There is something very appealing about older coffee tables – the ones that were solid, sturdy and made from real wood.

If you buy a new coffee table, you will often find that although it looks nice and shiny it simply doesn’t have the same character or presence as an older table.

That explains why lots of people are buying up older coffee tables from sites like eBay, or simply renovating older coffee tables which they already own.

In this article we provide 5 ways that you can cost effectively renovate your old coffee table in order to give it a new lease of life.

1 – Refinish your coffee table

This is probably the simplest method of renovating an old table. It can be done at a very low cost and will provide excellent results.

First of all, its best to thoroughly clean your coffee table – you can use a damp cloth for this, or you can use a mild cleaner such as sugar soap.

Once the table is clean, sand the surface of the table down using sandpaper. If you have a larger coffee table then it’s worth investing in a power sander.

Orbital sanders work particularly well because they are handheld sanders which allow you to keep close control over the amount of material that you remove from the surface of the table.

They also make the job much less taxing on your hands, compared to the manual alternative.

The next step is to varnish the table using your desired colour of varnish. The result will be a coffee table that looks as good as new, whilst also having a great deal of character that you’d expected from an older table.

2 – Upholster your coffee table

If your table is too damaged to refinish, or you don’t have the time to carry out that task, upholstering is another option. You can cover your table in a range of materials such as a simple cotton throw or a quilted blanket.

In addition, you can simply throw the cover over the table, or you can fasten it permanently to the coffee table, depending on your requirements, time and budget.

Whichever option you choose, upholstering is a great way of revamping your table that also allows you to change the look and feel to match the room in which your table is being placed.

3 – decorating your coffee table with functional items

This is something that is often over-looked. Rather than completely changing the table itself, you can effectively revamp your coffee table using household items. For example, you could fill your table with books, a fruit bowl or even flowers.

This may sound like a cop-out, but it most definitely isn’t. You can really transform the look and feel of your old coffee table using this method. As the saying goes – design should be led by function, so having functional items placed on your table can give it an amazing new look.

4 – Paint your coffee table

If you want to give your coffee table a new lease of life, keep its character and also make it fit in with the surroundings, painting is a great option.

Once again, you’ll need to thoroughly clean your coffee table, and possibly give it a light sanding, before you pick up the paint brush.

After the preparation is complete, you can paint your table using an indoor paint suitable for wooden surfaces. Depending on the age of your table, and the type of wood, you may need several coats of paint.

Think about the colour carefully before committing yourself – you want a colour that fits in with the existing decor. However, if your table is a focal point in the room, you may want to use a slightly contrasting colour, to make it stand out.

5 – Thinking outside of the box

If you really want to add some character to an old table then its time to think outside of the box. It’s not just the traditional methods such as varnishing, painting and upholstering that work. You can decorate your table with any number of items – new and old.

How about covering your table in coasters? Or beer mats? You could even cover it in a papier-mâché style collage of magazine cuttings and then paint over the top with a clear varnish.

Coming up with a unique idea such as this one will not only give your table a new lease of life, it will also make it a talking point when you have guests round as it will be totally unique to you.

Let your creative self-flow

These are just a small selection of ideas that you can implement in order to give your old coffee table a new lease of life.

However, there are millions of different ways that you can achieve the same effect. The key point here is not to be restricted by what other people are doing. Let your creative self-flow and just think outside of the box.

Look at the other elements of the room and think about how you can complement, and sometimes contrast, those existing features.

Think about the elements of your old coffee table that you want to accentuate, and those you want to stifle. Then come up with a design that helps to achieve the desired effect.

Once you decide on an idea, make sure that you plan everything in detail first of all, do some research online and find out how best to prepare the table. Find out as well, the best way to implement your chosen design.

This planning stage is very important because you want your design to work as expected and you also want the design to stand the test of time – this is where using tried and tested methods will be beneficial.

Once you have finished renovating your old coffee table, don’t stop there – make sure you invite all of your friends’ round for dinner, or coffee, so that you can show off your “new” table.

You never know, your work may encourage some of your friends to embark on their own coffee table renovation project.


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