DIY Coffee Table Makeover

Ok so we are already 16 days into the New Year…have you failed at your resolutions already? If not, you go Glen Coco! But if you have (like me) then you better tune in. I want to take the next year and dive into some great topics. We are going to venture into new recipes, home décor, DIY projects, holiday decorating, journaling, and SO MUCH MORE. First off, we are going to start with a little DIY project. I swear, nothing makes you feel better than seeing a piece of furniture go from something you hated into your favorite piece of furniture. (Plus bragging rights that you did it yourself!)

I am all about buying a piece of furniture that needs a little love, but sometimes the thought of redoing it to make it fit in my home can seem a little daunting....until now. Grab your dated coffee table and see how easy a transformation can be.

So here is my coffee table. As you can see it is a little weathered and a little dated, but hey I bought this baby for a steal at $35. Be sure that your table is solid wood and not just a veneer…that will not work for this project.

Start by setting your table out on a drop cloth (fabric or plastic is fine for this), and wipe your table down well. You want to be sure that the surface is clean from any oils or dirt that could prohibit the product from working to its full capacity.

For the first part of this process, I used Citristrip Stripping Gel (from Home Depot) a METAL paint pan, and a 2" paint brush. Why the metal pan? The chemicals in this paint stripper will disinigrate your plastic ones, also WEAR GLOVES. As amazing as this stuff smells, it still has lots of chemicals that are very harsh on the skin.

Start by pouring a pretty decent amount into your pan. I find it is easier to then take your brush and pick up a pretty big glob and start working that around the table. Remember: Thicker layers of this product are better so don’t be afraid of over using this product.

Now it’s time to wait. As you can see in this picture (taken about 20 minutes after application) it is already starting to crack the surface paint. That means its working! But that doesn’t mean that its ready. Give your table at least an hour to fully cure the Citristrip on the surface.

For this next step you will need a couple things: a plastic scraper and a very abrasive sponge (or steel wool). After your hour or so has past (varies depending on each table and previous finishes), take your spatula and test a little area to see if it comes off easily. If it does not, you need to let it sit for a while longer. Reapply that area and walk away for another 30 minutes or so. Now, if it’s ready, be sure to have your gloves on and a plastic bag nearby to dispose of the goo that is about to come off of your table.

As you can see, it comes off very easily; this step should take very little effort to scrape the product off. I like to start at one edge of the table and use long vertical motions to get everything off.

This is after all of the product had been removed from the coffee table. As you can see, there is still some residue left over (totally normal).

Next, grab a bucket and some cleaning vinegar. Fill the bucket with equal parts hot water and vinegar. You will need a rag (one that you dont mind possibly throwing away) and your abrasive sponge to wipe all remaining residue and product off. The purpose of using the vinegar is to really clean out the wood grain and fully strip any remaining oils or dirt out of the pores of the wood to ensure the new stain will go on evenly.

After you have wiped all of the residue off, allow your table to fully dry. It is best to let it dry overnight, but if you are impatient like I am, you can place your table in the sun to help speed the process along. Now its time to get out your stain. (I used Varathane "Sun Bleached") Be sure to mix it incredibly well to ensure an even color tone. I personally prefer using a rag and dipping it into the stain and applying it that way, brushes seem to leave brissels and streaks behind, You can use a foam brush in those hard to reach places if you need to. Try to get the stain as even as you can. A little stain goes a long way so start off with just a little.

There you have it! You have now succesfully redone your coffee table. Be sure to allow your table plenty of time to dry so the stain cures properly and isnt tackey to the touch. You can also apply a clear protective coat to lock in your stain and help protect it from wear and tear.


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you have any questions or comments, be sure to write in the comment box below.