We have had this small wooden table for many years. We have used it for a desk or for an extra table here and there, but it’s never really had it’s own purpose. Most recently I had put it outside on the back deck. This wasn’t the best thing for the table as it was exposed to the weather. When we got new outdoor furniture; however, I finally had a vision for this table. I decided to turn this table into an outdoor coffee table.
I did have to do one minor repair to this table that is worth mentioning. This table has a little drawer and the drawer guides are wood. One of the guides was not attached on one end because the hole created by the screw was too big and the screw didn’t grab the wood anymore. So, I removed the drawer and filled in the screw hole with some toothpicks and wood glue. Then I reattached the drawer slide with a slightly longer screw. I love that toothpick trick. If you ever need to fill in a hole, try toothpicks!
Removing the Finish
This table had a little bit of the original finish left on it. Since it had been outside for a while, most of the finish was flaking off the top of the table. The skirt and the legs were fine, but the top of the table needed some work before I could paint it.
I used my little hand held electric sander to sand the top of the table. I sanded the entire top of the table with a course grit and it took the remainder of the finish right off. Then, I did another pass with my sander and a finer grit sand paper to smooth the surface.
I decided not to sand the skirt or the legs since the finish was in tact. My plan was to paint the entire table, so there was no need.
Finding The Right Height For The Coffee Table
The first thing I had to do was cut the legs down so the table would not be as tall. In order to determine how tall I wanted my table, I measured the height of the couch and chair cushions. The couch was around 18″ tall and the chair was 19.” I also measured the height of my coffee table in my living room just to compare. That coffee table was about 21.”
So, I thought I should go pretty conservative with my cuts. I thought I could always cut more off if I didn’t like the height, but I couldn’t add more back on. However, cutting the legs was a little harder than I thought, so it was a one time thing. I cut the legs and the table ended up being about 21″ tall.
It’s slightly taller than the couch and chair cushions, but I think it’s a good height. It’s not too low for the dogs to fit under it. Ha ha. I can also put my feet on it, so that’s great.
Cutting Off The Legs To Make A Coffee Table
My plan was to take the legs off the table, which sounded easy enough. Then I was going to use a miter box and a hand saw to cut my legs. I measured 8″ from the bottom of each leg and marked where I wanted to cut. I wanted to make sure my cut was level, so I secured the leg in a little miter box and began to saw.
This proved to be much harder than I anticipated. My saw was just not made to saw thick pieces of hard wood. It was more for small pieces of trim.
So, plan B became to mark them with the hand saw and then finish the cutting with a reciprocating saw. I kept the leg secured in the miter box to make sure my cut was level and this worked pretty well. When all the pieces that I had cut off the legs were pretty much the same, I figured I had done a solid job and my table wouldn’t be too wobbly.
Painting The Coffee Table
Before you paint anything, I recommend cleaning it first. On this table I simply wiped the top with a dry cloth to get the sanding dust off. Then, I sprayed the legs and skirt with Simple Green. I always use the cleaner before painting furniture.
For this little DIY, I did not want to go to the paint store. So, I went paint shopping in my garage. Since I keep all my paints, I had plenty to choose from. Since this coffee table is for the outdoors, I needed a sturdy paint. I decided to use the exterior paint I had used on my front door.
It was a gray color and I already knew what it looked like with the exterior of my home. Also, it was an exterior paint. I figured if it was holding up on my front door, it would hold up on this little coffee table as well. So, I recruited my son to help and we painted the coffee table. We did two coats with a brush and that was plenty.
Because this table top was wood and had no finish on it when I painted it, it soaked in the pain like a sponge. It probably wouldn’t have done that if I had taken the time to prime, but I didn’t do that. The second coat went on easier.
What do you think? How did we do? Let me know in comments if you would have done anything different.
Watch this entire transformation on Instagram @momcandoanything. I have a highlight saved under Coffee Table. Also, check out some of my other furniture transformation DIYS below.
Reinvented TV Cabinet: How To Paint Laminate Furniture with Metallic Paint
DIY Repurposed Furniture: Making Your Grandmother’s Furniture Fit Your Decor
Metallic Paint + Peel and Stick Wallpaper = Major Bookshelf Makeover
Furniture Makeover: From Office Credenza to TV Cabinet
Painting Our Nightstand To Match