Distressed Coffee & Side Table DIY


Oooh there is nothing like finding a great deal at a garage sale, antique mall, or good old Craigslist and refinishing it to look AWESOME! I have been loving the look of the distressed, white bottom, dark-wood top, farmstyle dining tables and thought I could do that to this pine set of coffee and side tables I had purchased at a garage sale for $25 the year before.


This was another power tool {insert Tim Allen man-bark – did I just age myself?!} project that I was quite happy to take on. For this project, I used our electric sander. This thing is a beast. If you are not careful, you could probably really hurt something, or someone, or yourself {I hurt myself}.

I thought this project would only take one day, maaaaybe a weekend, but it ended up taking me a very long time to complete {mostly because I did most of the prep work one day, and then didn’t get to painting it until a very very long time later – I don’t even want to say}. 

I sanded the tops and sides of the coffee table and each side table, which was quite the work out, and then prepped them to be painted.

I painted the legs white with Rust-Oleum gloss white spray paint. I figured that this would help to get in between each section of the legs and have the best coverage.



Now, I will say, this didn’t do as good as I had hoped. Since I didn’t sand the sides and legs of the tables {because that seemed WAY too difficult after sanding all of the tops} so the wood was a bit slick from the previous pine finish. The paint didn’t always go on as I had hoped and would drip and not even cover an area. I think that if I had approached it with a better technique {farther away, lighter spray} then it may have been better. Either way, it was quick, easy and got the job {mostly} done. Because this didn’t perfectly coat the sides and legs, however, this was my way of keeping it “distressed” looking – which it did! So it’s all in how you look at it.

After the legs dried, I went to work on painting the tops. I used a 2″ paint brush and the left over hand rail wood stain from our stair remodel. This wood stain is goooorgeous! I love the dark wood the Kona finish has, and it leaves a really nice semi-gloss finish. I didn’t put a clear coat over the tops {which I am still pondering to do} but I think I like it without the gloss as it adds that distressed/rustic look I was going for anyways!



This Varathane Kona finish goes on really well, but I did about 3 coats. You can do as many coats for as dark as you want to go.

I let the tables dry {impatiently} and brought them in and LOVE them! They are so cute and go with a lot of different decor. I am now looking to dress them up with cute items, which is a fun problem to have!


24 thoughts on “Distressed Coffee & Side Table DIY”

  • Super cute. I tried this and mine was a pinterest fail. I love the kona color. Got the same one but mine looks black. Im not sure where i went wrong. ?

    • I’m sure it still looks awesome! But it’s always a bummer to put in the hard work and have it not turn out! Maybe too many coats of paint? Or not enough sanding first?

    • Silvia!! You made me crack up! I’m sorry it was a fail….perhaps the too needed more sanding? Or maybe the coats of Kona were a little too heavy? (Or too many?) You could always take the sander over it again and retry with a lighter amount of Kona.

  • Hello! I have a dining table I’m dying to re-do. It has dark brown legs and an ugly, outdated orange-y wood top. I would like to probably keep the legs the dark color but re-do the top. Do you think a distressed white would look good? Kind of a reverse of what you did! Or do you have any other ideas?

  • How does the stain hold up to wear and tear? Can I put my condensation cups on it, or would I need to treat if after the stain?

    • Hi Sarah! Thanks for your comment!

      It holds up ok to spills and some condensation, but I don’t leave anything in there for too long. I would recommend a clear coat after just to ensure it lasts.

  • My couch is brown leather, the floor is dark, the tables are dark. My walls are soft gold/yellow. What colour should I do my tables.mi have 2 sides and a sofa table.

    • Hi Anne! Thanks for the comment. You could try to do the distressed white all over the table. The legs, sides and top. If you like the white legs and dark top, I don’t think it would look bad doing the tables the same color as shown here.

  • I want to refinish my coffee and end tables. I would have to buy the wood planks and drill on top of my tables though. Do you think sanding the legs of the tables are necessary? Thanks!

    • I don’t think that is necessary! Use the white spray paint lightly on the legs adding more as you go so that it doesn’t streak since the legs won’t be sanded.

    • Great question! I am not completely sure. It held up really well with the sanding and I find that pressed board doesn’t always seem to sand as well. If you are unsure of the material you are trying to refinish, I would recommend testing a small section to sand first, or even try sanding the underside of the table to test it out.

    • I don’t think it is. It depends on the thickness of the varnish on the wood prior to sanding. It will adjust the look depending on how much is sanded off. It may require an additional coat of the stain. Hope it goes well!

  • Where can I find this stain? Do they sell it at Lowes or Home depot? I love the color just what I’ve been looking for. I have the same tables, and they need a make over I would do them all stained dark though.

    • I found the stain at Ace Hardware. It should be at Home Depot. All dark would look nice too! Good luck on refinishing your tables! Have fun and thank you for the comment!

  • Do you think a power sander is necessary or do you think I could get away with hand sanding? I’m only doing one coffee table so it shouldn’t take as much effort as your project

    • I think you should be fine with a hand sander. It will take longer of course, but it should work well. Depending on how much you need to buff off, it may just require an additional coat of paint. Good luck and thanks for the comment!

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