Ideas to Update a Coffee Table


A coffee table is usually an essential component of the seating area in a living room, den or family room and can have a significant impact on the room's appearance. Over time, you may notice that your coffee table is looking a little out-of-date or you may simply become bored with it. Fortunately, there are several ways to breathe new life into an old coffee table so it has a fresh look that matches the rest of the decor in your room.

Strip It

  • Removing the colored stain from your coffee table is a way to instantly update its look. Natural wood has a neat, clean appearance that works well with a variety of decorating styles. Stripping the table can be a messy project so you may want to do it in your yard or driveway with cardboard below in case there are any drips.

    Use a brush to apply an even coat of paint and varnish remover to take off the previous stain or paint. Once the remover has been on the table for several minutes, the stain begins to soften and dissolve so you can use a plastic or metal scrapper to remove it. For any lingering residue, run a stiff brush across the surface and wipe it down with a lacquer thinner to remove the final traces of stain. When the stain is removed, cover the coffee table in a coat of varnish to give it a glossy finish.

Re-stain It

  • Once you have stripped your coffee table, you do not have to leave it with a natural finish. Re-staining it in a new shade can give it a new look as well. If your table previously had a dark stain, a lighter color can give it a more casual feel. On the other hand, a coffee table with a lighter stain can take on a more formal appearance by covering it with a darker color. There is a wide range of stain options, so visit a home improvement or hardware store to see which option complements the rest of your decor.

Paint It

  • Paint is an easy and inexpensive to transform the look of your coffee table. Once it is stripped of its previous finish, apply any shade of paint that matches your decor. If your living room or den seems too dark, paint the coffee table white to brighten the space. For a more modern feel, apply a coat of black paint to give it a sleek, new look. A bright shade, such as blue, red or purple, can give an old coffee table a bold, funky look. If your coffee table does not match the rest of the room's furniture, painting it the same shade as the other pieces can give the space a clean, uniform look.


  • For a truly unique new look, consider decoupaging your coffee table. Decoupage is a method of covering a surface with a paper or fabric collage to give it a decorative appearance. You can use images from magazines or books or other paper items like sheet music, wrapping paper and maps.

    Use a craft knife to cut the paper if you prefer a neat look or tear it into pieces for a more casual style. Before applying it to your table, plan the collage's layout and use a small paint brush to apply craft glue to the back of all the paper pieces to attach them together. Once the glue is dry, coat the surface of the table with a spray adhesive and lay the collage in place. Smooth it out as you go to avoid bubbles. When the collage is dry, add a piece of glass on top to protect the table's surface.

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