Sprucing up boring furniture on the cheap

tablesOne of the hubbies favorite things about Christmas is that we move “his” recliner and side table next to the couch (thereby allowing him to watch tv from it) in order to make room for our tree.  Yet this year, when we put the room back in its normal arrangement, what he missed most wasn’t even the recliner next to the couch, it was the side table.

So, we started the hunt for an inexpensive circular side table, no bigger than 20″ wide.  After visiting a few different websites, we stumbled on this tablefrom Wayfair, that was on sale for $49 as part of a deal of the day.  We liked the Art Deco look of it, and the “Antique Copper” finish looked like it would work with our other living room furniture.

Well, fast forward a week, and the table arrives…only it’s not “Antique Copper”.  What we had really ordered was a cheap steel table that’s been spray painted gold.  Womp-womp.

Still, undeterred, I liked the original shape, and felt fairly confident that I could fix it up a bit.  A quick trip to the craft store and I was armed with a tube of dark sienna colored acrylic paint, a bag of glass rocks (like the type you put in the bottom of a fish tank or in a jar of flowers…) and some super glue.  Total cost of supplies? Under $15.

Using a dry natural-bristle paint brush, I very lightly brushed on the acrylic paint.  The goal for this sort of treatment isn’t to get full coverage, but rather to let the underlying paint color show through.  Concentrating on the top edge and the corners throughout, I soon had a piece that looked more like oil-rubbed bronze than cheap spray-painted metal.

But I wasn’t finished.  Up next, I glued the glass rocks smooth side down in a random pattern to give the top of the table a little more character. I chose fairly neutral colored pieces, including clear, again to let the natural color shine through.  Within an hour, I was gluing the last piece on, and had a completed table in time for the Super Bowl this afternoon.

So that’s it.  An hour’s work and $15 worth of elbow grease and we now have a custom end table.  Not too shabby.