Transformation of Free End Table

The first piece of furniture I finished this week was this end table.

Poor thing was so neglected and unloved.  The amount of gunk, no other word for the gummy mess from lack of cleaning, was astounding.  I understand it’s hard to take pride in things that look beat up but this was just gross.

The plan was to put this in the boys’ room as a night stand. That changed and the boys got a different night stand.

Before I show you the process and finished table I thought you might like to see what else I took from the house.

I was coming home from the store when the landlord spotted me and held up this table, inquiring if I wanted it. I continued down the street and told him that yes, I would take it.

He then told me there was a coffee table inside and asked if I wanted it.  I told him I’d take that too.

He told me he cut up the couch and took home anything he could burn. I was sad to hear he didn’t try to find new homes for more of the stuff left behind.

There was a solid wood dining chair I brought home as well but before I got a picture to share with you it had a new home.  The chair was in fantastic condition, nothing needed tightening or repaired.

A little while later I happened to notice more things set out for trash pickup and went down to check it out.

There was this metal stand and the stainless steel fry pan.

Both need cleaned up. The metal stand has lots of cobwebs and the finish is worn. After cleaning it up I’ll see if I need to paint it. I’ll put this in the closet in the boys’ room to use in place of a dresser. My grandson can set his folded clothes on this instead of living out of his duffel bag like he did last summer. The bar on the side would be a nice place to hang his bath towel too.

The fry pan looks brand new inside but the bottom will need some elbow grease to get that cleaned up. I don’t have a fry pan and had been considering purchasing one. Of course hating to shop it’s easier for me to put off the decision and live without.  Now I have a safe fry pan and it only cost me a bit of time to clean it up.

So back to the end table.

I began with the top. With little ones coming around I’ve learned the hard way that it’s easier to refinish furniture in stages. This way the new paint or stain isn’t damaged inadvertently by a damp cup a child forgets and sets down.

The grooves on the side were just the right size to fit a piece of folded sandpaper in. A bit of back and forth and re-folding of the sandpaper took care of the varnish quickly.

The top came out beautiful

Quite a difference from the before.

I gave you a sneak peek at one of the finishes.

I love a dark walnut finish. This tiny can was leftover from the Ikea table top I completed a couple of months ago. This can cost $4.95 and will update a total of three pieces of furniture at least, money well spent.

There were a few flaws I couldn’t sand out. I considered filling them with wood putty but decided to leave them to add character.

Look how rich and beautiful the walnut stain came out.


Once I knew what the top would look like it was time to go through the paints I had on hand. I choose a Linen Chalk paint. The contrast is stunning.

I decided to stain the drawer the same as the table top rather than paint it.

The pull on the drawer was too big and couldn’t have been the original.

It wasn’t me either. I went to my box of hardware and found a knob I loved. It gave the table a fresher look.

I gave the entire table a coat of a water-based polyurethane leftover from refinishing the hardwood floors upstairs. The kids can’t hurt this table.

From trash

To cherished

As I mentioned earlier, I had been looking for a piece of furniture that could be used as a nightstand in the boys’ room. I had everyone looking for a small dresser with three drawers as the ideal. When I spotted this end table I figured it would do.

As I worked on the table I really wanted it in my living room. I had a small stand with three drawers in my living room I could put upstairs but it held the toys for the youngest children.

When my daughter-in-law came to visit and saw the newest end table she informed me it wasn’t going in the boys’ room. When I told her my idea that the table I’d been using for toys (another curbside find) would work better she agreed.  Little Guy is old enough now to be trusted on the stairs and he loves playing up there.

I pulled a few things out of the stand to keep downstairs (that’s what’s in the blue and white basket under the table).  The top two drawers are empty. My grandson can keep underwear, socks, his tablet if he brings it, etc in them. The bottom drawer holds Lego’s for the children

Things worked out perfectly. I have storage in the boys’ room and a lovely table in my living room.

Next up. This little gem is almost ready to show off.




  1. Really love the way you finished the dark wood top/white paint..Beautiful…I often think you should publish a book on how to do these things (reclaim etc), and show case your work…it might inspire more folks.

    the wire rack.Capital idea for the use, and the end bar will be perfect to hang a towel. Yet again, one more example of thinking outside the box..using something for a different use than it was most likely sold..

    most every time I read your blog, I go away with a smile of joy at what you create/reuse/re do..Thank you.


    • Thank you, Anon. I’m so very pleased you find value in my sharing.

      I’ve considered compiling a small book of the projects I’ve worked on in the last few years, maybe this winter when there is less to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great transformation as usual. I like the contrast of the dark and light. However, I’m most interested in the next piece. That looks like it would just work between two chairs in my living room. Not that it will end up there, but it might give me some ideas.


  3. Lois, I love the table, too! And I second Anon’s suggestion that you write a book. I think you could begin by putting together a selection of your posts, then editing, then filling in with whatever. At least you have the photos already . . .

    That wire stand on wheels is exactly like one my sister gave to our Mum; I think it was originally meant for taking food, etc. from the kitchen to the dining room, but Mum used it in several ways; sometimes it held weaving supplies (bobbins, etc.); sometimes supplies for other crafts. It was easy for her to move from one room to another, which was a bonus.

    I’m looking forward to the next transformation. You are a woman after my own heart; wish we could go ‘dumpster-diving’ together . . . Have a good weekend, my friend. ~ Linne


    • Linne, how I would love to go dumpster diving with you!

      The metal cart I assumed was a bar cart, like you said, something you could move easily. The wheels aren’t moving very smoothly at the moment but I’m sure cleaned and oiled it would work well again. Your mother was a smart woman who from the sounds of it looked around her home for solutions to her needs before purchasing a new item.

      I have given a lot of thought to writing a book about my furniture but, here’s the funny part, I have been worried it might actually take off and I have to be careful I don’t make too much money or I’ll lose my medical. Crazy isn’t it?


  4. Wow! It looks beautiful! Never in a million years would it occur to me to mix painted and stained surfaces that way, but it looks amazing.


  5. That table turned out perfect! I love it. You have lots of great finds there. I have never seen anything out at the curbs here. First of all, we are not allowed to put stuff out for free. I list what I’m giving away for free on craigslist. That’s how I got rid of the nice mattress. I haven’t looked for anything yet because I don’t have time to work on anything yet.


    • I wish Craigslist was more popular outside the metro area here but it just isn’t. I haven’t been able to sell anything on there since I moved. Our waste removal company will take just about anything and the town only cites people who have things sitting out for more than a week. This week there is a family moving a few blocks over and are setting out a few things each week. Haven’t spotted anything I could carry so far. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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