One thing I always seem to find an abundance of at thrift stores and yard sales are side tables. While they may be dated and have a few scratches, they are often good, solid wood pieces that are built to last, but just need a little TLC.

Rather than going out and spending hundreds of dollars on new side tables for your living room, how about spending $10 or $20 on one of those from a thrift store and making it into your own? Here are five ideas for making over side tables.

Give it a beachy feel.


With all the rain this week, I have been longing for a few sunny days at the beach. If you are a beach lover too and want to bring that feel inside your home, give your side table that beachy feel with this tutorial for how to get that washed-out beachy look with paint. There’s a step-by-step video that will show you exactly how to do it.

Paint a plaid pattern on it.

Although this makeover might look a little more tedious, it’s actually quite simple. To create a plaid look on your tabletop, all you need is some painter’s tape and four coordinating colors of your choice. If you prefer a lighter look when it comes to plaid, opt for pastel shades rather than the traditional reds, grays and blacks. Find the tutorial for creating a plaid pattern here.

Wrap the top with wrapping paper.

If you want to add more pattern to your table than what you could get with painter’s tape and paint, find a pretty wrapping paper and use Mod Podge to adhere it to the top of the piece. If you want to update the table more, paint the rest of it a color that coordinates with the wrapping paper. Get the details on how to complete this makeover here.

Turn an end table into a bench.

By far, this is one of my favorite furniture makeover projects I’ve ever completed. If you have a mostly rectangular or square table, you can easily add an upholstered top to it and have not only an end table, but additional seating when you need it. Choose a fabric that works well with the rest of your décor and find a tray to use as a solid surface on top of the cushion when you want to use it as a table and not extra seating. The full tutorial for turning a table into a bench is here.

Give an end table a modern geometric feel.

If your décor leans more toward the modern side, use painter’s tape and paint to easily create a geometric pattern on the tabletop. Get the instructions here. Customize it with colors of your choice.

If you’re looking for more furniture makeover inspiration, be sure to check out this gallery full of makeover ideas.

Jenna LaFevor rants on at Rain on a Tin Roof about DIY projects, junk décor, thrifty finds, crafty creations and other decorating dilemmas. She went to UTC, where she got a teaching degree that now collects dust. When she isn’t trying to keep her kid from climbing out of the circus ring or making sure her husband’s shirts are taken to the dry cleaners so she gets out of ironing, she can be found with a paintbrush in one hand and a cheap beer in the other. But if you’re buying, she’ll have a cosmopolitan. You can email her at [email protected] or you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter @raintinroofblog or at her blog. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.