Thrift Shop Find: How to Make Over a Kitchen Table

Thrift store shopping is in vogue. Some people like to stretch their dollars and others like the value of recycling cast-off items into functional pieces of home dÃ?©cor. Whatever your reason is there is no doubt that thrift store shopping is here to stay. We all like the idea of getting new items for next to nothing. But what do you do when your perfect item isn’t so perfect? How do you create that item into your perfect thrift shop find?

To answer these questions let’s look at a kitchen table that recently appeared at the thrift shop where I work. It’s the perfect candidate for a makeover.

When selecting an item for a thrift shop makeover it’s best to start with a wood piece with simple lines. This is especially important if this is your first piece. You will be sanding the wood. Intricate details and carvings may be tough for a beginner to work with. Also consider your skill level. If the most you can do is tighten a few screws don’t piece a table that needs to be completely rebuilt.

The table shown in the photo is a simple all wood table. The legs, top and sides are in great condition (except for nicks and scratches). The table was originally a deep shade of brown, with nicks, scratches and scuffs. We didn’t realize that we had problems with the camera until it was too late. The photos didn’t turn out. Take our work for it. The table was sturdy but ugly, making it the perfect candidate for the thrift shop makeover. It was also in pieces.

After picking out and inspecting the item it’s time to take it home, assemble supplies and get ready to work.

For this table we used:

Belt Sander


Several sheets of medium grade sandpaper

Tack Cloth



Spray Paint


Plastic bag

The first thing we did after leaving the thrift shop with the kitchen table was to assemble it. This helped us be sure we had all the parts. At a thrift shop it’s easy to miss a bolt or other small but critical item. Quick assembling at home can save you hours of frustration from searching for the one lost bolt you were certain you had but didn’t.

Next, we took the table apart again and put all the bolts and hardware into a plastic bag for safekeeping. To do this we used the pliers and screwdriver.

Now you are ready to start sandpapering your kitchen table. When starting a thrift shop makeover you want to take off as much of the old finish as possible. This gives the table a smooth finish and allow the paint to stick better. Do each leg in turn being sure not to miss a section. Then start on the top of the table. We used the handheld sheets of sandpaper on the legs and crevices of the table. The electric belt sander was used on the tabletop. Gently wipe away any remaining sawdust with the tack cloth. Check and double-check your work for missed spots. Repeat the sanding as needed. Remove dust layers with the tack cloth.

When the surface is smooth and as free from the old paint as possible you are ready to apply your new color.

For this kitchen table we chose a green spray paint. Spray paint is the best-kept thrift shop makeover secret that there is. It is inexpensive, easy to apply and the finish lasts for years!

Spray with a light coat of paint and let dry according to the manufacturers instructions. It is best to build up layers. This allows for maximum bonding and paint durability. Continue until you are satisfied with the appearance of the table. When dry, coat the entire table and legs in a light coat of polyurethane. Let dry and repeat.

Now you are ready to put the entire table back together. Congratulations. You now have a thrift shop makeover kitchen table that will last for years!

For more ideas on thrift shop makeovers please visit:—Finding-and-Redoing-Furniture&id=633711

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