The idea it’s to paint as many layers as you need to cover the table completely, with ought leaving any brush marks. Here you have some really nice brushes as well.

Just make sure you give the paint enough time to dry between each layer of paint. That also depends on the recommendations of the paint you are using, so always read the instructions. Once you finished painting and you are happy with the results, you’re ready for the next step.

Decorating The Coffee Table Top


This is just an optional step. What I had in mind, was to create a table with an old vintage look. It had to look old and used, but in the color I wanted not as it was before. Once the paint dried well overnight, I started to sand off the paint here and there just as you see in the video or the photos.

Remember to always wipe off the dust after every sanding. After I got the coffee table to a stage I was happy about, I was ready for the finishing touches. This is also optional as you don’t necessarily have to do it identically. Remember that here you can be creative and you may find your own way or a better way for this step. I did this before on some photo frames and loved the results, so I wanted to do the same for the table top.

I had some Distress Ink – Oxide, and some stamps with some written messages that you can see in the photo. Using various writings, I stamped the entire table top. If you don’t want to use the stamp, another idea would be to use a paint marker and have your friends write some nice messages.

Distress Ink - Oxide

Varnishing The Coffee Table


To make sure the paint and the finishing touches will last a lot longer, I decided to varnish the table. Just as the paint, the varnish I’m using it’s also water based. I started with the table top, as this was the most difficult part because of the stamps I added. The ink it’s sensitive so if you paint with varnish on top using the brush, you will mess up the entire table top as the ink will spread all over. Instead I used a spray varnish for the first layers. Try to do it quickly in very thin layers.

This way the ink will not spread all over the place. You will have to spray as many layers as you need to cover the entire table top. You know you are ready for the next step when your entire table top it’s all shiny and there is no exposed ink from the stamps. Now you can continue varnishing the entire table with the brush and regular varnish. Make sure to add more layers on the table top as well. Paint as many layers as you need until you are happy with the final look.

You table it’s now finished and you are ready to enjoy a good cup of coffee on a table that has your personal touch on it. Does the coffee taste better now ? Mine sure does. You can use the same method for any piece of furniture, not necessarily a table. I’m actually thinking for a future project to replace the entire furniture I have in the kitchen, with something with an old look that I will refurbish using the same steps.

Refurbishing A Coffee Table
Table top refurbished with Distress Ink - Oxide stamps

Video Tutorial

Don't forget to share this post !

Leave a Reply