Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You Can: Give New Life to an Old Table

It’s day two of do-it-yourself week and we’re talking tables.  I suppose I should clarify off the bat that I won’t be deluding you into thinking you should build your own dining room table from scratch.  Unless you’re a professional, it would be a little something I like to call an awful idea.  Instead of creating a new table, how about rescuing an old one?  Even the ugliest of tables can be redeemed with a little tender loving care.  While you may not be able to transform it into the masterpiece you want to center the room around, it’s possible to create a useable, quality piece.  And with a few materials and some elbow-grease, who knows- you may even be able to fashion something you’re crazy about.  

If you’re looking to purchase an extremely inexpensive fixer-upper, check out Craig’s List, thrift stores or one of Habitat for Humanity’s resale outlets.  Keep an open mind when you’re looking…other than the shape, most everything can be altered.  Apply that same open mindedness before you throw out a table you already own, maybe it just hasn’t reached it’s full potential yet.  

Prepare the surface you want to re-finish by thoroughly sanding it, wiping it clean and applying a primer.  You can paint your table any color under the rainbow, but make sure you buy a quality paint- our favorite is Benjamin Moore.  To paint your table, use a fresh roller or paint brush to apply two coats of semi-gloss or flat latex paint.  Be sure the first coat of paint is totally dry before applying the second coat.  

Now, here’s your opportunity to go nuts.  You’ve got a fresh canvas to work with- if you’re not satisfied with a solid color table you can add all kinds of special touches that will separate it from anything you could find in a store.  If you’ve got a small side table, consider Mod-Podging a fabric you love to fit the top of the table.  Work from the middle out and apply the Mod Podge directly to the table as well as the fabric.  

I know, it sounds like a 4th grade art project, but you’d be shocked at how chic the final result can be.  Archaic as it may seem, Mod Podge is actually a really fun item to have in your bag of tricks.  I wouldn’t suggest Mod Podging any piece that you’re planning to use in a formal setting, but if your table is going in a fun, creative space it could be an excellent solution.  The possibilities are endless.

While professionally applying a detailed stencil requires a lot of skill, there are some basic stencils anyone with a little artistic talent can use.  Martha Stewart has some great advice for stenciling, click here to check it out. 

Another unique addition is a wall decal applied to the table.  While this method probably works best in a casual environment, with the right decal (and the right application) it can be as fancy as you’d like.  For a trendy vibe, try creating permanent place settings by adding these Utensil Decals.

A good do-it-yourself project can most certainly yield beautiful results, but keep this in mind…if you have an heirloom piece or a complicated final product in mind you may want to let a professional handle it.  When in doubt, consider how upset you’d be if the piece was ruined and weigh your options accordingly.


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