Re­vi­tal­ize for­got­ten fur­ni­ture with a sim­ple DIY trans­for­ma­tion

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Putting your own flair into an old piece of fur­ni­ture or thrift store find is a cre­ative and bud­get-friendly way to trans­form un­used items into per­sonal trea­sures.

Refin­ish­ing old ta­bles, chairs and other wooden items can in­still new life, mak­ing th­ese pieces func­tional and con­tem­po­rary once more. Whether you’re re­pur­pos­ing a piece en­tirely, or sim­ply up­dat­ing the look, there are a few things to keep in mind:

• Color: Do you have a spe­cific room in mind to use your se­lected piece? If you have a place al­ready cho­sen, con­sider a col­ored stain to match the room’s dé­cor. If not, a ver­sa­tile wood tone may be a bet­ter choice.

• Prod­uct: Is this your first project? If so, wa­ter-based prod­ucts can be a sim­pler, DIY friendly al­ter­na­tive to oil based stains and fin­ishes. Will your “new” fur­ni­ture be in fre­quent or ca­sual use? To pro­tect from wear and tear on daily-use items, be sure to fin­ish your project with an ap­pro­pri­ate sealant or pro­tec­tive coat. In­te­rior stain and seal­ers of­fer a pro­tec­tive el­e­ment built into the prod­uct, such as Cabot Pre­mium Wood Fin­ish, which pro­vides rich color and tough, durable re­sults.

• Prepa­ra­tion: Al­though you may be anx­ious to put your new trea­sure to use, tak­ing time to prop­erly strip and pre­pare your wood for its new fin­ish will en­sure the best re­sults.

This DIY project, cre­ated by Beth Hunter, au­thor of the blog “Home Sto­ries A to Z,” shows you how to take a tired, out­dated cof­fee ta­ble from at­tic to amaz­ing in three sim­ple steps.


Chem­i­cal strip­per

Hand-held paint scraper

Tack cloths or lint-free rags

Rub­ber gloves

Safety glasses

Or­bital sander with 60-, 120- and 220-grit discs

In­te­rior wood stain and sealer prod­uct, such as Cabot Pre­mium Wood Fin­ish (in the ready-to-use or cus­tom-tinted to your color of choice)

Pain­ters’ tape

Paint brush

300 grit sand pa­per

1. Use a chem­i­cal strip­per to re­move heavy lay­ers of paint, stain or var­nish. Fol­low the la­bel’s di­rec­tions, al­low­ing the strip­per to sit for the des­ig­nated amount of time and then gen­tly scrap­ing and wip­ing away the residue (tack cloth or lint-free rag is im­por­tant, so you don’t leave par­ti­cles be­hind).

Tip: Re­mem­ber to wear gloves ap­proved for chem­i­cal han­dling and eye pro­tec­tion, and be sure to set up your project in a well-ven­ti­lated area. A res­pi­ra­tor may be nec­es­sary to en­sure you don’t in­hale too many pow­er­ful fumes.

2. Once your piece has been stripped, wiped clean with a damp rag and al­lowed to thor­oughly dry, you are ready to sand. Al­though for some small projects sand­pa­per sheets will do, you’ll get the best re­sults us­ing a qual­ity or­bital sander (there are many op­tions in the $50 to $100 range, well worth the in­vest­ment if you’ll be do­ing more projects in the fu­ture).

Us­ing the sander, start with a low-grit, coarse sand­pa­per (60 grit) and work up to the high-grit, fine pa­per (220 grit). The low grit takes off any re­main­ing fin­ish quickly and rough­ens the wood, while the finer grits smooth the wood and cre­ate a pris­tine sur­face. Af­ter sand­ing, use a tack cloth to wipe down your piece and re­move the dust.

3. Now you are ready to add color. For this project, a se­ries of col­ors in the new Cabot Pre­mium Wood Fin­ish line were used, in­clud­ing Mus­sel Shell, Stormy Teal, Riverbed and Cof­fee­house. The prod­ucts in this line are wa­ter-based stain and seal­ers so they dry quickly, and are good choices for a DIYer be­cause they stain and pro­tect at once while pro­vid­ing high-qual­ity, beau­ti­ful re­sults. Th­ese fin­ishes also of­fer smooth ap­pli­ca­tion with­out the need for a primer or con­di­tioner and a sim­ple soap and wa­ter clean-up.

If you will be us­ing mul­ti­ple col­ors, as with this project, tape off ar­eas to make crisp lines. Use a brush to ap­ply the prod­uct, and al­low to dry as de­scribed on the pack­age di­rec­tions. Use ul­tra-fine grit sand pa­per, such as 300 grit, to lightly sand the first coat. Fin­ish with a sec­ond coat.

Tips: For a richer color, use the finest sand pa­per pos­si­ble to re­move as lit­tle stain as pos­si­ble be­tween coats. Ap­ply more lay­ers for a darker look, or only one coat for a dis­tressed look.

For ad­di­tional DIY project ideas for your home, in­clud­ing tips and how-to videos, visit www.cabot­


Putting your own flair into an old piece of fur­ni­ture or thrift store find is a cre­ative and bud­get-friendly way to trans­form un­used items into per­sonal trea­sures.

This out­dated ta­ble can be trans­formed into amaz­ing in three easy steps.

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