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Turn Furniture from Finished to Fancy

Brent Lunde - Friday, August 05, 2016

It can be hard to get rid of older, worn pieces of furniture. They grow on us emotionally so that we become attached, and before you know it everybody who comes into your home comments on the coffee table covered in scuff marks from your boots. On the other hand, new furniture can be expensive to buy and hard to match to your home. Here’s some advice for making an old coffee table, cabinet, or any other wood piece look like a leather-finished, high-end luxury item.


We’ll use a coffee table as an example, but this process will work on pretty much anything made out of wood or wood-composite materials. First off, you’ll need some supplies. All you need is the coffee table, a stack of paper grocery bags, some glue and Modge Podge, and a small bowl of warmish water. There are other items that might come in handy, but we’ll cover those as they come up along the way.


Start by using a paintbrush to place light amounts of glue in the corners of the coffee table. Then you’re going to need the brown paper and the water. You can get brown craft paper from old paper grocery bags or you can buy it in rolls. Start tearing off pieces of paper, as large or small as you want them to be, and distress the paper by crumpling it up without tearing it further. Once the paper is nice and crumpled, submerge it into the water, then pull it out and squeeze it dry to give it an even more weathered look.


The paper should still be damp, so place it over the glue you painted on the corners, and smooth out the paper on the table carefully. Repeat the process of dabbing light layers of glue in spots all over the table, distressing, soaking, and squeezing dry the paper, then smoothing it out over the surface of the table. The pieces of paper should overlap each other a little bit, enough so that when the paper dries and shrinks a little, there aren’t exposed cracks in between the pieces of paper.


Let the paper all over the table dry, and then start applying the Modge Podge in painted layers. Two or three layers should be fine, but if you want to give the table a smoother, glassier finish, try adding a single clear coat of polyurethane once the layers of Modge Podge are dried. If you want a darker finish than the paper yields naturally, stain the table and you'll have a finished product that looks something like this.


And voila! Your old coffee table is now a premier piece of wood furniture finished with an animal-friendly leather skin. Gone are the days of guest judgement as they put their drinks down on a coaster! No longer will your boots scuff the surface as you kick your feet up after a long day! And guess what? Your new living room item is easy to clean and smooth to the touch, too.


Then again, if this project sounds cool but the DIY mindset isn’t one you sweat by, you can always just have us come do some painting to breathe new life into your home. We do interiors and exteriors, so contact us today to get a quote on a new coat of paint for any residential or commercial property in the Portland-Vancouver area.


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