Interchangeable Table Top Tutorial

Not long ago when I showed you my coffee table makeover with marbles, I promised to tell you my little secret!  You guys probably know by now that I’m super indecisive.  It’s so bad that I annoy myself.   I really do.  But this time, it turned out to work in my favor.  What’s that, you say?!

When I made John come to the store with me was deciding how to dress up my coffee table to hide those ugly water markings, I came up with a little idea…What if I want my coffee table to be able to have more than one look?  You probably thought I glued those marbles to the table top, right?

Well, I could have and it would look exactly the same! But nope! I made an interchangeable top!!  I chose not to glue the marbles down. They are simply resting on the table.  I didn’t tell you in my original post because that would’ve totally spoiled the surprise. ;)

I should note that the idea not to glue the marbles worked great for me, but would probably not be good if you have little ones.  In that case, I’d recommend gluing those marbles down!

Here’s the scoop.  When I was planning on using fabric to cover the top of my coffee table, Erin recommended I lay a big piece of paper out on the table to first trace the shape because fabric would slide all around and end up being a huge headache!  Thank you Erin; you made an awesome point!  So that’s what I did.  And in the process I came up with the idea to use that paper cutout as a stencil for future table tops!

I taped two pieces of easel paper together and then taped that to the top of my table.  I used thumbtacks for reinforcement.  You know, so there would be no sliding around of said paper.

Thumbtacks hold the paper in place.

Then I simply traced the shape of the table.  Essentially, I made a stencil of my coffee table top.

I cut out my “stencil” and traced it onto a piece of burlap fabric…

After I cut it out, I added some banding to the edges to create a clean look.

To add the banding, I layed the burlap on the floor with wax paper and magazine pages underneath (so that glue wouldn’t get on the floor) and carefully glued the banding down with No-Sew Fabric Glue.

Banding creates a nice transition from the fabric to the table.  If something gets spilled, guess what?  I can lift up the top and toss the fabric.

The possibilities are endless.  Which do you prefer?

This?

Or this?

Now I don’t have to choose!

Switching the top out only cost me about $5 and it was very easy!  When I want a different look, all I have to do is pick up the burlap and use my paper stencil to make a new top. :)

 Do something that makes you smile today.  xo!  whitney

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41 responses to Interchangeable Table Top Tutorial


  1. Susan Butler

    Wow! So creative…I’m enjoying seeing what you come up with next! I did have a thought to make your quick changes even quicker….you could use that paper pattern to cut the table shape out of thin plywood. Then paint it and glue the marbles to it. Then, you could just pick it up and exchange for the other top. One tip though, if you do this, you may want to use a small, short strip of fabric the same color as you painted the wooden cutout. Glue one strip on the underside of each end so that picking it up will be easier once it is heavy with the marbles…especially if it is a tight fit! I could see myself marring the table trying to pry that up! Not so LOL!

  2. What a great idea! Totally gives two different looks!!

  3. This is genius!…love the table “dual identity”….I love “options”…two great looks! You did a great job Whitney!

  4. Genius idea! I love the look of both (though the colorful marbles are my favorite!). That is just so awesome! Makes me want a new coffee table!

  5. That is brilliant! Perfect for indecisive decorators!

  6. Amy

    Hey…. You’re smart…..

  7. What a simple and stylish solution! It’s my first time on your blog and I’m really diggin’ it. I think that if you have kids, there could be some foul play involved with the marbles, but ether way both designs are fab! Personally I like the picture with the burlap over the table and the black vase sitting on the other table best. Awesome stuff!

    • Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Liz Ann! Haha yes definitely, that’s why I made sure to note that if you have kids, I suggest gluing the marbles down :) Have a fab weekend!

      -whitney

  8. I don’t know! They both look awesome. I love the edging you added to the burlap. So pretty!

  9. Marian

    You are so smart! Love the marbles most!

  10. SO GOOD! This is pretty genius. I can’t get over what you did with that table from the start. and that the marbles are ‘free-floating’. Smarty smarty ! And I can’t pick which one I like better!

  11. I love the burlap version! And adding the banding was genius. It looks so much more polished with it on there! :)

  12. Yay!!! SO happy I could help :)

    P.S. loooove the burlap and the lining. so chic. and the idea of interchangeable tops? genius. I feel like my design aesthetic changes every other second so something like this would be perfect!

  13. Very clever! I love the way this space turned out :)

  14. ahhh i love them both! but i would say the marbles would have to stay for now…until you change your mind. you are a wise wise lady whitney!

  15. this looks amazing Whitney! I love the marbles, personally, but I also love the banding you put around the burlap, so chic!

  16. Those pictures seriously look like they came from a magazine.
    Love the burlap top!

  17. I’m so distracted by that beautiful gold base, I forgot the question?? ;-) Love this idea, Whitney!
    xo Heidi

  18. Awesome! I wonder if you could glue the marbles to a thin piece of wood, cut using your cutout, so you don’t have to rearrange the marbles each time?
    It looks so great both ways!

    • Thanks Amy! Yes, I thought about that, but because the table is so oddly shaped, it would be really hard to make the “curves” smooth!

      • Absolutely LOVE this idea!! Makes me want to go a’huntin’ for a coffee table that I don’t even have room for! LOL And I was thinking the same thing, thin wood, like luan, and yes, you are correct, it would be terribly hard to smooth the edges, but what about glueing some banding like you did with the burlap around the edges? Thinking that way, depending on how deep the inset is that you could glue the stones and then just flip top when you want a change.?? Would be interested in if this would work or not. hummmmm!! I LOVE your site and LOVE seeing all of your transformations! Wish so much that I had time to do all of the inspiring ideas I see! Someday, someday!! ;)

        • Thanks for your sweet comment, Tina!! I’m so glad you stopped by! That’s an interesting idea…I hadn’t thought about flipping the top! I suppose that would work though, because the marbles rest flat so even when they were face down it would still be flat on the top. Feel free to follow the blog, as I LOVE redoing furniture and making spaces pretty! :)

  19. The marbles were so pretty, but I do like the idea of that interchangable top!