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DIY Milk Painted Coffee Table

See how I updated this old thrift score with a milk painted coffee table makeover. Milk paint is a great furniture paint.

You know how some of the best restaurants are found in a “hole in the wall?” I think that’s true for a lot of things; even thrift stores. I was dying to try some milk paint, so when I stumbled upon a great furniture piece at a local thrift store I knew what my new furniture project would be. Let me show you how I created a new look for this DIY Milk painted coffee table.

milk painted coffee table upcycle

It all started when I was on my way to pick my son up from school. I passed this little “hole in the wall” thrift store that I had been eyeing for quite a while now. I finally decided it was time to stop.

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Guess what!

I found a great coffee table that I wanted to try with milk paint.

I have a rule for myself when I’m thrifting; if I find a piece of furniture i’m interested in it needs to be a solid piece of furniture. This rule in a nutshell is this; no cheap junk.

When I found this old coffee table, which looked terrible on the outside, I knew it had potential because it was sturdy and heavy.

I immediately ran up to it, looking it all over for a price tag.


I asked the sales lady, “do you know how much this is?”

She responded, “you know honey, it just came in yesterday. It looks like it was used as a saw horse because someone has clearly made cut marks. I will give it to you for 5$”

My insides were screaming with excitement. I said, “sure, I’ll take it.”  I paid, packed her up in the mini van, and off we went with my new find.

Milk Painted Coffee Table Makeover

The first thing I needed to address were the the small cut marks that the sales lady was talking about when she referred to the table as a “saw horse.” Nothing a little wood filler couldn’t fix.

After I cleaned it up, I lightly sanded the entire piece because it looked like someone had painted and then repainted and repainted. Then I filled in the “holes” as well as I could with wood filler.

Then I sanded again.

This table has really been more of an experiment because I only planned on doing a little sanding, then a few coats of MILK PAINT and then distressing. But the more I worked, the more ideas I had, and the more work it became.

After I sanded the coffee table, I painted it with General Finishes Milk paint in White.

I still wanted to add a little more color.

I added Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Grey to the top and the legs. I decided a “two toned” look might be nice.

I still wasn’t happy with it and thought I wanted more than just grey, so maybe a faux wood top?

Off to Lowe’s for a thin strip of wood to stain.

I decided to buy a thin piece of white oak plywood because it was thin, cheap, and Lowe’s was able to cut it to the size I needed to fit the top of the table.

After staining the plywood, I used wood glue to attach it to the table.

Then I decided the color of the coffee table legs need to match the color of the top of the table.

I used Annie Sloan Dark Wax for the legs so they would match the top.

After completing all four legs I STILL wasn’t happy because the legs STILL looked different than the top.

Off to paint the top with more Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Grey.

I sanded the top to give it a more “distressed” look to match the legs and then added another layer of dark wax.

TA DAH, I was finally felt finished with this thrifted milk painted coffee table makeover.

milk painted coffee table
milk painted coffee table

What do y’all think? Did I make too much work for myself? Sometimes I can go a little crazy when it comes to refinishing furniture.

In the end, all it takes a little creativity and an open mind, and you really can find great steals at thrift stores.

Interested in more posts like this? Check out more furniture flips like this one. Also don’t leave without checking out my milk paint furniture makeover with a tv stand too.

milk paint furniture makeover
Painting and Refinishing Furniture 101


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  1. […] You can see where I darkened the overall look of a milk painted coffee table HERE. […]

  2. Love the modern twist you created for this piece Lindsey, a wonderful update for this thrifty find! Thanks so much for sharing at Fridays Furniture Fix!

  3. Lisa says:

    Wow! Great job! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Daraka says:

    Wow! It looks amazing!! Great find 🙂

  5. Wow!! It looks so great!! Such a neat find too 🙂

  6. Kellie says:

    Great job!!!