I’ve never purchased a coffee table. It’s the center of my living room, something we look at and use multiple times per day, and yet the chipped, run-down table that’s been in my possession for six years never got the attention it deserved. Until now!
My mom gifted me our coffee table back when my (now) husband and I moved in together before we got married. It had good bones, and a nice shape, but it was in need of a facelift. For six years it was a “high priority” on my to-do list, but somehow between planning a wedding, moving three times, and having a baby, it just never happened.
This weekend I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I did it.
Here’s the “before” — solid wood, yet a cherry finish that just didn’t really go with the rustic, neutral tone vibe that I’m trying to create in our new house.
I didn’t really get a good shot of the top, but the finish had worn off in several places. On top of that, when we moved my husband placed duct tape over all our drawers, leaving behind a sticky residue (next to the space where the drawer should be). Not important for my story today, but just a general note to never do that.
First step was to sand it down to the original wood. I’m not sure if I was just in the honeymoon period of the project, but sanding was surprisingly satisfying and fun. I used an electric hand sander, and I would never ever attempt anything otherwise. There were a few tiny nooks that the sander didn’t reach, so I had to sand those by hand (which wasn’t fun — not even a little bit).
I was going for a distressed, barn wood look, so I chose Minwax Dark Walnut for my stain. The guy at the hardware store convinced me I needed the large size, although I barely made a dent in it and the smallest size would have worked just fine.
Since I wanted to achieve that distressed, uneven look, I only let the stain sit on the wood for about a minute before wiping the excess off (typically, 5-15 minutes is recommended). I also was doing this project during a heatwave, so my drying time was a bit expedited. So was my sweating time.
Everything was working out nicely, until I got to the base board. I stained it, then realized that I had somehow not sanded down enough on the middle, and the stain wouldn’t stick. So, I sanded again, and stained again.
For my finish, I used Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane in clear satin, and as you can see, a dirty brush. Whatever, it worked just fine. Again, going for the rustic feel, I didn’t want a ton of gloss so I applied the same technique as the stain and wiped the excess off after about a minute.
Finished vs. unfinished….mmmm…..
Look at those distressed nooks and crannies! Had the original wood not already had such character, I would have made some of my own by banging it up a bit. But I’m glad I didn’t have to since I’m not completely comfortable with tools yet and the thought made me nervous. And let’s be real, I probably would have broken something.
And voila! The finished product:
Rustic wood deserves to be served with wine and cheese. Plus I deserved it for all that sanding.