Thursday, 23 January 2014

Table transformation

{my newly restored coffee table}

I have a lot of different coffee tables, more than is normal for the average person. But I will say that rooms of different shapes and sizes produce their own unique coffee table requirements, so it's not just a case of one coffee table fits all.

So in this new house, I'd realised that our optimum coffee table size was long and thin, so the two exiting very square tables we have, and a round coffee table, were redundant. I spotted this table for sale on eBay which was only 10 miles away, and got it for a steal at £6. I am annoyed because I can't find the photo of it when I first picked it up, which showed it in a right state, with water marks and heat marks all over it, but believe me when I say it was not in good nick.

A long time ago I did a Furniture Restoration course at night school, which gave me a little bit of confidence in knowing how to approach the task. But the basic tactic was to strip it, sand it and varnish it. I needed to buy a scraper, varnish remover, wire wool, sandpaper, white spirit and some varnish, and I chose to go for a clear, matt varnish, trying to avoid anything which had too much of a shine.

{the first coat of stripper - you can just see underneath how marked the table was}

{starting the scraping - requires much elbow grease}

{wire woolling after the first initial scrape}

{careful - wire wool will damage your manicure...}

Then I repeated the stripping and wire wool process about three times to get a really even finish, cleaning the table after wire wooing with some white spirit, to get all of the dust out. And just as I thought the end was in sight, disaster struck and I spilt a WHOLE GLASS OF RED WINE over the table. That was not a good evening. I shoved the table out of the way under the stairs and didn't look at it for a few weeks whilst I sulked.

And then I got back on it. White spirit is great for cleaning furniture like this, and it took pretty much all of the red wine stain out, and then a light sand was all it needed to remove it completely. Before I could spill anything else over the table I applied three coats of varnish, lightly sanding between each coat.

I am chuffed with the finished result, especially because the whole thing which materials (of which I already had some in stock) cost me less then £25. I only worked on the top of the table, as the rest of it was in good shape.

{the newly positioned foot pouffe)

But all that hard work has meant that I am now very protective of the table, so woe betide anyone who tries to put their feet up on it, or put a drink on it without a coaster. They will feel my wrath. So I moved the Moroccan pouffe to the end of the table where we sit the most to assist with foot propping.

{gold lacquered tray from Zara Home}

And I bought a tray to provide some protection for the table and house a collection of accessible-at-all-times coasters. In fact, the tray cost more than the whole coffee table project. What a fancy tray. Nice though. I was torn between the gold one and this much more reasonably priced one from Habitat. But bling won.

And then when I was flicking through an issue of Living Etc magazine, look what I saw. Sure. I bet they didn't pay £6 for theirs. 

{as seen in Living Etc, December 2013}


  1. Nice table by the way- if you fancy a sander or any of that stuff- I have all the gear ten minutes away.

    1. Oh now you tell me, I was dreaming of a sander when I was scraping away for hours. However, I do have an old desk which is my next project so yes, I may like to get my hands on that sander. x

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