$6 Thrift Store Furniture Makeover


I am absolutely THRILLED to share with you my latest thrift store furniture find. For months, I’ve been wanting a new coffee table in our family room. Week after week, I’d shop our local thrift stores, check the latest Craigslist ads, and rummage through estate sales. I was on the verge of accepting that it wasn’t meant to happen when I came across this awesome piece!! The second I laid eyes on this beast (soon to be beauty) of a coffee table, I knew I had to have it! Best part….the price – only $3.50!!!


Yes, you read that right, this piece was three dollars and fifty cents!!!


Upon further inspection, I noticed two of the legs were damaged where they attached to the table and one of the glass inserts was missing. While most people would have passed this gorgeous piece up because of the obvious damage, I welcomed the challenge with open arms!



  • Paint Stripper

  • Belt Sander

  • Sand Paper

  • Paint Brushes (about 3-4 disposable ones)

  • Wood Stain

  • Chalk Paint

  • Hand held sander

  • Clear protectant

  • Furniture wax (optional)


On to the fun stuff….the steps I took to refinish the coffee table….



I wanted to stain the top and use chalk paint on the base and legs. The best way to get rid of the original finish was to strip it. My favorite finish stripper is Zip Strip Paint and Clear Finish Remover. It’s gel formula makes it easy to work with and I typically can get the finish stripped with only one application.




For this step, I used an electric sander to get rid of any stubborn finish and ‘clean’ up the look of the wood. I love, love, love my Black and Decker belt sander. For years, I used a palm sander but for larger pieces it took a looong time to achieve the desired result. Since switching to my belt sander, it cuts the time about 60%. Well worth the investment!


FYI: I used an 80 grit sandpaper to even out the overall wood then went to a 120 grit to smooth it out.


This is what it looked like once I was done sanding:


*Note: I purposely left small amounts of the original finish in tact so it would add to the overall rustic/aged wood look I was going for.



One of the reasons I love used wood is that once it’s stripped, it can develop a mind of its own. I knew I wanted to stain the top but I wanted a rustic wood look. To ensure this look, I did not used any wood conditioner or ‘prep’ before staining. I simply applied the stain and immediately rubbed it into the wood.


For the color, I used a mixture of Early American and Classic Gray by Minwax. I started with the Early American; painted it on, immediately wiped it all into the wood, then applied a coat of Classic Gray and immediately wiped it into the wood. I absolutely LOVED the result!

                                                       Stain Application “In Progress”


                                                         Stain Application Complete



I love the clean, calm look of antique white. And since this piece is going in our basement (which does not have a lot of natural light), it’s the perfect color to lighten up our family room.  I used two coats of our own secret recipe chalk paint, allowing the first coat to dry completely before adding the second coat.



**Great News! In 2016, we will be introducing our very own paint line including this antique white chalk paint! Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates regarding our product launch, promotions, and workshop updates.**


Zilla, our super energetic Boxer/Great

Dane mix loves to check up on our work!



Using 80 grit sandpaper and a rubber hand sanding block, I distressed the corners and edges of the coffee table to give it a Shabby Chic look. I waited about for the chalk paint to dry fully (about an hour after the second coat) before distressing it.



The final step is seal your beautiful work! I used a water based semi-gloss Polycrylic from Minwax as it delivers a clean, crisp, clear protective coat every time!


As a bonus, you can apply a high quality furniture wax to your refinished piece. This is optional and a personal preference. I like the smooth feel it gives but totally up to you if you want to top off your piece with furniture wax.


Viola! Here she is! I’m so pleased with the end result. I figure with the original cost of $3.50 plus the materials used, the entire piece was about $6 and 3 hours of my time. Not too shabby!



One last note: I decided to use chalkboard paint on the two glass pieces then custom cut a piece of plywood to fit the missing glass piece. This way, I can use the area for storage but the content (ie: mess :o)) won’t be visible from the outside!


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