The $9 Coffee Table

The $9 Coffee Tablefeatured


This week we are sharing an inspiring look at how to turn a cheap piece of outdated junk into a stunning and functional farmhouse-style coffee table. We hope to show how anyone can revive old pieces on a budget. So grab a cup of something hot and settle down to enjoy another of our furniture Cinderella stories.


We had been using this toy basket as a coffee table for over a year, but there were a few issues. First of all, its uneven surface made it difficult to set anything safety on top. Secondly, if you did have something precariously perched, you would have to remove it every time the girls wanted to get out there toys. The worse part was that between my sweet hubby trying to use it as a footrest, the kids using it as a toy box, and its part time use as a place to set our coffee, the poor old thing was beginning to wear out fast. On our budget I needed to find a replacement quickly for under $20.

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You might be wondering why anyone would buy this thing, even for $9! This double decker 70s piece was “vintage” in the bad sense of the word. There was nothing cool about the multiple faux finishes, mesh sides, or its bright orange tone. When I spotted this curvy end-table at Goodwill I could see a hint of potential. Though it was dirty, and smelly, it was remakably well built. In fact, Michael had quite a wrestling match trying to separate the upper shelf from the little table. It was wood glued, screwed and pegged into place!

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Then it was my turn to put a little “elbow grease” into the project. I used what I had around the farmhouse: a bit of leftover chalk paint (1 quart goes a surprisingly long way), a scrap of sand paper, and diaper cream. “You might be a Mom if… you use diaper cream for things other than your baby.”


Just like in my rocking chair makeover, I used diaper cream as a Vasoline resist technique—it works great! I simply rubbed a small amount of the ointment strategically over the piece and let it set 10 min before painting.

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Next, I painted the legs and base with one thick coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White. Then, using a scrap of medium grade sandpaper I easily sluffed-off all the paint that the ointment kept from adhering to the table. This created a heavily distressed look, which helped add an interestingly aged patina to the piece. Now I just needed to create a new top for the table to cover the existing splotchy veneer.

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Our kitchen renovation project had provided us with a very large amount of rustic lath boards that I thought might do the job. I simply cut several boards to length, added cross pieces to give the “barn door” look, then sanded the edges. Nailing this to the top of the coffee table, with short nails, took no time. Then I painted the new barn door top to match the base. Here is the finished product…

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The scale of this coffee table fits the space perfectly and I love the visual interest it adds to our living room. Although it does not provide toy storage, it gives us a great work and play surface in the hub of our farmhouse. From tea parties to art projects, the new coffee table is where all the action is at!

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I can always add another coat of white paint, if the spills or scribbles get out of hand. Because of its rustic texture, I also don’t have to worry about bumps or scratches. Distressed furniture is very kid friendly; kids help to continue to add a “well-storied patina” to furniture over time. Our coffee table will just keep looking better the more we use it. So bring on the good times…


P.S. If you were wondering what happened to the odd upper deck of this table…

Once we removed the wire mesh and gave it a paint job, it became a welcome sign for our entryway. You may notice that our old worn out coffee table/toy basket also has a new life in our entry, as a great place to coral winter boots and seasonal gear. A happy ending all around!

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