Painting Wood End Tables

If you are looking to add a little something extra to some old outdated end tables, then painting wood end tables is just for you! Plus, we added a little extra flare to these tables with some wood slats to give them a more trendy design.

Learn more about Heirloom Traditions Paint here.

square wooden end tables with wood veneer damage before makeover

These end tables were $15 each at our thrift store. But we’re going to make them over with some paint!

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Supplies Used For Painting Wood End Tables

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Clean Tables and Fix Chipped Wood

First, we got the tables ready for paint. I cleaned them off with Krud Kutter because you never know where thrifted furniture has been.

Krud Kutter removes grease, oils, and grime that could prevent the paint from sticking. So even though it’s annoying to do, I clean every piece that I makeover.

Learn more on how to clean furniture before painting here and learn more about what, why, and how to prepare furniture for paint here.

Then I had to fix all of the chipped wood. Learn more about how to fix chipped wood furniture here.

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These thin pieces of wood were chipped off in a couple of places, so I filled those in, and I filled in the shallow damage on the top.

filling chipped wood veneer with wood filler

I just used regular wood filler for these since all of the repairs were very minimal. Read through this post to learn more about the best wood fillers for furniture.

When I filled in these 2 bigger areas, I found out that the wood was loose. So I put some wood glue into the cracks and then I taped the wood down with some painter’s tape while the glue dried.

Here’s another post on fixing damaged wood furniture before painting using a glue method.

fixing chipped wood veneer with wood glue

Create A Wooden Dowel Furniture Look

Since the sides of the tables all had wood slats, I thought I would add more to create a more trendy look.

So I bought some ¼” square dowels, cut them to size, and played around with the spacing and amount of dowels. I ended up going with 4 dowels in each slot, and just kind of eyeballed the spacing.

At first, I used my pin nailer to attach them… but after the first side, it was giving me fits. I ran out of nails, and then it kept getting jammed.

pin nailing small square dowels to the end tables to create a wooden dowel furniture look

(I should have known it was going to give me fits. It did the same thing on this slatted wood dresser makeover too!)

So I ended up just gluing the dowels and putting tape over them to hold them in place while the glue dried.

Gluing and taping took a little longer than the pin nailer, except I didn’t have any fits with it. So it was probably faster in the end… at least that’s what I’m telling myself. haha

The next day I removed all of the tape… worried that the tape held the dowels in place. But they all were glued on well!

removing the painters tape that held the dowels in place while the glue dried

One or two shifted… or maybe that was just my bad placement. But… I’m honestly just choosing to ignore that. Haha It can be on the back. Right??

Fix Chipped Veneer (Again)

But I couldn’t ignore that the wood repair wasn’t fully glued down. I had only glued from the bottom before, so I missed gluing from the top.

So I filled those again, taped them in place, and waited 30 minutes.

While I waited for the glue to dry, I sanded the dry wood filler down flush with the surface with 220 grit sandpaper. Read this post to learn about the best sandpaper for furniture!

The wood filler on the top of one table didn’t feel like it was filled in all of the way, so I filled those spots in again. Since wood filler shrinks when it dries, I wasn’t surprised at all that I needed to fill it in again.

After the glue had dried for 30 minutes, I removed the tape, sanded the wood filler, and filled that spot again. Annnnd then I waited for that all to dry again before I sanded it back down flush again.

Sand Tables Before Painting

And then I continued sanding all over the tables. This step was just to lightly rough up the surface of the furniture to make it so the paint would stick to it better.

220 grit sandpaper is my favorite for this. Read this post to learn more about the importance of sanding before painting furniture!

scuff sanding the tables before painting

For all of the dowels, I used a fine grit foam sanding sponge since it was easier to hold onto for that area.

Technically, this paint and this primer that I’m using has amazing adhesive properties, so I probably didn’t HAVE to sand everything. But it will always help the paint and primer stick better.

Before I moved onto the next step, I cleaned up all of the dust with a vacuum and a tack cloth.

Best Primer For Painting Furniture

Then we took the tables outside and sprayed a coat of BIN shellac-based primer all over them. These 2 little tables took 1 whole spray can of primer.

I used this primer to help cover up the wood grain on the raw wood dowels, but it also has excellent adhesion, and it is really really good at blocking stains that come through the paint when you paint wood.

Check out the best primers for painting furniture here and the best primers to stop tannin bleed here.

Here’s a closeup of what it looked like when it was drying. There were a couple of spots where I sprayed too much in one area, and it looked pretty spotty.

closeup of spotty part of the end table primed with BIN shellac primer

After an hour the primer was completely dry. But one of the most annoying things about spraying this primer is that it dries with a really rough texture.

So, I sanded it all with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block.

The sanding made it feel smooth, but I was also easily able to sand out the spots where it puddled because I sprayed too much primer.

Even though it’s annoying to have to sand, this stuff is so easy to sand. It doesn’t clog up your sandpaper when you try to sand it an hour later, and it sands to a fine powder instead of gumming up.

After I sanded everything, I vacuumed up the dust and wiped everything down with a tack cloth.

Paint Tables with Heirloom Traditions Paint

Then it was time to paint!

mixing heirloom traditions paint in the color spruce

I used Heirloom Traditions Paint in the color Spruce. I really wanted to paint these black, but I thought the wood details would be lost, so I went for this shade of blue instead.

Check out this guide for painting furniture with Heirloom Traditions Paint.

Want to know how Heirloom Tradition paint compares? Check out Beyond Paint vs Heirloom Traditions Paint to learn more.

I poured it into a filter and into my Wagner paint sprayer so nothing in the paint would clog my sprayer.

And then I added a couple of ounces of water to thin the paint out so the sprayed paint would look better. Learn more about how to thin paint for Wagner FLEXiO sprayer here.

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Here’s another Heirloom Traditions Paint furniture makeover in this post about painting furniture without sanding or priming if you are planning on brushing or rolling it instead. If you want to try to use a paint sprayer, here’s my list of the best HVLP paint sprayers.

I tested out the spray on a piece of cardboard to make sure it was right, and then I sprayed the paint onto the tables.

With the dowels, I had to spray in every direction so I could get paint in between them all. So I sprayed the paint a little lighter than I typically would.

spraying heirloom traditions paint on the end tables

But, I also didn’t want to spray too thin of coats, because there needs to be enough paint for all of the speckles of paint to melt together and create a flawless texture-free finish.

I let the paint dry for a little over an hour. They were nice and dry and they looked awesome!! And they felt really smooth too!

Sanding Between Paint Coats

Just to be sure that the tops were going to feel nice and smooth when they were done, I sanded them lightly to remove any texture that was there.

Technically sanding between coats can help the paint adhere better too… but I mostly just sand in between coats so then the final coat of paint feels smooth to the touch.

I cleaned off the dust and then I sprayed another coat of paint.

Does Heirloom Traditions Paint Need a Topcoat?

Nope! This paint in particular doesn’t need a topcoat. It is really durable on its own, and it dries to a satin sheen. So there is no need. That’s one thing I LOVE about this paint.

Learn more about the pros and cons of Heirloom Traditions Paint here. Also, check out Heirloom Traditions Paint before and afters for more inspiration!

Check out my list of the best all-in-one paints for furniture for your future painting projects.

So after the 2nd coat of paint, I let it dry overnight. And then they were done! Watch the video of this makeover below.

And here is what they look like now! If you are looking for more fluted design furniture, here’s our list of DIY fluted furniture ideas.

closeup of the wooden dowels on the painted end tables
full view of the blue painted end tables with wooden dowels

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

top view of the blue painted end tables

Super cute huh? A little trendy, but not overly trendy right? What do you think of this color? It’s a little bold, but it’s muted, so it’s not too in your face.

Let me know what you think in the comments and I’ll catch you next time!

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Painting Wood End Tables

blue painted wood end tables with wooden dowels

Add a little extra flare to your old and outdated pieces with wood slats and fresh color. Here are the steps for painting wood end tables.


  1. Clean the furniture to prepare the furniture for paint. Fix any chipped and damaged areas by filling them in with wood filler and wood glue.
  2. Cut up wooden dowels to size and play around with the spacing to where you want to put them. Glue the dowels in place on the dresser and tape over them to hold them while they dry.
  3. Once the glue is dry, lightly scuff sand the dresser all over with 220 grit sandpaper. This is for the paint to stick to the dresser better. Clean up all of the dust from sanding with a vacuum and tack cloth.
  4. Now, Apply a coat of primer all over the end tables. The primer can dry with a really rough texture so you should sand everything smooth again. Vacuum all the dust as well.
  5. Pour Heirloom Traditions Paint into a filter and into your paint sprayer. Add a couple of ounces of water to thin the paint. Then spray paint onto the tables. Sand between coats to make sure everything's smooth.
  6. Let the end tables dry overnight.

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square wooden end tables with wood veneer damage


  1. Love the color. Sometimes we just need to get out of our comfort zone. That’s when create the coolest things!

  2. You make everything seem so easy. I love, love, love your web site
    Thank you.

  3. Esmé Slabbert says:

    This is so beautiful and I just love the color
    Thanks so much for participating and sharing at SSPS 292. See you again next week!

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