Long before I met him, my husband bought two used IKEA Lack side tables. They're still pretty sturdy, but also rather sad with their chips and scuffs. At first I thought to simply paint them, but then I discovered a beautiful, faint wood grain impressed on the veneer. It became my goal to bring out this faux wood grain in an unusual way.
First, I dismantled the table. It might actually be easier to paint the table if you don't do this. It was a simple matter or unscrewing the legs from the top, but if I'd left it together, I could have painted the entire thing much faster.
Before you start painting, make sure you put a drop cloth of some sort (newspaper, packing paper, etc) underneath your project first. Not only will it protect your floor from paint splatters, but it will protect your project from dirt on your garage floor.
I painted the entire table with a light blue chalk paint (Pool Waverly Chalk Paint from Walmart), making sure to apply in the direction of the grain. Be careful of drips. They can make a piece fun if you put them there intentionally, but they can also ruin the classiness of a good piece if they sneak themselves in. Once this dried, I double checked to make sure that the wood grain was still visible. If your layer is too thick, you can sand it lightly with a sanding sponge. Be careful around the edges, or you'll sand down to the original surface. Wipe the surface with a clean cloth to remove any dust.
Next, I diluted a regular turquoise multi-surface acrylic paint with water in a 1:1 ratio. This was the thin paint wash that I applied over the layer of chalk paint.
I applied three layers of glossy polycrylic, sanding between the second and third layers. I love polycrylic because it's durable, less expensive, clear, and easy to use.
Once the final polycrylic layer has dried for 24 hours, you're finished! You can bring that lovely side table back into your home.