Beach house style coffee table

12:04 PM

If you follow me on Instagram, and I think I made it pretty clear that you should in my last post, you'll know that I have been in massive DIY mode this Sunday.

It started with me painting an old lantern in chalk paint (I'll get to that in another blog post...soon) and that ended with me being so ridiculously smitten with it that I ran a test on my coffee table with the remaining paint.

It could have stopped here, I could have decided to give it a day or two before going on with my plan, but that is really not how I go about artsy crafty stuff and DIY. When I have THE idea, I go all out, right here right now.
Beside it's not like the plan of painting our really ugly coffee table was new. I've been thinking about it for months.
Because, that coffee table has been an eyesore for years now. We bought it in 2010, and in those 8 year it got scratched, it got stained by paint, it got doodled on when Ishita was little, and last but not least the maid in our previous flat felt the need to "try" to scrub it clean with a kitchen scrubber instead of dusting it.
Needless to say the end result is a hot mess of peeled varnish, uneven colors and a distressed look that just go way way beyond cute and trendy (it was close to junkyard distressed people!)

There are no shortage of pictures of that table in my archive, so here is one to refresh your memory :

It doesn't look that bad in pictures, but that is because the picture is bright, and distance is a real blessing, still you can probably spot some of the blotches  still. the top left corner of that table is a good sample of how crappy the rest of the table is.

So as I said, the first thing I did was do a test swatch with the chalk paint :

Please excuse my cat for photobombing this picture and excuse the bad lighting as well, it was a rainy day.
You can notice on this picture that  there is one of these infamous kink and varnish fading spot. Again, I am not exaggerating when I say that the whole table looks that bad.

Anyway, at this point I am sure you are eagerly waiting for the details about the paint, so I will not make you wait any longer.
I used chalk paint from Itsy Bitsy, in two colors: the table top is in "Whipped Seafoam" and the table's leg are painted in "Sailing Sky" . Itsy Bitsy doesn' have an affiliate programme, so these links are good old regular ones with no strings attached by the way.

In the test picture above, I experienced with a small brush and a dabbing sponge to see what looked best. I ended up going with a regular craft paint foam roller for the first two coat, and a broad flat brush for the last coat.
The foam rollers I used are the basic one you can find in every craft store and on Amazon (yes that link is an affiliate link by the way). The flat brushes are also pretty standard and similar to these. I used a broad brush for the table top painting, a medium brush for the varnish and a small art flat brush for the small areas.

And yes, before I go on about the process, you will need to varnish your table, so do make sure you pick some at the same time you buy the chalk paint. I bought the Matte Varnish from Itsy Bitsy which is meant to go with their chalk paint.

Quantity wise, I had half a bottle of seafoam paint leftover from my lantern project and I bought two more for the coffee table and it was a bit too tight. It could have been more comfortable with 3 bottles of 60ml  each.
I bought 2 bottles of Sailing Sky color and I went through a tad bit over one bottle on the leg, which by the way look like this :

The first step in painting furniture (or any surface for that matter) is to make sure it's clean and dust free. So I started by seriously washing my coffee table clean of all oil residues, food stains, and whatnot. Since at this point I did not need to save the varnish or anything, I used the kitchen spray cleaner and plenty of tissue to wipe all the gunk away. Then I let it dry a bit before sanding it.

Now, with chalk paint you don't really need to sand your furniture, or prime them, but in the case of our coffee table, getting rid of some of the fine scratches and uneven bit of varnish was a good idea. In the end I did want this table to look aged, but not in a crappy way, so I used some fine grit sandpaper (320 grit if you know the pro terms) and lightly rubbed the whole surface and then wiped the dust off before painting.

I used a 5 cm wide foam roller to apply two coats of paint on the table top. One coat in the direction of the length of the table, and another in the direction of the width.
In fine rolled coats the paint dries very quickly, so I didn't have much time to wait for those to dry and this is how it looked after those two coats of paint :

The first coat (or two) in a paint job always acts as a primer, so it's ok if the paint isn't even or if some of the original wood color still shows through.
After I was done with those two coats, I let it dry for about half an hour just to be on the safe side, then I lightly sanded the paint to get rid of some of the too obvious roller streak marks, dusted it off and applied the final coat of paint.
The last coat of paint was applied with a wide flat brush, and the coverage was really good, but as said previously, if I had bought 3 bottle instead of 2, I might have done a 4th coat to even it out a little bit more, especially since this color is a very light one.

Once the table top was done, I painted the leg in "sailing sky", that paint is darker and the coverage is better than the seafoam one. I still applied two coats with a roller, and then two coats with a flat paint brush. I also used some of the blue paint to highlight the carving in the center of the table top, then I let the table dry completely for one hour before varnishing it.

The label on the matte varnish bottle said to apply 2-3 coats on tables and other heavily used furniture. The 100ml bottle I bought is good enough for those 2 coats, in fact I have enough left to do a 3rd coat on the table top, which I will do tonight. The instruction is to let the varnish dry completely  before adding the next coat. It feels dry to the touch in less than an hour, but with varnishes it pays to wait a few hours between coat so it has plenty of time to harden. I did the first coat last evening, and the second one this morning.

Over all the table looks awesome, hubby has already said about 10 times that the table looks amazing and that it really makes the room brighter and more cheerful.
Since it's chalk paint, it will give a matte look, and because the table top is in a light shade and the table is still distressed enough, it gives a kind of beach house vibe to our living room. The seafoam color has that effect to make the table look like it's been made from painted and white washed driftwood which is a very neat effect.

If matte, slightly distressed furniture is not your style, you might want to check if painting your table in paint lacquer isn't a better solution. But if you go that route, you'll need to sand, prime and work in a very airy space because oil based paint are usually emitting toxic fumes.

Next on the agenda in our living room is painting the TV cabinet, and later on the dinning table as well. We are at a stage were we are BORED to death with dark wood furniture that makes the space look twice smaller than it actually is.

To paint a coffee table in chalk paint, count about 6-7 hours of work, so definitely get to it on a weekend with not much to do. 

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  1. Anonymous7:47 PM

    Fabulous. The blue and white combination is great. The blue square in the middle only enhances the look.

    That centre table reminds me of our family centre table which underwent a lot of repairs and was ultimately abandoned. There are a few other ancient furniture in our home. They could do with some similar creative makeover.


    1. Well technically this is not white, but a very light blue green color commonly called sea foam. It looks white in some pictures but it is anything but so :-)

      Painting furniture is a pretty easy fix for old ugly ones. And a trendy one at that, I think a lot of people end up being stuck with the idea that the only thing that can be done to old furnitures is to strip the varnish, re-stain and re-varnish. This comes with limitations, for example a dark wood can't be made lighter and will only have to be re-stained in a similar or darker tone.

      I have a feeling that with the arrival of IKEA in India we are going to see a big shift in trends in India, especially in cities where light and bright furniture work better in a small space.

      This change of color on my coffee table has drastically changed the whole feel of the sofa area, it's not a huge table, but when it was dark it was looking big because it was that big dark thing sitting right smack in the middle.

      In the next few months I think will work on the dinning table, but only after we've reupholstered the dinning chairs. I am certain that that window less nook is going to come alive with a bright sea foam table and chairs. Right now the dinning table is as abused and distressed as the coffee table was.


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