How to Paint an Old Coffee Table: Transforming a Forgotten Piece of Furniture

I have always loved finding old and forgotten pieces of furniture and giving them a new lease on life. There is something truly satisfying about transforming an old coffee table that has been left to gather dust into a beautiful and unique piece that can take center stage in any room. Today, I want to share with you my step-by-step guide on how to paint an old coffee table and breathe new life into this forgotten piece of furniture.

Gather Your Supplies

Before we embark on our journey of transforming our old coffee table, we need to gather all the necessary supplies. Here’s a list of what you will need:

1. Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
2. Primer
3. Paint (latex or chalk paint)
4. Paintbrushes
5. Painter’s tape
6. Drop cloth or old newspaper
7. Screwdriver (if your table has any removable parts)
8. Clean cloth or sponge
9. Optional: wax or sealant for added protection

Step 1: Prepare the Surface

The first step in any painting project is preparing the surface. Start by cleaning the coffee table thoroughly, removing any dirt, dust, or grime. Use a clean cloth or sponge and some mild soap and water to give it a good scrub. Once it is clean, let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Sanding

Sanding is crucial for ensuring a smooth and even finish. Grab your medium-grit sandpaper and start sanding the entire surface of the coffee table. The goal here is to roughen up the existing finish to allow the new paint to adhere better. Focus on any areas with chipped or peeling paint, and don’t forget to sand the edges and legs as well.

Once you’re done with the medium-grit sandpaper, switch to the finer grit sandpaper for a final smooth finish. Make sure to wipe away any sanding dust with a clean cloth before proceeding to the next step.

Step 3: Apply Primer

Primer is an essential step when painting any piece of furniture, especially if the surface you’re working with has stains or an uneven color. It helps create a smooth and long-lasting finish. Apply a coat of primer to the entire coffee table, making sure to cover every nook and cranny. Allow the primer to dry completely before moving on to the fun part – painting!

Step 4: Choose Your Paint

Now comes the exciting part – choosing the paint color! Whether you prefer a classic white, a bold pop of color, or a distressed look with chalk paint, the choice is entirely up to you. Consider the overall style and decor of the room where the coffee table will be placed to ensure a cohesive look.

Step 5: Paint Away!

Once your primer is dry, it’s time to apply the paint. Using a paintbrush or a foam roller, apply a thin and even coat of paint to the coffee table. Work in long, smooth strokes, following the grain of the wood. Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying a second one if needed. Multiple thin coats are better than one thick coat as it prevents drips and promotes an even finish.

Step 6: Add Some Finishing Touches

Once you are satisfied with the coverage and color of the paint, let the final coat dry completely. If you want to add some extra protection and durability to your newly painted coffee table, consider applying a wax or sealant. These products will help protect the paint from scratches, stains, and everyday wear and tear.

Step 7: Reassemble and Enjoy!

If your coffee table had any removable parts, such as a glass top or a lower shelf, now is the time to reassemble them. Make sure everything is tightened properly. Once everything is back in place, step back and admire your beautiful creation. Your once-forgotten coffee table is now a stunning piece of furniture that will surely become the focal point of your room.


Transforming an old coffee table is not only a rewarding experience but also a great way to give new life to forgotten furniture. By following these simple steps – from surface preparation to the final coat of paint – you can unleash your creativity and create a unique and personalized piece that will bring joy and style to your home. So, go ahead and dust off that old coffee table, gather your supplies, and let your imagination run wild!

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