Coffee Table Makeover: Whitewashed & Distressed

This post may contain affiliate links (disclosure here).

The Hubs and I frequently visit historic downtown Brunswick, Georgia.  It’s only about an hour up I-95, and there are several secondhand furniture stores we like to visit.  Not to mention, the delicious food and hospitality at our favorite watering hole, Tipsy McSway’s. 

The Story Behind the Coffee Table

While visiting one of the secondhand stores, we came across this very unique looking coffee table.  The carvings were stunning!

Coffee table before makeover
Wood Carvings

This table had a story behind it.  The store owner explained that there was a local craftsman who used teak wood for all of his projects, who had since passed away.  I knew the table would be coming home with me.  I fell in love!

The tabletop had severe damage in a few places (it’s hard to see in the photo, but there was damage).  I am not sure what the damage was from, but there were several holes. 

However, the base of the table was sturdy and had minimal damage.  See the adorable little drawer? And, at a price tag of only $40.00, what was there to lose?    

Wood carving on the coffee table drawer
Adorable Drawer

PIN for Later!

coffee table makeover before and after

DIY Coffee Table Makeover

We had not had a coffee table in years.   I felt it was time to change that.  The grandbabies were older now, so no worries about them falling and bumping their heads.

We got it home and thoroughly inspected it. The Hubs decided to construct a new top.  The damage was extensive and we knew it had to be sturdy because it would get plenty of use!

Let the makeover begin! He decided to use 1×4’s to construct the new top.  While he worked on the top, I got busy on the base.  I gave it a good cleaning with Lysol spray cleaner.  The one small drawer also got a good cleaning.

Inside the Drawer
Inside the Drawer

I did not want to cover the table with paint completely.  But I felt it needed something.  I am not a huge fan of the blonde wood look so, I decided to use a whitewash.  My pieces in my living room are for the majority, white with barn red being the accent color.  A whitewash would give it a little color, but not take away entirely from the carvings and the wood.

It was a straightforward process.  I dampened my paintbrush tip with water, and then barely dipped it in the paint.  I then applied the color with the brush in long strokes, lightly. If I applied too much paint, I wiped off the excess with a damp cloth.

whitewashed coffee table

DIY Coffee Table Makeover -New Top

The Hubs finished up the top.  Isn’t it a beauty!

New top for the coffee table

You can see another project where we added wood to an existing piece HERE.

We decided to use Minwax Dark Walnut stain to finish it off and give it a beautiful color. The top was attached with rusty nails that the Hubs found in his stash.  This really gave it a farmhouse vibe!  I love using old nails! The entire piece was sealed with one coat of Polycrylic.

Dar Walnut stained coffee table top
Dark Walnut

Here are a few pictures in our living room.  I plan to purchase a cowhide rug off of Amazon to go underneath. We receive so many compliments on our coffee table!

Coffee table after makeover

There were a few places where wood was chipped and had cracks. But we left them just as they were.

Coffee table after makeover

The carvings are just beautiful. And knowing that it was done by a local artisan makes it even more special.

wood carving on the whitewashed coffee table

Supply List for the Coffee Table Makeover

Affiliate Links are provided for your convenience at no extra cost to you.

White Chalk Finish Paint: I like Cotton color from Dixie Bell Paint Company but you may choose any chalk paint brand you like

Chip Brush

Water-Based Polycrylic

Minwax Dark Walnut Stain


Rusty Nails

Looking for more furniture makeovers ideas?

Click HERE to see our armoire project. We added wood to the back to give it a farmhouse feel.

“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it will be.”


25 thoughts on “Coffee Table Makeover: Whitewashed & Distressed”

  1. Michele Watson Gasaway

    Thanks for posting all of your hard but well worth it furniture. I love seeing what other people are doing in their homes. I love recycling furniture or remaking it over. You have given me inspiration to also give my coffee table a face lift. I live in Griffin, Ga. I would love to see pics of your whole living room because I am renovating my entire house one room at a time since I am the boss and crew. I love your buffet as well. Thanks for allowing me to see what beautiful work you do. You are an inspiration.

      1. Not being mean but if you look at the closeup of the front of the table, on the legat the top, there are 2 creepy faces. They gave me a little anxiety. 😂😂😂

    1. Hi Stacy! Our favorite place to visit was Casey’s Closet but she has moved to Nahunta, Ga. we do like Hello Goodbye and Market on Newcastle 🙂

  2. The perfect finish for this table! Love howok all those lovely details came alive without taking away from the rustic charm. Pinned

  3. I love it! I have a coffee table similar to that one except it has four small drawers. It’s currently an espresso color and I was thinking about painting the base like you did. Now I know I will!

  4. Crystal Van Wyhe

    I love your repurposed pieces! You have inspired me. My little bench or coffee table awaits me in the garage. I finally bought an electric sander. Yay! I have the piece ‘pictured’ in my mind. I want to do a Mackenzie-Childs courtly check look. I’ve been practicing the check. But it is very difficult. I know the checks should not be perfect. But I’m just not happy with the uneveness that appears when I do them. Now I will experiment with painters tape and see how that works. Can you coach me a bit?

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I love inspiring people it’s why I love what I do! If your going to use painters tape use the Green Frog brand it’s the best! Also peel the tape up carefully after your done don’t wait for it to completely dry. I would love to see your finished project! Sometimes we are our biggest critic and we see all the imperfections. But remember that’s what makes it unique ❤️

  5. What a fun day! Elvis and a coffee table DIY! It doesn’t get better than that. 😀 I love how it turned out. The colors together look so good. It looks aged, but new, if that makes any sense. Where did you get the scale decoration you have on top of the table?

    1. It was a fun day! I actually got that from the Lakeside Collection website. They have farmhouse decor at reasonable prices 🙂 thank you!

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