Saving a Badly Up-cycled Coffee Table!

Coffee Table Upcycle  Vintage FrillsUp-cycling – a phenomenon that swept across the country in recent years, basically slapping some paint on old furniture (Kirsty Alsopp I’m looking at you) or irrevocably altering an original piece of vintage clothing (Dawn O Porter I’m looking at you)! Sometimes it really works and I love that an an old un-loved item has been given a new lease of life. Half the furniture in my house was bought in charity shops and lovingly brightened up with a lick of Laura Ashley paint. But sometimes it doesn’t go so well!

When my husband returned from a car boot sale with a rather bright blue coffee table, I was left wondering if there was any hope for the poor old thing. But for £1, the table was definitely worth saving. After sitting in our shed un-loved for a year we decided to give the table a bit of a make-over and now it has a new life being loved in our living room. This is how we turned it from shabby shit to shabby chic.

Blue Coffee Table Upcycle  Vintage Frills

First up, we gave the table a good sand (by ‘we’ I mean Rob, I just took the pictures). Once the worst of the thick blue paint has been removed, we sprayed it with stain block spray which you can pick up in most hardware stores. We always use this to prime furniture as it forms a nice even layer and covers up dark wood and paint.

Coffee Table Epicycle Priming  Vintage Frills

Once primed, we gave it another sand, making sure to get inside all the little details, as well as making sure the whole table was nice and smooth ready for painting.

Coffee Table Upcycle Sanding  Vintage Frills

We then painted the table with two layers of cream emulsion paint and once dry finished it with a clear satin varnish.

Coffee Table Upcycle Painting  Vintage Frills

We decided to cover the top with this map wallpaper from B&Q. We chose it because the colour went well with our paint choice, however given the chance to do it again I would probably choose a brighter more modern paper design. We carefully pencilled the outline of the table onto the wallpaper, before cutting it out and sticking it down with wallpaper paste.

Coffee Table Upcycle Covering with Wallpaper  Vintage FrillsTo finish the top of the table and make it waterproof and protected from tea and coffee stains we sprayed with a few layers of clear lacquer, we use the stuff designed from cars from Halfords. It takes quite a few layers to get a perfect finish, but it’s well worth the time.

Coffee Table Upcycle Clear Lacquer  Vintage Frills

And thats it! I think the table looks so much better, I may change the paper on the top at some point, but for now I’m so happy with how it turned out. The whole thing cost about £10 to complete as we already had all the materials except for the lacquer.

Map Coffee Table Upcycle  Vintage Frills


  1. pixieanna August 26, 2015 / 9:29 pm

    It looks fabulous and I love the map paper! Who on earth would paint such a lovely table such an unsuitable shade of blue?????

    • vintagefrills September 21, 2015 / 10:00 pm

      I know!!! It was awful I’m so glad we saved it!

  2. Sarah Amanda August 27, 2015 / 12:49 am

    Wow you’ve done a great job on that. I can’t wait to do things like this once I’ve bought my house xx

    • vintagefrills September 21, 2015 / 10:00 pm

      It’s so much fun and it’s great having something that no one else does 🙂

  3. Mim McDonald (@crinolinerobot) August 27, 2015 / 10:22 am

    That’s a massive improvement on the blue! I can see the point of painting a table if, say, the top is badly scratched, but cobalt blue is plain weird.

    • vintagefrills September 21, 2015 / 9:59 pm

      It is! I know you’re not a fan of up cycling so I’m glad it has your approval! Xxx

  4. Tilly August 27, 2015 / 12:23 pm

    Great DIY~

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  5. SaraLily August 27, 2015 / 1:08 pm

    Oh WOW!! It came out incredible!!

    • vintagefrills September 21, 2015 / 9:58 pm

      Thank you! We’re really happy with it! Xxx

  6. Jessica Cangiano August 27, 2015 / 6:58 pm

    Seriously incredible transformation! You have some over-the-moon great furniture revamping skills, my dear!

    ♥ Jessica

    • vintagefrills September 21, 2015 / 9:58 pm

      Thank you! We hadn’t taken on a project for ages, and now I want to do more! Xxx

  7. Fay August 27, 2015 / 8:40 pm

    This looks absolutely fantastic – I LOVE the map wallpaper 🙂 – yet another reason I need to find a place soon! x

    • vintagefrills September 21, 2015 / 9:57 pm

      Rob says he will make you one when you move! Xxx

  8. Californian Mum in London August 29, 2015 / 11:16 pm

    Wow, you have really made that table lovely. I would have probably made it look worse. haha

    • vintagefrills September 21, 2015 / 9:56 pm

      Haha! It was really all Robs hard work!

  9. vintagemunchkin August 30, 2015 / 5:30 pm

    Its a triumph! I love it when a plan comes together…

    • vintagefrills September 21, 2015 / 9:55 pm

      Thank you! I was pretty amazed by the results and I’m really enjoying having it in the house 🙂

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