Annie Sloan Proucts

Don’t judge a book or a table by its cover – Shabby Chic Coffee Table Transformation

Have you ever judged a book by its cover so to speak? In the past I have to say that I was very guilty of doing this, not with books but with furniture! I would see a vintage set of bedside tables or an old desk and immediately the thing I would notice was the poo brown veneer or the horrible handles or the yellowing varnish, and because of the external appearance I would miss all the great things like the solid construction or the great lines of the piece or even some gorgeous little carved detail. Fortunately I had a light bulb moment when I started looking into refinishing furniture and discovered a whole new world of possibilities for unloved, dated and even ugly furniture.

This brings me to this large, solid coffee table that I found for sale locally. Of course typical me I didn’t take a before photo but let me paint a mental picture for you. The piece was very plain and dark and dated and BORING! I would never have chosen to have it in my home. However it was well constructed, in good condition and was the perfect candidate for a freshen up, so I took it home and started to plan its makeover.

I chose to paint this piece with a layered paint effect. I knew that I wanted to add movement and detail to this piece to make up for its plain lines and basic appearance. I coated the piece in a solid base coat (2 coats) of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Louis Blue. For the top colour I wanted a warm creamy yellow without it looking too buttercup. I found a sample pot of paint that I had among my stash in a creamy buttery beige and I knew it would be perfect. So I grabbed out my Websters Chalk Paint Powder and mixed together about a cup full of paint. Websters powder is pretty amazing, it transforms your plain latex paints into super smooth chalky goodness with great adhesion. I painted 2 coats as a top coat and let it dry.


I knew that this piece needed a bit more ‘lipstick’ so to speak to really make it eye catching so I decided to paint a graphic on the top. I had come across a gorgeous typography graphic a while ago that I knew would be perfect. The graphic is the word ‘Nest’ and its definition. So I saved the graphic and then went to Blockposter online and using their free enlarging service I enlarged the graphic, printed it off and began piecing it together.

nest graphic

Using the carbon paper method I traced this piece onto the top of the coffee table. I decided for this piece being large lettering I would use a white paint pen to paint over the outline of the graphic. This is where  disaster upon disaster struck!! My large paint pen ran out just as I was finishing the letter N of the word ‘Nest’!!! So what did I do? I grabbed my black paint pens and somehow imagined that I would have enough to go over the white and finish the graphic … haha yeah right!!

Sooo my black paint pens ran out at the letter ‘s’ of the word nest!! At this point I contemplated bashing the table with my paint lid mallet, then I contemplated bashing the empty paint pens, then my sand paper block began to look very tempting and I had destructive thoughts of attacking the poor table top with it!! After this small burst of tantrumous thoughts I calmed enough to gather and realize that I CAN salvage this piece. So I grabbed out my Annie Sloan Graphite Paint and my paintbrushes an began the long slow process of painting over this enormous graphic.

It took a LONG time but in the end I stood back and the graphic actually looked pretty good!! So I grabbed my sanding sponge and lightly sanded over the graphic to make it more even and then distressed the whole piece lightly to have those lovely areas of Louis Blue and wood peeking through the lovely buttery top coat.

I decided to finish this piece with a coat of L’essentiels wonderful clear wax and then lightly rub over the piece with Annie Sloan Dark wax to create some movement. A bit of elbow breaking buffing followed which was a great way to vent my frustration from the paint pen drama haha and then I stood back and looked at the piece and WOW…. just WOW!! In my mind I think I was expecting it to be a disaster but it looked absolutely STUNNING!!

Shabby Chic 'Nest' Coffee Table


Just check out that graphic!!!

Shabby Chic 'Nest' Coffee Table


Looking at this picture really is a fist pump moment for me haha .. I just LURVE this graphic soooo much and despite the pain it caused haha it was totally worth it!!

Shabby Chic 'Nest' Coffee Table


I just love seeing that gorgeous blue and wood peeping through the dreamy cream top coat. It adds so much interesting detail and movement to the piece!! It is just to die for 😀

Shabby Chic 'Nest' Coffee Table Shabby Chic 'Nest' Coffee Table

So over all, this poor ugly coffee table had the potential to become something sooooo beautiful. If I had of judged it by its ‘cover’ I would have left it behind. So please take a leap of faith and try and look beyond the external veneer of a piece and see the beauty that can lie beneath!

This beauty is for sale so feel free to check it out in our Etsy store by clicking on the button below 😀

etsy FFF

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