Last week I shared with you the story of how my 2-year-old son helped me paint two tables. Here are the “after” pictures along with more detailed information for the painters out there on how to achieve these looks. I used the same basic technique on both tables and got dramatically different results. Isn’t paint amazing? I really like how both tables turned out. I should have Joey help me more often!

TABLE #1: My Grandmother’s Table

grandmas table_beforeI must tell you my grandmother was a decorator. She had a beautiful home and was always changing things around and trying new looks. I did not hesitate to paint her table for one second because I know if she was here, she would have told me to paint it already!

(Although hot pink might not have been her first choice!)

grandmas table_bordelloAfter the hot pink dried, I came back with a dark navy blue over everything.

DSC_0283Hot pink/navy blue is my personal favorite color combination and I’m slowly painting a lot of my furniture this way. These colors make me happy.

BONUS: They match this pretty lamp that also belonged to my grandmother. I loved this lamp since I was a little girl. The crystals always reminded me of earrings. The lamp had been upstairs in our guest room, but I brought it down to put on the new table.

Once the blue dried, I took a damp sponge and rubbed it all over the legs, spindles and edges of the tabletop to reveal the pink underneath. This technique is called wet distressing.


I don’t try to force the color to come through in any particular spot. I just start rubbing and let the paint reveal itself wherever it wants to peek out. In some places, I rubbed a little too hard and it distressed all the way to the original wood. I decided I kind of liked how the wood looked so I left it alone. You can always come back with more paint if you find you distressed too much.


I originally distressed the tabletop, but decided it had too much pink coming through in big streaks. I didn’t like how it looked so I painted over the tabletop solid blue and left the pink on the other areas.

table1_tabletopIt looks bright in these photos taken outside in sunlight, but in my living room the pink actually does look subtle.

mylivingroomNow that I have the table and lamp in place, I think my Washington National Airport print needs to move. I have a spot for it on another wall in the living room next to its sister, the Dulles Airport print. I used to work at both airports and my husband used to travel a lot for his job. We spent many hours having coffee at both airports waiting for his flights. I used to joke that if I didn’t work at the airport, I would never see him!

Those were fun times and the artwork makes both of us happy. However, I think a pretty mirror would look better on that wall now. I happen to know a cute little shop up in Leesburg where I’m sure I can find the perfect thing!


TABLE #2: My Saturday Morning Find


I love the fabulously spindly legs on this little table, but the tabletop had some issues such as scratches and a circular mark where someone set down a drink. I could have sanded the scratches smooth. However, I am lazy. And I also like to leave a little bit of character on the furniture I paint, especially on cool vintage pieces like this table. This isn’t a brand-new slicky-smooth table from Ikea. It has lived a full life! I think something can be imperfect and still be beautiful. Just like a lot of people I know!

I started by brushing more navy blue on the legs in random swipes.

table2_legsThen I covered the legs completely with a neutral gray/taupe color.

My plan was to wet distress like I did with my grandmother’s table.

Joey had other ideas! This is the table he had so much fun painting.

Joey paintingHe wanted more blue so I opened a can of turquoise for him and he painted it on the tabletop and legs. I’m really glad I listened to him! Look at how much dimension that second color added when I distressed the legs and edges.


table2_legIt also made the tabletop swirlier. I’m pretty sure that isn’t a word, but I like to say it. Swirlier! I also like how it looks. There’s so much texture on this tabletop. It somehow simultaneously camouflages the flaws and accentuates them.


table2_tabletopHere’s the finished table.



4 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Tables — Part 2

  1. Wonderful techniques–the tables came out beautifully. I’m just beginning to experiment a bit with my painting. I just started using wax to finish things off with and I love it!

  2. You really don’t have to strip stain and varnish? I have been wanting to paint my kitchen cupboards for years. They have been stained. Can I really just paint them? No sanding stripping? I also have an old entertainment center. The kind with the ” wood grain look” can I just paint it too ?

    1. Hi Lori,

      You REALLY DON’T have to strip the stain and varnish (for most projects)! Isn’t that awesome? My table had a shiny varnish on it and the paint stuck right to it–no problem. Now, I say “for most projects” because there’s always one … For kitchen cabinets, I would scrub them really well and give them a light sanding. You don’t have to strip it down to the bare wood, but “rough it up” a little to help the paint stick better. Here’s a link to a great article about painting kitchen cabinets: The other thing I would recommend for kitchen cabinets is to finish them with a heavy-duty polyacrylic sealer instead of the wax you would use to seal a piece of furniture. Cabinets get a lot of wear and tear and need to be wiped down a lot, which the wax doesn’t stand up to as nicely as a stronger poly would. For the entertainment center, you can probably just clean it really well and paint it. It might need two coats of paint, but hey, that is still easier than stripping it all the way down, right?

      Good luck with your projects! I’m sure they will look wonderful! Let me know how they turn out. 🙂

      ~ Courtney

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