How I restored a vintage side table

With the living room makeover finally in full force I was looking for a side table to go down the side of the sofa on Mr Wheel Chic Home’s side.  There’s not a lot of room there and so a narrow table with somewhere to store the laptop and magazines was something I started hunting for.

I’ve seen a lovely couple of tables, all in the £100 range and I wanted to see if I could do anything for cheaper and make it more customisable to my scheme.

Recently I took a trip to the Ardingly Antiques Fair and luckily in amongst 1000+ stands, stumbled across a little retro style table that needed some love.  The dealer told she she’d purchased it on a recent trip to France.  After a little haggling we agreed on a price of £30.

At first glance, it didn’t look particularly promising to the husband who glanced at it in silence.  And it’s fair, to begin with it didn’t look too promising (apologies for the chaos in the background, I was about to start painting a couple of pieces of furniture so it was a bit messy!):


It was a bit rusty and the plywood top looked a little sad, so I set about giving it some love!

For this I used:

  • Brillo Pads
  • Spray Primer
  • Spray Paint (Gold, not the gloss variety)
  • Contact Paper
  • Frog Tape
  • Cardboard

First job after removing the wooden shelf was to give the wire frame a good clean and scrub down.  For this I used Brillo Pads, I guess you could use a wire brush or wire wool to get the same effect. I got the small bits of rust off and gave it a good clean and let it dry.  I then taped up the wheels with frog tape as I didn’t want to spray those.

Then I took the table out and sprayed a Primer on the surface first.  Of course no matter which way I sprayed, the wind followed me and I ended up with paint on my glasses!  With some paints you may not need a primer but I thought this would help the spray paint stick to the surface of the metal.


While the Primer was drying I set about the wood by covering it in contact paper.  I love how contact paper is back again (or maybe it never went away!).  When I was a kid my Mum covered everything in a variety of contact papers.  You could buy it in Woolies for a few pence back then and she covered shelves, cigarette and matchboxes for Christmas decorations, she used it for drawer linings, on table tops and of course we covered all our school books in it!

I decided to go with the Marble look stuff of course as that’s all in vogue. Mr WCH has said he’d like a small piece of glass instead of the wood but for now this is the perfect solution.

To wrap the wood I treated it like a birthday present and simply wrapped it as I would a box.  The underside of the wood isn’t particularly visible so I would be able to keep the joins underneath quite easily.

Once the Primer dried I then applied two coats of Gold Spray Paint.  I deliberately didn’t choose the high gloss stuff, this is my first time using spray paint on something like this and I know my artistic limits!  So I chose the Matt Paint.

My advice is to turn it upside down and do the underside first and then turn it up the right way, means you can get all the coverage you need without ruining the paint job.

Then once it’s dry I put the wood back in, took off the frog tape on the wheels and there you have it, a custom side table for under £60!  And once I’m bored of the gold and marble scheme I can spray it again another colour!


I’m very pleased with my little paint job, and thanks to Melanie Lissack for the inspiration!

Have you used spray paints to give an old piece of furniture a new lease of life?  Let me know!



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