Upcycle a Bedside Table

Upcycle a Bedside Table

Finished upcycled bedside table

One of the easiest and inexpensive projects to update your bedroom is to upcycle a bedside table. Painted furniture is all the rage right now and I wanted to modernize my bedroom by adding a bright pop of color and a contemporary look to some side tables but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to do it. I started with craigslist where I was able to locate two side tables with drawers.  One of them was free and the other was $5.  So far so good.  Even though they didn’t match, I knew if I painted them and gave them the same adornments they would work just fine. So I set out to paint the side tables to coordinate with the duvet and curtains I made for the bed.

What you will Need: Supplies:

  • Furniture pieces
  • Sandpaper
  • Sanding block or orbital sander
  • Tack cloth
  • Scrap wood
  • Wood glue
  • Paintable wood putty
  • Power drill
  • Screw driver
  • Clamps
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Floetral
  • Paint brushes
  • Rags
  • Respirator
  • Legs
  • Pulls

Here they are when I first bought them.

Side table 1 Before
This is the front of the table I bought for $5
Side table 2 Before
This is the side of the table I bought for $5
side table 3 Before
These are the inset handles of the table I bought for $5
This is the front of the table I got for free
This is the front of the table I got for free
This is the front/side of the table I got for free
This is the front/side of the table I got for free

As you can see, these tables are in terrible condition, do not match and look more like they are fit for the scrap heap but that will not last long once I get my hands on them.

Step 1:  Repair any Damage:

  1. Use the wood glue and clamps to repair any veneer that is peeling up as I had to do in the table I got for free.  Usually the glue and clamps are enough but there may be times when you need to use a screw or nail.  In this case, make sure you recess the head so that you can use a paintable wood putty to cover up the repair.
  2. Use the wood putty/filler to fill any holes or scratches to create a smooth surface.  In the $5 table there were slats on the sides of the table so I used the wood filler to smooth out the sides.
  3. Use the wood scraps to fill larger holes like I had to do with the inset handles in the $5 table.  In this case, I filled the holes with wood scraps that I glued and screwed in then filled the remainder with the wood filler.
  4. Once all of the holes were filled, I sanded both pieces with medium then fine sand paper to create a smooth surface all over the tables.  Use the tack cloth to wipe all of the sanding dust off the pieces and make sure the surface is dust free.

Step 2:  Prime the Pieces:

  1. I like to use a good oil based primer when painting furniture because it gives a nice smooth and durable base for the paint to adhere too but water based primer works as well.
  2. Keep in mind that anytime you use oil based products you should use a respirator because the fumes are strong and can have an adverse affect on breathing.  Also, any painting should be done in a well ventilated area.  I do all of my painting in my garage with both doors open to encourage air flow.
  3. I always use disposable brushes when I use oil based products so I don’t have to bother with using mineral spirits to clean them.
  4. Take your time and put a nice coat of primer on your furniture piece because this is the base for your final coats of paint and will dictate how your piece will look when it is finished.

Step 3:  Paint:

  1. Pick a nice bright contemporary color for your upcycled piece.
  2. I used a bright lime green acrylic paint to accompany a beautiful Robert Allen fabric I used to make curtains and a duvet for my room.
  3. Before beginning to paint, I added floetrol to the paint.  Floetrol is a paint additive that extends the drying time of the paint so that the water based paint does not leave brush marks behind and the painter gets a nice even paint finish.  I did two coats on my pieces.
  4. Let the paint dry completely.  I let mine fully cure for two days before I added any of the pulls or legs.

Step 4:  Add the Bling:

  1. I decided to purchase some specialist legs for my tables.  You can find legs at your local home improvement store or online.  My particular legs came from a company called spiral cone legs at Spiral Cone Legs. (Not an affiliate link)  I thought they had both a contemporary and a vintage sort of a feel.  They had exactly the feel I wanted.

    Spiral Cone Legs
    Spiral Cone Legs
  2. They were easy to install with just a few screws and some wood mounting blocks on the $5 piece.  Anyone can install them with a screwdriver or screw gun.
  3. The last thing I installed were the drawer pulls. I located some black and white spiral drawer pulls on Etsy that complemented my spiral cone legs at Spiral Drawer Pulls.  (Not an affiliate link)

    Spiral Drawer Pulls
    Spiral Drawer Pulls

Step 5: Finished Upcycled Bedside Tables:

After a little bit of work my two craigslist finds went from junk to funk and now sit proudly in my bedroom.

Finished upcycled bedside table
Finished upcycled $5 bedside table
Side table 4 after
Finished upcycled free bedside table












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