Major Coffee Table Fail

You guys know how I like to keep it real.  And if you’re new here (welcome!) you should know I’m the kind of gal that puts it all out there!  Even when I bomb a project.

Last week I showed you a coffee table I’ve been working on.  I use the phrase “working on” loosely because I bought it a few months ago off CL for $40 when it looked like this:

I love the lines and the faux bamboo look.  I was thinking semi-easy makeover.  Take note of where the condensation from drinking glasses left those pretty rings.  It sat in the garage until last week, when I finally got around to sanding it:

The top had some warping that I just wasn’t able to smooth all the way out.  Ewww water rings.  I figured I could whip out the sander and bada-bing-bada-boom – flat surface! {insert buzzer sound}  Wrong.

The problem is that if I sand too much, there won’t be much of the top left because it’s not a very thick piece of wood.  So I did my best to sand the crap out of it to get rid of the ripples without shaving off too much of the thickness, if you will.   My best didn’t work though.  I decided to move forward anyway.

I taped off the top, prepping my little table for paint:

And bought two cans of gold paint.  Who else is excited that gold is coming back?!  I ended up liking the American Accents better.

I love the color!!!

I removed the tape and started to stain the top using some of the leftover Minwax Dark Walnut stain from our floor redo.  John recommended stain to conceal the warping….

…and while you couldn’t see the warping, I immediately decided the gold paint/dark stain combo looked terrible on my little coffee table.  #majorfail    And let’s all take a moment to check out my weird left arm placement.  At least my dog’s arms are cute. ;)

I was so disgusted with how the stain looked that I went the extreme opposite direction and painted the top white.  I think the white looks so chic, but after one coat those water ripples are looking more visible than ever.  #majorfailagain

Now I’m at a crossroads.   I’ve only spent $40 so far and I don’t think it’s worth putting a ton of money and effort into.   If it was an antique or a super unique piece, I might consider it.  But at this point, I just want it to be pretty and functional.

I’ve learned that darker colors disguise abnormalities better than lighter ones- at least in this instance.  Therefore, I have a third (and hopefully final!) idea for disguising the warps, but it could easily turn out to be major fail #3.  Honestly, resanding it all down again isn’t even an option anymore.  I’m over sanding!

I will tell you what my idea is tomorrow, but this pin will give you a hint!


I think the 3rd time will be the charm!  What are your ideas??!!

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40 responses to Major Coffee Table Fail

  1. Pingback: Interchangeable Table Top Tutorial | Drab to Fab Design

  2. Marian

    How about using the print on the table because it makes it POP!! The rug is awesome so instead of covering it up maybe tuck it under the front legs of a chair in there. And a pillow made if the print would be awesome in a chair too as someone suggested. Can’t wait to see what you decide!

  3. Tara Gauthier

    I think the carpet is a soft enough tone that you could go with the leopard print and it would be fine. The navy would be good too though.

  4. Oh well. Thanks for sharing the experience. Not every project can be a winner. I’ve botched plenty of stuff.

  5. It will either be pink or leopard – either way I am SO on board!!!

  6. Marian

    I have oak coffee table for u if this does not work out. No surface problems. Once I sanded thru veneer in similar situation, then used wood filler to smooth and then paint. Worked pretty well. Unfortunately thieves stole it rom hunting cabin….

  7. Pingback: Funky Ideas for a Coffee Table | Drab to Fab Design

  8. You’re obviously going for fabric, which is what I was going to suggest. Good luck!

  9. I do love that gold! So pretty. Bummer that it didn’t work out. I was actually thinking pattern or even modge podge old book pages or something like that.
    Can’t wait to see it!!

  10. Oh man I have no idea, but for the record I LOVE that table!

  11. what if you put something over it like fabric or pretty paper?

  12. Girl, I feel your pain. I’ve tried refinishing a few furniture pieces and quickly realized that’s NOT my talent. I think it’s harder than others make it look! Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got up your sleeve.

  13. Nattie N

    I ran into a similar prob years ago. Proceed with the beautiful gloss & paint and then place a chic & heavy mirror to cover it. I did this on a water damaged side table that my grandmother gave me years ago, add the heavy mirror (mine is an old gold sun mirror that I bought years ago at Kirkland’s), lamp, decor (books, candles). Looks great when lit & reflects the light! :)

    • Hi Nattie, thanks for commenting!! Funny that you say that!! I had the exact idea to put a mirror over it, but then I kind of went down a different route! I’d love to see your table! Feel free to email me a picture if you’d like. :) Thank you for your input, I appreciate it!

  14. Ah! So irritating! I had the same thing happen with a piece of furniture. I thought the sanding would knock out the water damage, but since the top was laminate and not solid wood like I thought, I’m left with splotchy bits of exposed plywood/MDF and sanded down laminate… I’ve been using it with a table cloth over it but its my next project in the garage! haha. Time to finally deal with it.
    Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  15. I immediately thought a glossy black for the top (black and gold are always nice together) after the white didn’t work. Or maybe a deep hunter green. Or navy.

    Now that I’ve thought about it I’m cheering for navy, but I’m excited to see if you chose hot pink or leopard!

  16. Looking forward to your new idea and looks like you may be leaning toward a great bright color!

  17. Try mod podging fabric? I love the shape of the table and the gold is awesome! Good luck!
    xo Heidi

  18. Cara

    Perhaps floor leveler if you want a totally smooth surface?

  19. TELL ME…TELL ME… you are going to do the leopard!!! Right???

    Please say yes..please!