Free Coffee Table

Last spring I found a solid pine coffee table at the dump.  I snatched it up even though it was a bit big for the space I have in my living room, but the dark brown footstool I was using was too dark and I wanted a change.

So I packed the coffee table home and put it in my shed until I could refinish it - that yellow pine wasn't doing it for me!  Of course, I was in a hurry to do my project and didn't take before shots.  Here's a shot of the underside of the table, every part of it was this same yellow knotty pine:

The table top was dented, scratched and generally beat up.  I sanded the poly coating as much as I could but it didn't come off all that easily and I wound up gouging the surface even more.  Since I lost my enthusiasm for sanding it enough to re-stain it a light brown colour, I decided to paint it.  I didn't have a colour on hand that I wanted to use and since I didn't need much paint I mixed my own.  I added BM Lennox Tan paint to a small container of BM Snow White paint until I got an antique white that I liked.

When the table was painted and put in its new resting place, it seemed out of place.  I didn't have any other white pieces in the room and although I really liked the brightness I got from the white surface, I didn't totally like the look.  I saw all the blog posts on tables with French printing or French signs transferred onto them and I loved that look.  I really wanted something like that for my new/old table.

I began my 2nd attempt at refinishing by sanding down the corners, table and leg edges and some of the table surface.  Then I rubbed Minwax Dark Oak stain all over the painted surface with a rag.  I went back over the surface with a clean rag to wipe up the stain but I wasn't getting a really nice effect.  I put more stain on my rag and went back over the surface, it lifted some of the stain that was there and I began to like the way the legs and apron looked.  The tabletop, however, looked scratched and ugly.  I took some Behr's Almond Cream paint and a foam roller and rolled over the surface, avoiding the edges as much as possible.  I rolled over it and over it and over it and then I took a rag and lightly rubbed the surface in different spots until I got a look that I liked.  Then I took a paper towel dipped in the paint and rubbed it over the corners and edges.  I was really liking the effect now!

When the piece dried, I brought it inside and set it in my living room.

I put the coffee table knickknacks & plants back:

You know what? I don't think I want to put an image on this table after all!  I really like the antiquey, over-washed paint look.  I think I'll settle for finding some new coffee table knickknacks.  Funniest thing of all - I now remember my mom painting furniture one colour and then brushing a brown over the top to get this same kind of look back in the 70s.   Nothing new under the sun...

Post update April, 2012:  If you want to see the cool aqua swirl paint treatment I updated this table with, click HERE

Linking to:


  1. I love trying different methods to get the look you want. This turned out great! Sometimes a crisp clean color is not working out! Love your solutions!

  2. GUESS WHAT ANNE? You have won the Cabbages & Roses giveaway at Marley & Lockyer!!!!!
    Congratulations. Please contact me at to organise sending your cover to you =0)
    Ness xx
    Marley & Lockyer

  3. That turned out really well!
    Thanks so much for taking part in Weekend Wonders last week. Hope to see you again this week!

  4. This turned out really nice, Anne! Your hard work certainly paid off.

    Thanks for linking to Potpourri Friday. I appreciate you!

  5. Looks great! You did an awesome job. Love the colour :) Thanks for adding your link to Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays.

  6. The table came out great. Nice job!


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