I found this beautiful starting piece on Offerup. It was unique and quite a steal. It was a diamond in the rough type of find because it had incredible potential (see final product) but what I was starting with was simply a beat up end table in desperate need of some TLC.
It just takes a little elbow grease, a little time, some brainstorming, patience, and a few tools. There are various YouTube videos out there which can tell you all that you need to know about these quick fixes.
So don't be afraid to get your hands dirty! It can feel so accomplishing to fix something like this yourself! Click here for my favorite "fix it yourself" YouTube videos! Some of these use hardly any tools but others are more for those who have a decent collection of tools in their workshop.
Step 1: Prep
I think most people may not realize that a lot of the time, the things that are "broken" with our furniture pieces can be very quick do-it-yourself fixes that could potentially save you hundreds!
Structurally, this end table was wobbly as the base had been incorrectly attached to its top, which made the appearance appear very uneven. This type of issue can be common with mass produced furniture where attention to detail is overlooked. For the previous owner, this resulted in a frustrating to use table which never seemed to just stand still.
In order to fix the wobbliness, I detached the table top from it's base. Looked through it's attachment points and quickly realized two problems. First, the base was screwed into the top at the wrong points. Second, when this piece was created, they failed to use wood glue to solidify and secure the attachment between the base and top.
So to start, I realigned the base to the top portion, used wood glue to secure the piece, and drilled new holes so that the end table had a straight appearance. I left this to completely dry over night before I got to working on it the next day.
Next, I cleaned off the entire piece by using mineral spirits and a dry cotton rag (ripped up T-shirt or sock). And then I stripped the piece of its old finish using Citristrip and a painter's 6-in-1 tool. Putty knifes can substitute the 6-in-1 tool as well. More on that here.
Step 2: Sand
Sanding was necessary for this piece because I really wanted it to have a new Espresso tinted stain to compliment the base which I knew I wanted to paint cream.
I started off by sanding the top portion of the end table all the way down to its bare wood. This would provide me a surface that can accept a new stain (Your piece will not absorb a new stain correctly without removing the previous stain first. I used 60 grit "hook and loop" sandpaper on my Makita orbital sander to begin. Switched to a 100 grit, and then 220 grit for a smooth finish.
If you're not familiar with this type of language, the higher the grit, the smoother the finish! So you start out with a lower grit which is a "rougher to the touch" sandpaper (60 in my case) and you work your way up (100 and 220 in my case) for a smooth and even finish!
As you can see from the above picture the wood texture looks a bit rough so here I am using the 60 grit sandpaper. But the finished product (see bottom photos) has a much more smooth look to it. Taking the time to do this is really important to achieve a professional look.
My lovely friend Liza offered a hand and we worked on lightly sanding the sides and base of the end table by hand while having some much needed catching up time. The reason we only lightly sand as apposed to the method previously described is because we just needed to give the paint a surface that it can attach itself too. (I stained the top surface and painted the base of this piece to achieve a farmhouse look and feel). Sanding to bare wood is not necessary (not to mention extremely time consuming) when painting a surface.
Step 3: Paint/Stain
I did not take photos of how I stained the top portion of this piece but will expand more on that in a future post!
...After giving my "Espresso" stained top adequate drying time, I taped and covered it with newspaper so that I would not get any paint onto my freshly stained piece. Then using my favorite Husky HVLP paint sprayer I gave this farmhouse end table 2 coats of a paint mixture I made using both very light Brown and Ultra White, for a creamy look.
As you can see from picture #2, I had a drip happen which I was easily able to fix because I sand with very fine sandpaper in-between each coat of paint. Also, if you're wondering what that box on top of the end table is doing there...well, that is to make sure the paper I taped down on the top surface stays down. Once a paint mistake is made on your beautiful freshly stained surface, it will be hours of fixing that tiny mistake...so I would say it's better to be safe than sorry!
Step 4: Finish
After I reached a desired look and the entire piece had an even finish, it was time to wax! The reason I used finishing wax instead of Polyurethane on the base of the end table was because yellowing can occur when applying poly to white or very light surfaces. I just made sure to apply a very thick coat of wax, and give it a little extra drying time before working it in with a buffing rag or cheese cloth.
On the surface of the end table however I did use Satin Polyurethane to seal and protect because the "yellowing" issue is not a problem when working with Minwax stains.
Step 5: Hardware Revamp
Although the appearance of the original hardware was not repulsive by any means, I did feel that for the over-all look of my Farmhouse Chic end table, I needed my hardware to be a little more flashy! So I gave It a good old fashion scrubbing with soap and water. Next came a light sanding with affordable and practical ultra fine steel wool. I spray painted them with a Rust-Oleum gold spray paint I had left over from another project. Lastly, I gave it a good coating of clear lacquer for a long lasting finish that can experience lots of wear and tear..
And then Wammo! All finished! Here is the finished product!