Upcycling a Pine End Table

I acquired two pine end tables and a coffee table when a couple of our friends decided to move in together. By combining the furniture of two houses into one, they no longer had a use for the set. Brian and I borrowed my father-in-law’s pickup truck (thanks, Henry!) to pick up this generous lot of furniture.

While the pieces don’t really match my style, I knew they had good bones and great potential. I couldn’t wait to get started! I decided to try out a new-to-me technique on one of the end tables and I couldn’t be happier with the result. Remember those arm chairs I refinished? I have my sights set on this piece going between the chairs in my bedroom (still working on a few elements to style this area so stay tuned for updated photos in a week or so).

Here’s the before and after shot but promise me you’ll stick around after to learn how I did it and to tell me what you think.

Pine end table DIY upgradeThis table is from Broyhill Furniture and while the drawers are not the best constructed (the drawers sit flush with the cabinet and are not dovetailed but they slide on a center runner which prevents them from sagging on one side and not the other), it’s a good solid piece with interesting moulding and detail. And it doesn’t hurt that the previous owner was meticulous so it’s in like-new condition!

The first thing I did was remove the hardware with a screwdriver and place the pulls and the corresponding screws in a clearly labeled ziploc bag so I wouldn’t lose them. Next, I hand sanded the bottom portion of the cabinet just enough to scuff it up so it would accept primer/paint. I knew I wanted to stain the top darker so I brought in my resident expert to help with that. I can admit it: my husband is simply better at some things than I am. And power sanding is definitely one of those things. Here he is in action:

Powersand a Pine TableAfter cleaning and removing all dust and sand particles from the surface, I applied shellac to all of the pine knots except the ones on the top surface. I did not want the knots to be visible through the paint but I very much wanted them visible on the top! I love the look of wood grain, knots and all. While the shellac was drying, I used a clean cloth to apply Minwax gel stain in walnut to the top. Brian instructed me to rub it on thick (always in the direction of the grain!) and let it penetrate for a few minutes before wiping any excess with another cloth. I repeated this step a few times–allowing each coat to dry in between. It still wasn’t quite dark enough so I added two light coats of Rust-Oleum wood stain in kona.

I applied 3 coats of Behr Premium Plus Ultra semi-gloss paint + primer in one to the rest of the cabinet. I’d tell you the name but the paint is left over from painting trim in our house and I seem to have painted over the label. Hope I don’t need to buy new trim paint anytime soon!

I used a 1-inch, high quality paint brush to cover the sides and back and an artist’s brush to work with all of the small detail and moulding. Once everything dried, I applied a water-based polyacrylic to the painted portion of the cabinet (to seal it without yellowing over time) and am about to apply a varnish to the top. I ended up reusing the old hardware but secured the pull backings square rather than diamond as they were before.

What do you think of my upcycled pine end table? Have you tried something similar?

Pine End Table Furniture UpgradeRestain pine table top





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1 Response

  1. Gillian says:

    This is beautiful and exactly what I want to do with my old pine furniture that my two kids have inherited. In its present finish its dated but the furniture is solid (they have better quality stuff than me!). I’ve never done furniture refinishing so thank you for this… I’m off to start sanding!

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