Mid Century Modern Side Table Makeover

April 20, 2015Sarah Khandjian

Loving this mid-century side table makeover with chalk paint and liquid gold leaf paint. Such a great way to update a garage sale find! (click through for step-by-step tutorial and tips) #12monthsofmartha

I’m a sucker for mid-century furniture pieces. I check out Craigslist a few times a week to see if I can score a great deal on an Eames rocker (no luck yet) or another great mid-century piece but hate the often high price tag that goes along with them.

A few weeks ago, my friend Cindy, who is an avid furniture painter spotted this side table for $10 so I quickly responded the listing and picked it up the next day. It was way smaller than I anticipated and didn’t look too promising but I thought for $10 it was worth a try to revive this vintage piece. I got to work and did a few minor repairs, tried out the new Martha Stewart vintage decor paint for the first time, and of course, added a bit of gold. Now I’m absolutely in love with the final piece!

See what this mid-century side table looks like after an easy but so stylish makeover!

Time: 1 hour + drying time
Supplies: side table / vintage decor paint / gold liquid gilding /  clear waxpainter’s tape / brush / iron-on veneer edging / fine sanding block / utility knife / wood block

Remove plastic edging on old laminate furniture with a utility knife and replace it with iron on edging tape.

Step 1: Use a utility knife to carefully remove the old, rounded plastic edging. The edging was already coming off on the top tier so that was a piece of cake to remove. The bottom tier took a little more effort but once I made  a vertical cut in the edging it was easy to remove.

Refinish the edges of a laminate piece with easy to use iron of wood edge tape. It can be painted or stained to match the furniture piece.

Step 2: Apply the iron on edging tape according to the directions on the package. I wrapped the iron base in aluminum foil to avoid getting any of the glue on the iron. I found it easiest to apply when I held the extra edging in place with my other hand.

Use a scrap piece of wood to firmly press down the edging take tape after you iron it to make sure it adheres to the laminate or wood.

Step 3: As you apply the edging, stop every so often and press it into place. I used a scrap piece of wood for this.

Chalk paint is perfect for transforming wood and laminate pieces a like. No primer or pre-sanding required!

Step 4: Get the first coat of paint on there! Since it dries so quickly, I found it easiest to paint as much as I could in one direction then flip the piece over to paint the legs. Once it’s dry, lightly sand it with a sanding block and then wipe it down with a clean rag to remove the dust. I painted a total of 4 (maybe 5) coats and sanded after every coat.


Step 5: Use painter’s tape to mark off the bottom section. I applied the tape 5″ from the bottom of each leg. Make sure the tape is smooth and firmly adhered then paint the legs gold. I applied 2 coats of the liquid gilding, letting it dry for about 10 minutes before coats.

Once it’s completely dry, apply a coat of clear wax over the entire piece to seal the paint. Make sure you wipe of any excess paint before it dries. Once dry, lightly buff it with a clean rag and then it’s ready to be used in your home!

A $10 Cragislist find gets a made into a stylish mid-century side table with chalk paint.

This two-tier side table is a $10 Craigslist find that was refinished with chalk paint.

DecorateKate Spade: Places to Go, People to See | Rug

Loving this before and after of a mid-century side table. Such a simple transformation makes such a huge impact in a room!

Check out my other #12MonthsofMartha projects, including the geometric wall art you see behind the side table!I'm part of the #12MonthsofMartha team! Follow along to see how I use Martha Stewart supplies to make one-of-a-kind DIY projects.


  • Amy W

    April 20, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Love how this turned out… and I just realized after reading your post, I never received clear wax. Well, thankfully my painted luggage won’t need any!

  • Rachel | The Crafted Life

    April 21, 2015 at 2:18 am

    I didn’t even know edging tape was a thing- this is brilliant! Such a gorgeous makeover Sarah!

    1. Sarah

      April 21, 2015 at 10:51 am

      Thanks girl! It’s so awesome! You can buy it in white laminate too!

  • Gwen

    April 24, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Sarah, it’s just gorgeous! I love the gold and white so, so much!

    1. Sarah

      April 29, 2015 at 8:23 am

      Thanks so much!

  • emily

    April 26, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    darling…such a fresh update!

    1. Sarah

      April 29, 2015 at 8:22 am

      Thanks, Emily!

  • Diana

    May 2, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Lovely table!! By the way, where did you get that pretty rug? It´s so beautiful <3

    1. Sarah

      May 2, 2015 at 10:35 am

      Thanks so much! Isn’t the rug awesome! I can’t stop staring at it :) It’s from West Elm.

  • interior MISMATCH @ sarahroseHENKIN

    July 31, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Fantastic spruce-up~

    1. Sarah

      August 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks so much!

  • Jo Carr

    June 25, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Hi, I’m doing a similar project. I wanted to know why you sanded after every coat. I didn’t realize I needed to sand at all. I did sand before the first coat.

    1. Sarah

      June 26, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Hi Jo. It’s not necessary but sanding between coats removes the texture from brush strokes and produces a super smooth finish.

  • lorraine

    May 20, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    why did u take the edging off, i am about to refinish a set that i have here tks :)

    1. Sarah Khandjian

      May 20, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      Hi Lorraine, I took the edging off because it was chipped and damaged. Also since I wanted to paint it, the paint wouldn’t adhere well to the vinyl edging anyways. Best of luck!

  • Barbara

    June 15, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Wondering whether the top was a synthetic formica–like top or if it was wood….?

    1. Sarah Khandjian

      June 19, 2018 at 10:34 am

      It’s laminate and MDF, like most IKEA furniture.

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