Looking to update your living room without breaking the bank? A white painted coffee table with a weathered wood painted top might just do the trick. With a little creativity and some homemade chalk paint, you can transform an old, drab coffee table into a stylish centerpiece that complements your decor.
We’ll take you through our step-by-step process of how we gave our coffee table a much-needed facelift using chalk paint and a weathered wood effect on the top. We promise that by the end of this article, you’ll be inspired to start your own furniture makeover project!
This makeover is perfect for the DIY farmhouse lover and the funny thing is that I didn’t even realize that I was sitting on that much of a gem for MONTHS! Ooops!
Here is what it looked like before. You know, the usual. Wrong wood color, knicks, dings, dents and scratches. Unwanted and donated to a local thrift store.
I originally picked it up for its legs, or feet. Whatever you want to call them. I love love love how unique they are!
Of course, it had to pass the test of solid wood, working drawers, and a strong sturdy build too.
Supplies Used for White Painted Coffee Table
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- Krud Kutter
- 220 Grit Sandpaper
- General Finishes Stain Blocking Primer
- Behr Latex Paint
- Behr Paint – Suede Gray
- Behr Paint – Black
- Behr Paint – Kindling
- Behr Paint – White
- Calcium Carbonate Powder
- Wagner Paint Sprayer
- Waterbased Polyurethane
- Dark Walnut Stain / Brown Glaze
- New Knobs
Check out our top 10 list of the best painting furniture supplies!
Prepping Coffee Table
I started out by prepping it. You know the drill. Chalk paint calls for “no prep,” but I beg to differ. Especially when I’m selling these pieces and am looking for a long-lasting finish.
If you want to learn how to make money painting furniture, check out this post to learn more. And even if I was keeping it for myself, I would want all of my hard work to last a long time right??
The usual and the very basics. Get more details on prepping furniture for paint here!
Priming Coffee Table to Prevent Stains
I had a sneaky suspicion that this one was going to bleed. (You know those yellowish spots that won’t go away no matter how much paint you put on them?)
Spraying Chalk Paint onto Coffee Table
OF course, you hear me talking about it ALL THE TIME. And I should stop, but I won’t. Because I depend on this thing so much. I’ve had it for 2 full years and it has been my constant companion.
Update: Read my full honest Wagner Double Duty paint sprayer review (including how to use the dang thing) on my favorite Wagner paint sprayer here.
Check out the best Wagner paint sprayers for furniture here.
Only giving out on me a bit in the 100+ degree heat during the Arizona summer. I thought it was done for. Bought a new one, but held on to the old one just in case.
Well, I was in a pinch one day, pulled the old sprayer back out, and wham. It still worked its magic. It just needed a rest from 100+ degrees.
Of course, you can brush on the paint with your favorite brush too! Check out my list of the best paint brushes for painting furniture here. But I prefer the brush-free and faster way.
But once all of the coats of white paint were dry, I distressed it with 220 grit sandpaper to let the wood show through and really make those legs pop. Learn more distressing furniture techniques here.
How to Create Weathered Wood Top
After the base was painted and distressed, I started working on the top. I’ve used this method so many times and it’s always a showstopper.
Really, it’s a combination of multiple shades of gray (I used Kindling and Suede Grey from Home Depot), white and black all layered together and partially dry brushed but also mixed together at the same time.
And finally I add a layer of whitewash to make it a bit lighter. Check out how to whitewash wood here. It’s really a fun method and you can’t go wrong! Just keep layering until you’re happy.
After all the layers were done, I distressed the top here and there to let the white primer and layers of paint show through.
Sealing Chalk Paint Without Wax
I honestly hate wax. I’ve tried it a few times, and used different brands, but I’ve never been able to get the finish even. Read more about the pros and cons of using wax for chalk paint here.
I love to use my paint sprayer to spray on the poly because it gives me the perfect finish AND it’s super fast! Plus poly really is more durable, and I haven’t had this poly yellow on me like most do.
Learn ALL of my tips and tricks on how to spray polyurethane here!
More Before And After Makeovers
Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.
There is just something about the farmhouse feel that I still cannot get enough of!
Can I use wax to seal chalk paint?
Yes, you can use wax to seal chalk paint, but as we mentioned in the post, wax may not be the best option.
It can be difficult to apply evenly and can leave a streaky or blotchy finish. Additionally, it may not provide as much durability as other sealers like polyurethane.
We have a comparison post on wax vs polyurethane so you can see for yourself the pros and cons of each option. We also have this glaze vs wax over chalk paint post that discusses about these 2 finishes.
If you enjoy the look and feel of wax, it is still a viable option for sealing chalk paint. Just be sure to apply it carefully and evenly, using a lint-free cloth or wax brush.
Can I apply polyurethane over waxed chalk paint?
Sure, you can technically apply polyurethane over waxed chalk paint, but it’s not the recommended method.
If you’re going to use both, make sure to apply the polyurethane first and then apply the wax as a final step.
But if you’ve already applied wax over your chalk paint and decide you want to switch to polyurethane, don’t worry! You can still make it work.
Just remove the wax first using mineral spirits. If you don’t, the wax may repel the polyurethane and ruin your finish.
Painting a coffee table white can be a fun and easy DIY project that adds a touch of farmhouse charm to your living space.
By following the simple layering and distressing techniques mentioned above, you can create a beautiful weathered finish on your table.
And by sealing with polyurethane instead of wax, you can guarantee a more durable and even finish.
- Prep your coffee table for painting by cleaning, filling in scratches, and scuff sanding.
- Apply stain blocking primer onto the table to block bleed through stains.
- Make homemade chalk paint by mixing a few tablespoons of calcium carbonate powder with water, and then mixing it into a cup of latex paint.
- Paint the coffee table with 2-3 coats of paint. Once dry, distress with 220 grit sandpaper to let the wood show through and make its legs pop.
- For the top, brush layers of black, white, and gray paint. Then wipe on a dark walnut stain or brown glaze coat to blend all the crazy layers together. Add a layer of whitewash to make it a bit lighter. Keep layering until you're happy with the result.
- Seal everything with waterbased polyurethane.
- Add in your drawer hardware.
More Coffee Table Makeovers
- Coffee Table Makeover Idea
- Printmaker’s Farmhouse Industrial Coffee Table
- Blue Chalk Paint Coffee Table
- Painting a Coffee Table
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