Thrift Store Challenge: Drab To Fab Side Table

I’d like to tell you I just went out this week and found this little side table. I’d like to tell you it was a real great buy at a garage sale or something and that I brought it home and immediately set to work fixing it up for my living room. I’d like to tell you that it belonged to somebody famous or that it was really, really old and came over on the Mayflower or something really interesting like that.

I’d like to tell the truth though so…..

Remember that dresser that I got for FREE a very long time ago? I told you all about it HERE. I had it in my dining room for a long time as a buffet and just recently moved it upstairs to #3’s room when I decided to move everything around and change things up. Okay now that we are on the same page I have something to tell you that I didn’t tell you before. That wasn’t the only piece of furniture I got for free that day. I got that dresser’s baby sister too.

This was very shortly after I got it and dressed it up for fall. It has resided in the corner of my dining room ever since it first came inside my door.

I very rarely took photos of it but it was always there, lurking in the background behind any and all of the photos I took of my dining table. You can usually just see a bit of the top of it and whatever I had on it at the time.

Last week while I was thinking about this challenge, I suddenly realized perhaps I should refinish THIS instead of buying something ELSE! Brilliant right?

I mean you can’t get any thriftier than FREE!

The Rules

If you’ve followed any of our challenges before you already know the rules but in a nutshell we must get our item(s) from a thrift store, garage or yard sale, flea market or the side of the road in someone’s trash pile! We then have to show what all we did to it to refurbish it for our own homes and how we styled it in our homes.

Emily (Le Cultivateur) and I have been joined again this month by some very talented bloggers eager to show you their thrifted treasures. I will link their posts at the end of this article.

My Project

I started by taking it all apart, cleaning it really well and setting it up off the ground ready to paint.

I used some leftover Kilz Chalk Paint in White that I had. I prefer their Linen color (also a white but softer) but they didn’t have any when I bought this quart. To be perfectly honest I don’t prefer Kilz Chalk Paint compared to some of the other brands but it’s not horrible. I just find it takes more coats for solid coverage if that’s the look you’re going for.

This is after the first coat of Chalk Paint.

And 2 coats. See how streaky it still is after 2 coats? I don’t generally ever do more than 2 coats but with this brand I have to do at least 3.

I finished a 3rd coat of the Chalk Paint and then did a little distressing with a fine grit sandpaper. This is to personal taste really. I let the piece determine how much or how little it gets.

I finished the piece with a couple coats of my favorite finishing wax applied with a soft rag. I always let it dry for a while between coats.

For the hardware, I decided to keep the pull that was on it and just use some of my favorite Rub N Buff in Antique Gold to change the color.

All done! Now to style it!

I had decided a while ago that I wanted some little tables on either end of my sofa since there is space left on either end. This little end table was the perfect fit.

I’m obsessing over the color of the antique gold on the drawer pull. It’s such a warm, rich tone. Then again, we all know I’m obsessed with that stuff anyways 😀

A basket full of apples are the perfect fall touch to this little table.

A chippy corbel, vintage books and a vintage brass candlestick found their way to the top.

Of course I’ll be changing up the look regularly but that’s okay. That’s what pieces like this are for, right?

Now let’s go look at all the other inspiration!

The Other Participants

Emily from Le Cultivateur
Cindy from Cloches and Lavender
Terrie from Decorate and More with Tip
Jodi from The House House Blog
Dori from This Full Life
Shae from Sweet Southern Grace
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Feel free to pin any images you like!


  • Cindy

    Great piece Tara. Don’t you love redoing pieces especially when you have them right at your home? I love Rub N Buff too been using it since before blogging.

    Loving the chippy corbel too.

    • stilettosandshiplap

      I sure do! It isn’t ideal to be painting furniture in my living room but oh well! My garage is still not cleared out from the move that never happened and I can’t use it for projects in the hottest parts of the summer or in the winter when it gets too cold so a lot of my projects end up being done in my home, on my wood floors! lol Isn’t Rub n Buff the best thing ever? I’m obsessed.

  • Emily

    Tara, this turned out amazing!! I love the fresh new look! And, love that you used rub’n buff on the handle, such a perfect touch! I haven’t ever tried the kilz chalk paint… do you like it?
    Looks absolutely amazing!!!

    • stilettosandshiplap

      You know me and my Rub n Buff ever since you introduced me to it! lol I can’t get enough of the stuff. To be perfectly honest I like the Kilz spray chalk paint if you need spray for something, I like lots of their other products but I don’t prefer their regular chalk paint compared to other brands. I find it takes a lot more coats for decent coverage as compared to something like Waverly for example.

  • Terrie

    Your makeover to the little side table looks so good Tara. I love it white. Love that you painted the handle pull as well. Very pretty. Thanks for hosting this months challenge, it is always fun.

    • stilettosandshiplap

      Thanks so much Terrie! Yes I absolutely love Rub n Buff for uses just like this! Thanks so much for stopping by.

  • Barbara Chapman

    I love how your end table turned out, Tara! I love white painted furniture though lately I am in a stained furniture mood (until winter when I go nuts for white again, lol!). It is so nice when a piece turns out the way we hoped!!!

    Enjoy decorating it for fall and all the seasons,
    Barb 🙂

    • stilettosandshiplap

      I’ve really been finding white furniture or a natural wood is speaking my language for a while now. Crazy how we change every so often, isn’t it? Yes I’m enjoying playing around with it but none so much as my French buffet I refinished ?

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