New Life for a Sofa Table


We've needed something to hold our remotes, snacks, and drinks out of reach of our toddler while we laze about on the couch watching TV or reading. So I jumped at the chance to buy this sofa table for $25 on a Facebook yardsale page.

The legs were pretty beat up, but it was solidly built and would only need a refreshed finish to give it new life.

Unfortunately, when I started sanding the legs, I soon discovered that the table was covered in a thin, beautiful veneer. Removing the finish, staining, and refinishing was unfortunately no longer an option. I wanted to keep the beautiful top, where the glossy finish hadn't been disturbed much. But I would have to paint the legs to cover the less-than-beautiful wood under the veneer. I decided to paint the legs, keep the top, and do a thin colored wash of the decorative sides between the top and the legs.

First, I used sandpaper to scuff up the rest of the legs, then wiped them clean. Even if you're using chalk paint, it's a good idea to scuff the surface first, especially if it has a glossy finish. You want to paint to adhere well to the surface, otherwise your paint is likely to peel.

I also used a fine grit sandpaper sponge to lightly scuff the sides of the table, where I wanted to preserve the veneer and do my paint wash. I also wiped these clean. It's best to have a clean surface before you paint. I then used painter's tape to tape off the sections of table that I didn't want to get paint on, so I wouldn't have to worry about paint drips or mistakes.

I painted the legs with two coats of Peacock Waverly Chalk paint (from Walmart). Then I diluted some of that paint with water in a 1:1 ratio. This was what I used as my wash for the sides of the table. After the paint on the sides dried, I used a fine sandpaper sponge to scuff the paint and give it a distressed look. Since I used a paint wash, I actually had to be careful not to remove too much paint. I paid close attention to the sections surrounding the engraved lines, to offset them from the surrounding wood and to give them depth.

At this point, I reassembled the table, removed the tape, and wiped the table clean in preparation for adding a finish.

I chose a glossy polycrylic for the finish because I wanted to blend the finish with the glossy finish on the top, and polycrylic is my absolute favorite finish. It's durable, beautiful, easy, and quick-drying.

I applied three coats of the polycrylic, sanding lightly between the second and third coats. I allowed the final coat to dry for 24 hours before moving it into the house.


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