DIY Old World Coffee Table

DIY Tutorials!

DIY Old World Coffee Table

Sometimes DIY furniture flips do not go as planned! In this case, the backup plan turned out better than the original plan! The table was very old and had layers of paint from multiple previous owners. The girl I bought it from on FB marketplace said she too bought it thrifted. I love this! It just means you’ll know less about the piece and I wasn’t quite prepared for this one.

Here is the evolution of my upcycled coffee table. Follow these steps if you want to achieve this look on purpose:

  1. Remove the paint with a chisel or oscillating saw. My thrifted table had a layer of black paint, then red paint, and then black again! I quickly discovered that the first layer of black paint had sunk deep into the pores of the wood. Sanding down layer upon layer of wood wasn’t working, and using CitriStrip didn’t do the trick either. I thought about just painting over it all again, but before I gave up, I literally took an oscillating saw and started chiseling out the some of the paint-stained wood. Then I thought, Hey I’m on to something..
  1. The next step is where the project started to turn around. I used Minwax wood filler to make the top smooth again. If you’re going to try this out, my tip is to use brand new wood filler. I had an old can lying around, but even though it was closed properly, it was too dry to go on ultra smooth. A nice new tub of wood filler will go on smooth like butter. Like room temperature butter! It makes things so much easier.
  1. Make sure the wood filler has had enough dry time according to the label. Then sand! Just a fine-grit sanding sponge will work. No need to bring out the power tools anymore.
  1. Apply your stain. I used Minwax Aged Oak gel stain. I like gel stains because they go on thicker. But beware: the texture is a cross between paint and stain, so you have to wipe it perfectly and it can get tricky. Nothing wrong with a standard stain here! I do suggest a medium shade stain so that you can see the dented effect, but not so dark that the wood filler contrasts too much.
  1. Apply your polyurethane. I used Minwax oil-based poly in warm semi-gloss. I didn’t want a matte finish to this piece. I feel like the glossiness evens out the distressed wood so it’s not over-the-top rustic. Now that it’s in my house I know I made the right decision!
  1. After all is dry, add any antique-looking hardware you’d like. I found these corners on Amazon for a great price. They come with a couple tiny nails – three taps of a hammer and done! I also added a distressed iron cabinet knob for the drawer.

I love this addition to the family room. It compliments the painted antique credenza really well. Now the hard furnishings tie together without being matchy-matchy and both are easy on the eyes!

Got questions? Feel free to ask in the comments!