How to refinish a table

I talk to my house.

All the time.

It’s a running conversation.

Sometimes we talk about refinishing a table or new burlap curtains or how the butler’s pantry was acting up last week.

I’m always telling it how cute it is and how skinny it looks in its lace jeans and that I’m so glad it got its roots done and what a perfect shade of lipstick the library is wearing.

And that I’m so happy it loves yard sales as much as I do.

Because there’s nothing like a really good yard sale find.


Well…..except maybe the side of the road.

Or a really great no-bake recipe for the Fourth of July.

Or transforming a really good yard sale find and into something extraordinary…..

…..and telling your house all about it. 🙂

Refinishing a table to revamp your space

This table didn’t start out like this.

It wasn’t holding its head up high.

It was sad and neglected and a little despondent.

The top was damaged with white rings and deep gouges and looked a little…..

Here's how the table top looked before I refinished

….like this.

It totally needed a make-over.

So I decided to transform the top.

I created a faux wood top with painter’s tape and different colors of stain.

How to stain a table top with Minwax wood finish

I sanded the top completely down to reveal the pattern in the table top.

I used 60 grit sandpaper to make sure all the old surface was removed.

Then to seal the wood….I applied a layer of natural stain.

Let dry according to directions.

I used painters tape to scratch a pattern into the top

Next….I taped out a border with painter’s tape and a center square.

I used my Kroger card to score the tape.

Make sure all edges of the tape are securely attached to prevent the stain from bleeding under the tape.

I applied Dark Walnut stain.

I applied stain to part of the table and when done it looked like this.After it dried….I removed the tape to reveal this pattern.

I could have stopped there.

But why?  🙂

I added criss cross tape to mimic the look of inlaid woodI crisscrossed the tape to mimic the look of inlaid wood.

Each square is approximately 2″ x 2″.

I also covered the edges of the dark walnut to make sure the edges stayed crisp.

Apply dark walnut stain to the edges of the tape

Next I applied Special Walnut stain (a lighter color than the Dark Walnut).

Let dry according to directions.

Then removed the tape.

Here's how the stain looked before the clear coatHere’s what the pattern looked like before I applied a clear coat of semi-gloss polyurethane.

You can see the layers of stain really work well together.

Here's how the table looked when all was said and done

I love it.

It looks worn and a little faded and has the texture and appearance of a fine antique.

On a yard sale budget.

The end. 🙂

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  1. Image for pam clark pam clark

    love, love, love! I was just thinking the other night about what we're all going to do with this painted furniture when that goes out of fashion!

    1. Image for Rose L Rose L

      I was too! And wondering if every antique my kids and grand kids find in their futures will be painted. Note to self: Buy some stock in a stripper company.

  2. Image for Gretchen Gretchen

    That table is just beautiful. The way you taped and stained it, made an average table a sensational table. Good job girl!

  3. Image for Gayle Maestri Gayle Maestri

    Fantastic find and fantastic job! I'm glad to see you bring something dark into that corner. I have a friend who is a professional designer and she always says that every room needs something black "dark" do anchor the room. Good job! Love the inlaid look!

  4. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Beautiful, just beautiful! Thank you for all that you share with us, your followers, your FANS. We love you...and we love your house too! Lisa from Indiana. PS. I'm getting ready to paint my dining room this weekend. Rice Grain by Sherwin Williams - YES... I got my inspiration from your home. ♥

  5. Image for Patty Patty

    That is one of the most original refinishing jobs I've ever seen ! It's gorgeous ! Kudos to you for coming up with this. Hope you don't mind me pinning this in my Furniture Finishes ! GREAT inspiration for others, thank you!

  6. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Oh, you know I love a happy ending! She's beautiful...gorgeous! Do you have any idea what kind of wood she's made of? I keep calling it 'her'...maybe you could name her! Regardless...she's very high end! Happy Weekend! ;)

  7. Image for Kate Avery Kate Avery

    Ahhh!!!!! I love this idea! You win the day! The result is spectacular, and you did such a fabulous job bringing that oak top back to life. Heartfelt congrats on giving a beautiful antique a second chance :)

  8. Image for Pamela from Flower Patch Farmhouse Pamela from Flower Patch Farmhouse

    My house NEEDS a good talking too. The poor thing has been sadly neglected of late. From the outside it looks charming and lovely but on the inside, an entirely different story. There is a huge Bowflex sitting in the middle of my living room! My husband's bright idea. I wonder if he would notice if I sold it..... Lovely job on the table, love reviving a thrift store find or one found on the roadside. I have yet to find one but someday, if I do, I will know how to fix it. :D

  9. Image for annel annel

    GREAT JOB Karianne!!! I just bought two little harp end tables real cheap, I Annie Sloaned (The self made colors, that is!) them in a similar way...have a BLESSED DAY! ;-)

  10. Image for Dotte Dotte

    Just beautiful! I just purchased a nice side table which is in excellent condition except for the top and I had no idea what to do with it except slap some paint on it. Not anymore.... I thank you and my husband thanks you, He really hated that I was going to paint it!!!

  11. Image for Lois Lois

    OMG! love it! I have just found a beautiful little oak side table, it was left behind when a family moved down the road....As I passed it, it waved to me and asked if it could jump in the back of the pickup I said why not? its been sitting in the garage getting acquainted with the "Other" orphans....but now you have given me an idea! so off I go to make these little finds part of the family! I love the trellis look on top of the table! great go girl!! TGIF.... Lois from PA

  12. Image for Regina Regina

    Dare I say it? You are a genius. Seriously. I love this. I have a little table in our building that is simply crying out for special treatment, and THIS is special treatment! :) Happy sun-shiny Friday!

  13. Image for Gee Gee

    Oh well done!!! It is wonderful... does look like w well worn antique. Hmmm... thinking... thinking... You inspire me Lady!!! Hugs, Gee

  14. Image for Elisabeth Elisabeth

    And that is why we LOVE you! I was going to comment on your post a couple of days ago about your cute daughter, I loved that story, but what really got me giggeling was your comment on your yard ornament...sorry, that is just how I am. And I totally love crisp white linens that has sun dried on the clothesline!

  15. Image for Stacy Stacy

    I love the table. From one DIY girl to another "How Wonderful!". I always have a project going too so you are a great inspiration. Having to move soon so had a contractor paint the new house but I'm having fun on all the small projects to give it LIFE!

  16. Image for Sue Sue

    Once again you hit it out of the park, KariAnne! Who else but you would think of such an ingenious way to refinish a needy table?

  17. Image for Mah Mah

    Of course you did! I never go to garage sales, because I might find something! Of course if I find it along the road I have to stop and bring it home!!

  18. Image for Lisa Conforto Lisa Conforto

    I love the look, this is a refreshing application that you have done......seeing too much of the same paint treatments out there everything starts to look the same. This is totally refreshing and is the star of your room.

  19. Image for Zolane Zolane

    Do you know how long I could stare at a piece of furniture and still not come up with this? I'm not talking hours...I'm talking years. No more staring for me and no more pressure. I am and will be one of your happiest and loyal-est - that SHOULD be a word :) - followers and that's all the inspiration I need! Love the table and the idea of layering stain...BRILLIANT!

  20. Image for penny penny

    I love that I can hear your sweet voice in my head when I read you here. Great tape job, gotta get me a Kroger card. Happy Summer! Love, Penny

  21. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    You did a remarkable job as always Kari..The table is gorgeous and love your technique!...Now if the house "talks back" let me know what it says!!!

  22. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    This came out gorgeous!! It really needed some TLC and you gave it a great look. Very creative but then again I am not surprised. Sorry I am responding so late but things have been vey hectic, via my blog. Cynthia

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