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End Table Makeover Ideas: Transform Your Living Space with These Simple Tips

End tables are a staple in most living spaces right? When I say end tables, you can also assume I’m talking about a coffee table, living room table, little side table, old table or any small table that is often overlooked when it comes to interior design. Let me show you various end table makeover ideas that can transform your space and add a touch of personality to your home.

One of the easiest ways to give your side table a new look is by changing the hardware. Swapping out old, worn-out knobs or handles with new ones can instantly update the piece and give it a fresh feel. Another option is to add decorative accents such as tassels or fringe to the corners of the table for a bohemian touch.

Leg Hardware for the end table

For those who love a DIY project, painting or staining a little table is a great option. A fresh coat of paint or stain can completely transform the look of the table and give it new life. Also don’t forget about stenciling or decoupaging the table with a fun pattern or image transfer can add a unique touch and make it a focal point in the room. Also don’t forget about the option to put a glass piece on the table top.

image transfer to drawers

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Understanding the Basics of End Table Makeover

End tables are a great way to add functionality and style to any room. With a little bit of creativity and some elbow grease, you can give your old end tables a new lease on life. This section will cover the basics of a side table makeover, including the importance of planning and choosing the right tools.

Importance of Planning

Before starting any end table makeover project, it is important to have a plan in place. This will help ensure that you have all the necessary materials and tools, and that you know what steps to take to achieve your desired outcome. Here are some key things to consider when planning your end table makeover:

  • Determine the style you want to achieve: Do you want a modern, sleek look or something more rustic and distressed? Knowing the style you want to achieve will help guide your material and color choices.
  • Assess the condition of your end table: Take a close look at your end table to see if there are any repairs that need to be made before starting your makeover. This could include fixing loose legs or repairing the edge of wood with Bondo.
  • Set a budget: End table makeovers can range from simple and inexpensive to more complex and costly. Determine how much you are willing to spend on your project and plan accordingly.

Choosing the Right Tools

Having the right tools on hand is essential for a successful end table makeover. Here are some of the basic tools you will need:

  • Sandpaper or electric orbital sander: Sanding is an important step in preparing your end table for painting or staining. Depending on the condition of your end table, you may need to start with a coarse grit sandpaper and work your way up to a finer grit.
  • Paint or stain: The type of finish you choose will depend on the style you want to achieve. Paint is a good option for a modern, sleek look, while stain can give your end table a more natural, rustic feel.
  • Paintbrushes or spray paint: Depending on the type of finish you choose, you will need either paintbrushes or spray paint to apply the finish.
  • Protective gear: It is important to protect yourself while working on your end table makeover. This may include wearing gloves, a mask, and safety goggles.

Preparation Steps for End Table Makeover

Do you have a good end table to transform? Don’t discount finding great, solid wood furniture at yard sales, thrift stores, a garage sale and even places like Facebook Marketplace. These are some of the best (and cheapest) places to find great deals. 

Cleaning the End Table

The first thing in preparing an end table for a makeover is to give it a good cleaning. This will remove any dirt, grime, or dust that may have accumulated on the surface. Here are some steps to follow when cleaning an end table:

  • Remove all items from the end table, including lamps, books, and other decorative items.
  • Use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe down the surface of the end table, removing any loose dirt or dust.
  • If necessary, use paint stripper to remove the finish.
  • For tougher stains or grime, use a degreaser product
  • Rinse the end table with clean water and dry it with a soft lint free cloth.

Sanding and Priming

After cleaning the entire table, the next step is to sand and prime the surface. This will ensure that the paint adheres properly (if you are painting it) and will provide a smooth finish. Here are some steps to follow when sanding and priming an end table:

  • Sand the surface of the end table with a fine-grit sandpaper and orbital sander to remove any old paint or varnish and to smooth out any imperfections.
  • Wipe down the surface of the end table with a clean, dry cloth to remove any dust or debris.
  • Apply a coat of primer to the surface of the end table, using a brush, roller or sprayer. Allow the primer to dry completely before proceeding.

Check out a list of the best Primer’s for wood and wood furniture here.

8 great end table makeover ideas

Choosing the Makeover Style

When it comes to giving your end table a makeover, the style you choose can make all the difference in the final look of the piece. Here are a few popular styles to consider:

Vintage Style

If you love the look of antique furniture, consider giving your end table a vintage makeover. This style is all about incorporating classic design elements and distressed finishes to create a piece that looks like it’s been in your family for generations. Some key features of a vintage end table makeover might include:

  • Distressed paint or stain
  • Antique hardware, such as drawer pulls or knobs
  • Ornate details, such as carved legs or decorative molding

Modern Style

For a sleek and contemporary look, consider a modern end table makeover. This style is all about clean lines, minimalism, and bold pops of color or metallic finishes. Some key features of a modern end table makeover might include:

  • High-gloss paint or lacquer
  • Geometric shapes, such as triangular or hexagonal tabletops
  • Metal or glass accents, such as chrome legs or a mirrored top
  • Adding modern contact paper to the surface

Rustic Style

If you love the natural beauty of wood and want to create a cozy, cabin-like feel in your home, consider a rustic end table makeover. This style is all about incorporating natural materials and textures to create a warm and inviting piece. Some key features of a rustic end table makeover might include:

No matter what style you choose, be sure to consider the overall look and feel of your space to ensure your end table or accent tables makeover complements your existing decor.

Painting and Finishing Techniques

Spray Painting

Spray painting is a quick and easy way to give an end table a fresh look with little effort. It’s important to choose the right type of spray paint for your project, such as a paint with a matte or glossy finish. Before starting, make sure to sand the table down and clean it thoroughly. It’s also recommended to use a spray paint primer to help the paint adhere better. When spraying, make sure to hold the can about 8-12 inches away from the surface and apply in even strokes. Allow the paint to dry completely before applying a second coat if needed.

Hand Painting

Hand painting is a fun way for those who want to add more detail or a personal touch to their end table. It’s important to choose the right type of paint, such as an acrylic paint or chalk paint, and to use a high-quality brush for the best results. You can also use a medium like gel stain that sits on top of the current finish. Before starting, make sure to sand the table down and clean it thoroughly. It’s also recommended to prime the table to help the paint adhere better. When painting, use even strokes and allow each coat to dry completely before applying another. It may take several coats to achieve the desired look.

Applying Finishing Touches like a clear coat

The final step once the coats of paint have dried is to add the finishing touches to your end table. This can include adding a protective clear coat, such as a clear wax or polyurethane, to help protect the paint and the table’s surface. It’s also recommended to add hardware, such as new drawer pulls or knobs, to give the table a complete makeover. Don’t forget to clean up any paint drips or smudges before finishing the project.

Post Makeover Care Tips

After giving your side table a makeover, it’s important to take care of it properly to maintain its new look. Here are a few post-makeover care tips:

1. Clean Regularly

To keep your end table looking fresh, it’s important to clean it regularly. Use a soft cloth to dust the surface and wipe it down with a damp cloth when needed. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage the surface.

2. Use Coasters

To prevent water stains and other damage, use coasters when placing drinks or other items on the end table. This will help protect the surface and maintain its appearance.

3. Avoid Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight can fade and damage the surface of your end table over time. To prevent this, avoid placing your table in direct sunlight or use window coverings to block out the sun’s rays.

4. Touch Up as Needed

If your end table experiences any scratches or other damage, touch it up as needed. Use a matching paint or stain to cover up any imperfections and maintain the appearance of your table.


There are numerous ways to transform an old or outdated side table into a stylish and functional piece of furniture. By using some of the ideas mentioned, individuals can give their end tables a new lease on life without breaking the bank.

Below I want to share 10 great end table makeover ideas with step-by-step instructions on how to get a great finish.

10 great End Table Makeover Ideas

End Table Makeover Ideas

Check out these awesome End Table Makeover ideas. I hope they leave you inspired to create or recreate beautiful furniture of your own!

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