Last week on the blog I talked about my “clean slate” decorating process. Times they are a’ changin’ over at The Steel Fox Home. So as we were transitioning into our fresh new style, there were some causalities. More than a few pieces were given away or donated. But honestly our coffee table took me by surprise. It wasn’t something we had put on our “need-a-new-one-for-the-new-house” list, and I really hadn’t given it any thought. It was a pretty piece, solid wood and in good shape. I had thought in the past about refinishing it, but really never had the motivation. But when we started moving our furniture into the house it just stuck out like a sore thumb.
The honey oak color did fine in our old home with its warmer color scheme. But with the cooler colors of the floors, walls and trim in our new home, it was just out of place. While of course I wanted to use this as an excuse to go shopping for the perfect coffee table oozing with vintagey goodness… the reality was that this renovation had given us diarrhea of the wallet. I needed a budget friendly alternative. My husband was (still) on the road, so I thought this would be a fun project for me to do myself.
I decided I wanted to stain the top a super dark, almost-black brown to tie into the color of the couch, and paint the legs a distressed white to tie into… well, pretty much everything else. I read a few DIY tutorials, researched a few different products, and headed to Lowe’s. I then stood thoughtfully in the paint and stain aisle, spent a few minutes pretending like I knew what the heck I was doing, and ultimately decided that I was just going to wing it. So I came home with these three products that I had never used before.
Stain and poly in one sounds a lot like my kind of party. I’m all about eliminating steps, mostly because I am impatient.
I looked at chalk paint, but this furniture paint was a little bit cheaper and you got a lot more of it for the price. I didn’t even get it tinted, I just brought it home as the bright white base color. Professional status y’all. I hope you’re taking notes.
Valspar Antiquing Glaze
I knew I wanted something to help me give the white paint a vintage look. I also knew that something called “glaze” existed. I had never worked with glaze before, but this was a low-risk project for me. One: the table was free. Two: if I fail I can sand it down and try again. Sounds like a great time to try something new.
So now that I literally had three randomly-selected products at my disposal, it was time to get started.
Step one was sanding. I sanded the top down completely, removing all layers of stain and finish. Then I continued to sand it down with progressively higher grit sandpaper until it was smooth. Since I was painting the legs, I just gave them a rough sanding by hand.
Next I painted the furniture paint on the legs, and I’m telling you I was amazed. One coat was all it needed. When I came back the next morning, it dried perfectly with no brush marks. Seriously what is this stuff? Not only that, I hardly used any of the can.
Once it was dry I went through with sand paper and distressed the paint. No rhyme or reason to this, you really can’t mess it up. I made sure to hit raised areas and corners, but other than that is was just random.
The final step for the legs was adding the glaze. The teeniest tiniest bit goes a long way with this stuff. I think I will have this jar of glaze forever. I just barely dipped a paint brush in, and brushed the goo all over one leg. You’ll want to work in small sections because it does dry pretty fast (also because of this there wasn’t really time to take pictures during this process). I let it sit for just a few seconds, and then wiped it off with a rag. I also used the rag to rub and blend the glaze into the other sections as I worked. This was the fastest step in the whole project.
It also darkened the parts of the wood that were showing through, so I didn’t have to worry about staining the legs a darker color before I painted and distressed them. Another step skipped! Score!
Now that the legs were done, it was time to stain the top. I had saved the top for last because I wanted to be able to flip the table over to get to some of the harder places on the legs (and to save my back) and not have to worry about messing up the finish.
The stain was stupid easy as well. I used a sponge brush to apply the stain and I did three coats.
After the first coat…
And after the third coat…
After each coat dried I lightly sanded with super fine sand paper, and I gave the final coat a once over with steel wool.
The orangey- oak is no more, and now it fits in perfectly in our new living room. I love how the dark, sleek top leans modern, but then it brings on the rustic farmhouse vibes with the distressed white. It’s everything The Steel Fox Home is all about! (If you’re struggling with figuring out what your home is all about, check out my posts on how to find your starting point for your own personal design style, and 5 Tips on How to Transition to a New Décor Style!)
This thrown-together, totally non-professional DIY tutorial should make it pretty clear what level I’m on with this stuff. This was the first piece of furniture I ever refinished, and I cannot overstate this enough: If I can do it ANYONE can do it.
Let me know if you have any questions, or if you have any go-to furniture refinishing products I need to know about. Now that I’ve done one… nothing around here is safe!