How to Makeover That Boring Bedside Table

How to Makeover That Boring Bedside Table

You guys. I did a fun thing.

I think I bought this table from Target when I got my first apartment in college. We won't talk about how many eons ago that was, but suffice it to say it's been a while. It has been serving as a bedside table in my under-decorated guest room for many years or so.

I recently decided to put it in the yard sale pile but then...I got an idea. And well, here we are.

How to Makeover Your Bedside Table: Before
How to Makeover Your Bedside Table: Disassembled

Safety First

Before getting started on the details, let me say to be sure to wear heavy duty chemical-resistant gloves when using paint stripper. It will burn your skin. Also, work in a well-ventilated area and wear a chemical filter mask. Always follow the safety instructions that come on whatever products you purchase. I want to be clear that I didn't buy either the gloves or chemical mask from Amazon. I think I picked up both at Lowe's a while back. Just giving you an example visual since I don't have a picture.

Break Down and Strip

After a quick break down of the table, it was time to strip it. I used Formby's Paint and Poly Remover, which works great on polyurethane (and paint). Whichever brand you use, be sure to read the directions thoroughly and leave it on the full time recommended so it can do all the hard work for you.

LESSON LEARNED: Also, don't be stingy with it. Paint on a nice thick layer all over your piece with a cheapo paintbrush. It's more trouble than it's worth to try to clean the paintbrush when you're using stripper, so just plan to toss it after. I keep a stash of paint brushes from the dollar store for just this kind of project.

I did take pictures of this part of the process but evidently deleted them. I'm sorry. To make up for it, here's a picture of an indignant bear. You're welcome.

Sleepy Bear

Moving on...

Strip the Stripper

That doesn't sound right...Anyway, once the stripper has time to do its magic, it's time to scrape and clean it off. There are some great tools for making this as easy as possible. I used one of these Flexible Nylon Stripping Brush with Plastic Scraper and Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge. That scrub sponge was life-saving when it came to cleaning up the round legs and in the grooves.

side table makeover stripped with Oscar


Once the stripper was cleaned off, I gave it a wipe down with a wet cloth and let it dry a few minutes. Then it was time to sand. The shelves were super easy to sand with my handy-dandy electric sander my sweet parents bought me for my birthday. Thanks ,Mom and Daddy!!

Now, if you haven't discovered sanding sponges, you're missing out! It can be really challenging to sand round things like table legs, especially with turned grooves in them. With a sanding sponge, life is so much easier because it better conforms to the shape. You GOTTA add this to your list of must-have DIY tools!!

The Fun Stuff - Stain and Paint

Now that the icky part is out of the way, it's time for pretties. I happened to have a few little containers of paint samples from Lowe's sitting around so I choose this blue-teal color. You can get a sample of pretty much any color you can think of for a couple of bucks. It is usually enough for most small projects. Here's the fancy way we paint table legs at my house. Ignore the Epsom salt. It's waiting for me to sit down and soak my feet at the end of the day. :)

I used a 1-inch paint brush and applied 2 coats, letting it dry a couple of hours in between. I then let the second coat dry overnight.

How to Makeover Your Bedside Table: Painted Legs
How to Makeover Your Bedside Table: Painted Edges

I used Minwax Wood Finish Dark Walnut Penetrating Stain for the top and bottom of the shelves. I was careful to get the penetrating stain rather than the stain with poly. I did use a spray poly over the whole project to finish it. 

Here's the part where you don't judge me for being a slob while I work, cause well, this is my work table while the project was in progress. 

I found this great mandala stencil that I used on top and then taped off some of it to use a smaller piece of it on the bottom. There are some people who are good enough stencilers not to have to cover the part they aren't using. Yeah. I'm not one of them. I offer no apologies.

side table makeover stencil

I've gotta admit. I'm pretty stinking happy with how it turned out. It was late when I sprayed a final coat of poly on it and I had to bring it in to dry. The light isn't great, but you guys....look! So. Much. Happy.

LESSON LEARNED: I used a stencil paint to paint the mandalas. It was really thick which made it really easy to apply. But I have to say I'm not loving the texture "depth" it created. It feels like it could be pretty easy to chip, scrape or otherwise damage if you pulled something across the table. And it's thick enough that a glass wobbles ever so slightly. I think next time I'll try a regular paint instead. Wanted to try and show you so that's what the weird picture below is.

Bedside Table Makeover DIY
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