Yard Sale Coffee Table to French Country Treasure

If there’s one thing I have learned in the past five years it’s never, EVER pass on a solid wood piece of furniture that has lots of design if you have a place for it in your home.  Over my years of having a furniture painting business, I would specifically look for things that had character and “shabby” potential.  I just happen to love that look and if you are into repurposing, it also sells very well in our Palm Beach area as it fits in with a beachy look as well.  About a decade or more ago, I discovered I really loved the Rachel Ashwell “Shabby Chic” look.  It was soft, feminine and looked like it had been around for a hundred years.

And, it is actually a look that is fairly easy to do.  Personally, I’m not a fan of dark wood.  I’ve learned that the lighter the furniture, the less you see dust!  Yes, I have replaced brand new dark wood pieces that I bought with thrift store finds to paint because I just dislike seeing all that dust every day.  (That will probably be the best tip of this blog.)  Buy light-colored furniture pieces or paint what you have light!  You will spend a lot less time dusting.

While shopping garage sales one Saturday morning, I found this medium-colored solid wood coffee table.  To be honest, it was pretty ugly.  But, I loved the curvy legs and intricate design on the sides and legs and it was $15.  SOLD!

Yard Sale Coffee Table $15

I brought it home and decided to get some chalk paint out.  I gave it a couple coats covering the entire piece in a soft white chalk paint that I made from latex paint, some Plaster of Paris and water.  There are hundreds of recipes for chalk paint on Pinterest.  Here is one.  http://inmyownstyle.com/2012/08/testing-1-2-3-versions-of-chalk-paint.html

You can also splurge on the Annie Sloan version of the chalk paint or Lowes now also has a chalk paint that they can mix to any color.  That is a nice option I recently discovered.  This is what the Lowes chalk paint can looks like.   It is great to paint with and I use a nice 1.5″ brush.  I have learned that buying a more expensive brush will make your painting jobs easier.  The right tools are a must!  Instead of buying that cheap $3 brush, get the $9 one.  You will get a lot more use of out it, but you should clean it very well after each use with warm, soapy water.  Rinse it well!  You will have a much more polished product in the end.

It will most likely take at least two coats of the chalk paint to cover over a dark wood piece.  It helps to lightly sand with a fine grit sandpaper in between coats to make the surface nice and smooth.  (This is not required but will leave a smoother surface.)  Wipe with a dry clean cloth to get the residue off before starting the next coat.  Finally I waxed the entire piece with Johnson Paste Wax.  Rub it on with clean, soft rag.  Let it sit for a few minutes (see directions on the can) and then buff off with another soft, clean cloth.  It gives is a matte finish that will protect the paint.

Here is the finished coffee table in my family room.

After a project is finished – the beach is always calling!

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6 Comments

  1. Love the table, Cher ! I am going to try the chalk paint but have a question. Did you sand down to distress the detailed areas before or after you applied the wax ? Or is this beautiful effect the result of just not painting those areas as much as the rest of the table ?

    1. Hi Kimberly! I distressed the pieces before I wax or seal them. I just use a piece of sandpaper and lightly sand until I get the look I want. Good luck!

  2. Loved your directions and your good advice. Keep blogging-good job. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great information, and beautiful transformation of the coffee table. I might have to try it!