I believe most furniture has a story to tell and deserves to be saved and repurposed whenever possible. So when I got a text from my older daughter – “Hey mom, I saw this cute little table in the trash…do you want it?” – my answer, of course, was yes! I love repurposing things and saving them from an early demise, and based on the photo my daughter sent, I know this would be a very satisfying salvation. This table had everything going for it: great size, unique style and a clear need for some table refinishing TLC.  


Before photo 2
Before photo 1

When I got the table, I found it to be larger than I had originally thought—a pleasant surprise because it was a perfectly sized outdoor table for two.

Following is the table’s transformation, from beginning to end (a little scary to extremely cute), to its final resting place, a loving new home on our patio!

Step 1. Strip the Table 
As you can see from the before pictures, the table was in rough shape. It had been given several bad paint jobs, so step one was to strip it, which took several passes with a chemical stripper and scraper to get all the old paint removed. This is a messy job and is quite smelly, too, so be sure you’re in a well-ventilated area if you’re going to strip furniture.

Tip: For more effective stripping, practice patience. Let the stripper do its job. Put it on and follow the directions for how long it needs to remain applied before you begin scraping.


Stripping photo

Step 2: Sand the Table
Once you have removed all you can through stripping and scraping, it’s time to sand. I have a couple of different small power sanders, as well as a couple of block sanders (powered by me). One of my favorite sanders is my palm sander. It’s small so it’s easy to control, but it has plenty of power and works great for refinishing furniture. My other favorite is a small sander with a triangle head that works great in corners and other tight spots. After using a fairly coarse paper to help get the residual paint off, I went back with a fine grit paper to smooth out the surface and prepare it to accept a new paint job.

TIP: Since I was going to paint the table and not stain or varnish it, it was only necessary to get a smooth service to paint over. It wasn't necessary to get every last bit of stain off that remained on the table. As long your piece is smooth to the touch, you’re good to go.


Sanded photo 2
Sanded photo 1

Sanded photo 1

Step 3: Paint
Next came the paint. I chose a great blue turquoise color to add some “pop” to my outdoor space and then added white to the shelf underneath. I mottled this with some of the blue and ended up with a quasi art deco look. Most of my furniture is neutral colored, as is the patio itself, so I use vases, planters and plant tables to add color. I used a good quality exterior paint because my table will live outdoors all year-round and get LOTS of sun (I live in California so outdoor furniture stays out all year).

Tip: Remember to paint every nook and cranny of your furniture, from top to bottom. You don’t want to leave any wood untreated where it can get wet and start to rot. Even a small spot or crack of rot can spread to areas under the paint, eventually leading to a ruined piece of furniture. Also, you’ll want to make sure to repaint your furniture from time to time to keep it looking fresh and keep it protected from sun exposure and moisture.

Step 4: Enjoy
Once the table had dried, all that was left was to place it in its new home and enjoy it. This table became a darling addition to our living space, literally an example of trash to treasure!


After photo 2

Now what will you do next to love where you live?