Monday, July 2, 2012

Thrift Store Furniture Makeover (End Tables)

Who's ready for a Furniture Makeover Project? I have been meaning to share this DIY work with you for ages. Some of you might remember a thrift shopping inspiration post I did way back in February. I hinted that my friend Christy and I scored a great find, but winter weather and a few other hiccups got in my was several months before the completed project landed in my family room. I'm so excited to finally share this fab Before and After Project with you today!
Thrift Store Furniture Makeover, Serenity Now blog

You may remember this shot from the thrift shop:
Thrift Store Furniture Makeover with Paint, Serenity Now blog

We were just about finished shopping when we strolled back past this set, marked at $69.

I paused and said, "You know, I really need a pair of end tables for my family room, but I don't need the coffee table."

Christy replied, "Yeah, I like the coffee table, but I don't need the end tables." 

{Light bulb moment!} It occurred to us that perhaps a wise decision would be to buy the set, split the cost, and each take the pieces we needed. This ended up being quite a good choice, as numerous people eyed us enviously on our way out of the shop.

Or maybe they were just wondering how in the heck we were going to use those weird sticky pieces. 

Yes, I said "sticky." On top of a layer of dull creamy tannish paint was a layer of sticky (!) brown stain or varnish. The previous owner had clearly tried his/her hand at faux finishing, and failed miserably. The finish was so sticky that the tables were really unusable. Our husbands were doubtful, but we knew we could succeed!

Here are a couple more Before and After pics to compare:
Furniture Makeover with Paint, Serenity Now blog

Furniture Makeover with Paint, Serenity Now blog

The first step was sanding. The amount of crud on the tables forced me to use T's palm sander, which did the trick! I highly recommend this, as opposed to trying to sand a large piece by hand! The hardest part was getting in all the little crevices on the drawer fronts.

See the difference after sanding?
Sanding Furniture with a Palm Sander, Serenity Now blog

I used some wood glue, clamps, and caulk to repair a loose drawer front and freshen up a few areas:
Repairing a Drawer Front with Wood Glue Serenity Now blog

I used Elmer's Wood Glue Max, which I had on hand, and let the drawer sit overnight with clamps and a heavy toolbox on top to hold it down. 

For caulk, I picked up an inexpensive container of DAP Alex Fast Dry Caulk--important to go with fast dry! Caulking is important so the paint doesn't dry and show the cracks.
How to Use Caulk to Seal Cracks in Furniture Serenity Now blog

I was lucky enough to have several cans of Krylon Dual Paint and Primer on hand, so the knobs got a quick coat of flat black spray paint. I also primed both pieces with the same spray paint in white.
Spray Painted Knobs with Krylon Serenity Now blog

At this point, I knew I wanted a clean, smooth finish for the tables, but I also knew that the little ridges and lines on the drawer fronts would be tough to paint without globs everywhere (I am not the world's greatest painter). I enlisted the help of our friend Travis, who owns a really nice paint sprayer. Travis was busy with some of his own home renovation projects, but when he eventually did have time to paint my tables, I was so pleased!

The finish was so smooth and professional looking--like something you'd find in a showroom. Much, much better than what I could have accomplished with a paint brush.
Painted Thrift Store End Tables Serenity Now blog

The last step was to line each drawer with some wrapping paper in a modern print. I snagged it from the Target $1 section last year!
DIY Wrapping Paper Drawer Liner Serenity Now blog

Operation Family Room Makeover is still plodding along! Here's one more before and after, with the old tables pictured:
Family Room Before with Old Tables Serenity Now blog
Family Room Makeover with New Furniture Serenity Now blog

It's not perfect, but it's coming along. The coffee table isn't scaled correctly for the furniture, but we work with what we have, right? I'm planning a gallery wall that will hopefully be a mix of old family "heirloom" photos and some fun whimsical pieces. I also have a slip cover that desperately needs to be fitted onto that couch!

Hope you'll forgive the long post, but I have been wanting to show you this makeover for the longest time!

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I'd love for you to click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. 


  1. Nice job girl! Love the fresh white. If you do a picture wall, just make sure you put the banjo back up somewhere! It's too awesome:) I'm sure there's some great story behind it.

  2. I'm convinced white paint can freshen up everything! They look brand new and I love the knobs.

  3. They look so good! That sticky finish might have scared me off (ew)...but the tables are so unique looking that maybe not. :)

  4. Love it! You did a great job rescuing those poor sticky pieces!

    Fresh picked Vintage

  5. I love the white! I'm not sure I would have realized how much potential those pieces had, but they turned out very nice. Great job!

  6. I love turning a fabulous thrift store find into something beautiful. You did a great job! And I absolutely love the banjo on the wall.

    Blingerz Community Manager

  7. Love, love, love it! You made the tables look fresh and new! Excellent! Job! Now I wonder how the coffee table turned out?! :-)

  8. Great thrifty find and you did such a lovely job on them!

    I have just returned from an extended and so has Potpourri Friday! Link up in on Thursday afternoon. One is in progress now, the next starts on Thurs. Hope you will check it out.. I would be delighted for you to link up!

    I have just become your latest follower!

  9. These look amazing! I have a house full of furniture that I'm desperately needed to refinish- I hadn't thought of the paint sprayer- I am for sure going to borrow one and get my house in order! Thank you for the inspiration-
    Karie McKean

  10. They look gorgeous Amanda! Nice job. That's awesome you have a friend with a sprayer, soo much easier. I have one end table, similar to those, that has been in my garage for close to a year now. I NEED to get it painted. I'm thinking I'll spray paint it. It seems to work for Kate. =)

    ~ Catie

  11. Looks great! It appears that the previous owner may have attempted to use dark wax to "antique" them, and put way too thick of a layer on, which can make it feel sticky. Maybe that's what happened. Anyway, they look 100% better now! Great job!

    -Erin @ DIY On the Cheap

  12. Nicely done! What a transformation! I love the hardware. I'll have to try the dual paint and primer.
    The drawer lining is a great final touch! Thanks for sharing!!

  13. Beautiful! I love the clean & fresh. What a difference it makes in your family room. Great find!
    Blessings My Friend,

  14. Wow, those look amazing! You did a really nice job. I actually liked the "before" too, until you mentioned the stickiness: no thanks! ;-)

  15. It's amazing what a coat of white paint can do. Have you considered raising your lamps a bit with a wooden box maybe or a stack of books? Sorry, I'm always giving advice whether I'm asked or not!

    Robin Flies South

  16. Those look amazing! You did an fabulous job!

  17. So fresh and pretty, the white really brightens it up =) Nice!!

  18. Awesome makeover, my dear! It's amazing what a little paint can do, isn't it?

  19. The knobs on the tables are so cute! The white looks fresh and clean. You did a great job!

  20. Those knobs are so cute and I love your family room. Very cozy!

  21. Nice job Amanda! I love how much pop the white adds next to your couch. Nice transformation :) You must love it!

  22. This looks lovely, Amanda. It really brightens up the Room.

  23. Wow - those end tables turned out great!

  24. They are loverly Amanda. The bright white is so much better than that other paint job. Egads!

  25. Those tables are stunning Amanda! I love the lines & legs on them! You're living room seems to be coming right along, can't wait to see what you do with the rest of the room :-)

  26. Way to go, Amanda! I've wondered when you would post about this project. I'm so glad you got it done--and just in time to share with new friends from Haven, right? You are one smart cookie. :)

    I'm so glad you posted the story of you and your friend splitting up the set. That was so smart! I can just see y'all muscling three tables out of the thrift store. Did her coffee table turn out as well as your end tables?

  27. awesome transformation. and the drawers for storage!!!

    i always think it's a bonus if i bring home some "thrifted goods" that has potential with storage space!!!


  28. What a transformation! Love the hardware!!

  29. Hi Amanda,

    Great makeover. I would have snatched those up too :-)

    Glad the sanding was easy. They look terrific!

  30. What a beautiful restoration, they look great!
    Really enjoyed reading your blog, you are welcome to visit mine :)

  31. oops, here is a link to my blog :)

  32. Why don't you open a store and do this? Charge a fee. I'm afraid even with your detailed instructions, I still would ruin the furniture.


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