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  • Writer's pictureKate

About those side tables.......

Hi, friends! I hope your week is treating you well so far. Mine is going along pretty smoothly I must say.

A while back on Instagram I showed some photos of two side tables from our bedroom that I was refinishing. Well.......they're done. Wait, don't get too excited-they did not turn out exactly as I had planned and in all honesty, I'm not thrilled with them. I will share them with you anyway and explain.

Quite some time ago I saw a post by Kris from Driven by Decor refinishing a table exactly like the two I had in my bedroom. I had no thoughts about refinishing them prior to seeing Kris' post but, man, once I did I could not get the idea out of my head! I absolutely love her end result!

I still very much loved the lines and form of my tables. However, I was completely over the dark cherry/mahogany shiny finish. It looked dated and heavy to me. I've turned a design corner and am totally embracing everything light and fresh and airy.

I waited until we moved to get started as I did not need a single extra source of stress prior to our move. My head would have literally exploded. I started as I normally do when stripping furniture-with Citristrip gel. This is a good time for me to tell you something-I am by no means an expert furniture refinisher. However, I have done a number of pieces that I am really happy with. I am not a complete amateur I gathered my orbital sander, various grits of sandpaper, a proper mask and all the other supplies I knew I would need.

It took a loooooong time to get the first table completely down to bare wood. Like, a loooong time. Why do I always forget how long this process takes and how painful it is? It's like giving birth. If we remembered how long and painful it is, we would never do it again. I really dig using my orbital sander though-I thought you should know. In my naivete I thought the second one would be a little bit quicker. FALSE. I even took it apart so I could more easily reach everything and NOPE. Not faster. Not even a little bit. Anyway, they both eventually got naked and I was very excited to stain them.

I was going for something in between grey and brown. I didn't use solely grey stain because I didn't want it to look whitewashed. I wanted something a bit deeper. I used Varathane in Classic Grey and Espresso as I've had good results with Varathane in the past. After testing out a few combinations I settled on two parts Classic Grey and one part Espresso. The top of the table went well. Stain went on smoothly so I moved on to the middle part of the table. Apparently that is made from something altogether different than the top of the table and took the stain in a completely different way and looked much darker. Uh-oh. Don't panic. Don't panic. Don't panic. Okay, panic! I forced myself to let it be and continue on to the other table. Same thing. Ugh. Seriously?

I let it dry and discovered I wasn't really happy with the top either. I think because of the kind of wood (cherry? mahogany?) after applying the stain it wound up with a weird slightly pink cast. Not exactly the look I was going for. I'm sorry I don't have photos of that but when I'm in panic mode I'm not necessarily thinking about the blogging aspect of the project and just want to fix it. I diluted the espresso stain with quite a bit of water and went over everything lightly, barely letting the stain sit on the piece at all, then wiping it off quickly. They were better, if not great.

I thought very briefly about starting from scratch but I just couldn't come to grips with re-sanding both pieces down to bare wood a second time so soon. I think I may have mentioned previously how long it took? Ha! I decided to put on the matte polyurethane stain I like and call it a day. I did mention to my husband that I may revisit the project in six months or so. Whenever I forget what a clusterf&*# it all was. We'll see.

Here's a few pictures of the finished tables and my bedroom in which said tables live. Please don't hesitate to try something like this. We all learn by doing. Sometimes we learn that we're not as good at furniture refinishing as we would like to be. Do it anyway. Have fun.


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