I have been KILLING IT lately at the local ReStore, and this past weekend, I scored another great deal on two end tables with gorgeous marble tops.  Here’s a shot of one of them from a few different angles:

I absolutely love the French country style and all the detail on the legs.  I also love that the tops are marble, which is good for my inner Coaster Nazi.  (Spend any length of time in my house and I’m sure to yell “Coaster!” in your direction at least once. Other than that, I’m fun to hang out with, I swear.)

vintage end table - before
What I did NOT love was the dingy, gold-ish finish on the tables.  I knew fresh paint could bring them back to life, and I decided to go with Pure White chalk paint from Annie Sloan.  These tables would have been amazing in a more funky color, but I want to use them in my living room next to my yellow-ish, somewhat refined sofa.  Also, I just really love how light colored furniture makes a space feel bright and open, so I tend to be a bit boring in my paint choices.

Anyway, I’m thrilled with how the tables came out:

vintage end tables - after

Here’s a side-by-side before & after:

vintage end tables - before & after
They are replacing the current end tables, which are all wrong – both in terms of style and color – for the new sofa:

End Tables with Sofa - Before & After

The new end tables are so much better!

Painting these bad boys was definitely a pain in the arse.  There were so many nooks and crannies to work around.  Having a lazy greyhound constantly plopping himself down in the middle of the project didn’t help either.  He seemed to think the drop cloth was a new dog bed just for him.

Dobby in project

I’m far from a chalk painting expert as this is only the third or fourth piece I’ve done, but here are some tips that may be helpful if you tackle a similar project:

  • When working with a piece that is dark and/or has a shiny surface, start by applying some shellac. I used a lint-free rag to wipe on a very thin layer all over the tables.  Let that dry completely before moving on to paint.  This is the specific product I used:

Shellac

  • To get a smoother finish, use a traditional style paint brush vs. the more wiry Annie Sloan brush you usually see.  Chalk paint by nature is meant to show some texture and depth, so you’ll always get at least a little bit of the brush stroke texture, but this can be minimized.  Annie Sloan actually makes a great “smooth” brush, but I think you could use one from the hardware store that works just as well.  I used my Annie Sloan brush for the larger sections, but I used a smaller Purdy brush for most of the project.  I also used a tiny craft brush for the metal screens inset in the doors (talk about tedious!).
Annie Sloan smooth paint brushes
Annie Sloan smooth brushes
  • Finish off the piece with a coat of soft wax.  I used the Annie Sloan wax brush, which I really love.  Use a very small amount for each layer and work it in the direction of your paint strokes.

I wanted to keep the pieces looking crisp and white, so I didn’t add any dark wax.  Dark wax would have given the tables a more aged look and helped to emphasize the design detail, so that would have been a great option as well.

Finally, I cleaned the marble tops with warm water and then sealed them with granite sealer.

I’m totally thrilled with this project.  With tax, the pair of tables was $186, or $93 each.  I don’t know when these tables were made, but it was back when furniture was made RIGHT.  They are solid pieces that are extremely durable and will hold up great.  I’m looking forward to enjoying them for many years to come!