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I Painted the Painting Table

A couple years ago, we happened upon this table at Target, which was ultimately dubbed the painting table – the just-our-size replacement for the bare wall that once housed Scott’s fish tank. (More on why we bid farewell to the fishes right here.) Not only did it come in handy as a useful counter top addition and (sometimes) dining table, but it served as my work-from-home zone, too. We ultimately bought an appropriate drafting chair and added casters for extra height – and until very recently, this is where I painted your pets – in the kitchen!

Then early this year, Operation Studio came along, and as of this week, I’ve been working out of the new space in our second bedroom / guest room / office / studio (!!). As if sexy T-Rexy wasn’t enough, let’s just say it’s been an exciting few days.

As you can imagine, we needed to move the painting table, drafting chair (and eventually, my grandma’s chair) into the appropriate room.  And in an effort to keep the teeny 8’x10′ room feeling the opposite of heavy (because, remember, the fauxdenza and Skar were already jutting off the walls by 1′ – a big deal in small quarters), the all black table needed a facelift.

In my continued effort of making everything that much harder, I refused to let the black just be, and I insisted we needed to paint it white. While Scott agreed it would certainly help to “lighten” the room, this revelation came during the fiasco that was the crown molding, and he made it very clear that he wanted nothing to do with the table transformation. And considering he’d spent every weekend for the last few months painting the walls pink, helping me hang gilded gold frames and installing pipes for my pretty paper, I thought it was only fair.

This one was all me.

Before getting started, I took to my pinboards. Yes, I wanted white, but I didn’t want boring. I had pinned this image a few months ago and ran the idea of dipped legs past Scott. He agreed, we discussed colors (deciding on gold) and varying heights of, uh, dippage, and I got to work.

I must admit, I was a little scared. The black finish was smooth and satin-like, and I had suspicions that Scott didn’t want to help in case something went awry. I pressed forward regardless, which turned out to be (spoiler alert!) a good move in the end.

My painting supplies, left to right: Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 Water Based Primer, Glidden interior paint in semi-gloss, Liquid Leaf in Classic and Minwax Water Based Polycrylic in semi-gloss. The same Zinsser primer and Minwax poly was used for our media wall, and there are no scratches or yellowing – even a year later.

Although the primer claims no sanding required!, I still used a super fine 140 grit sandpaper on the surface of the table. After a quick wipe down with a damp cloth, I applied two coats of Zinsser with a 2″ angled brush, waiting the appropriate length of time between coats according to the can’s instructions.

While one coat probably would have been enough, here’s how it looked. Since I wanted a perfectly opaque white finish, I figured another application of primer could only help.

Next, I applied two thin coats of Glidden white (using the same 2″ angled brush), allowing a minimum of 3 hours drying time between each one:

It looked good enough, but once it was completely dry, I went back and touched up the top and creases.

To this point, the sanding, priming and painting took a 12 hour day. The next morning, I flipped the table over, laid it in a soft, clean drop cloth and prepped the legs with Frog Tape for the glossy gold Liquid Leaf. Using a throwaway foam brush, I painted on two thin coats.

After everything had dried (I think I waited another half day!), I applied my first coat of Polycrylic. There’s no secret to my method other than following the can’s instructions exactly. In total, I applied three coats overall and an additional fourth coat on the top surface. A light sanding using 140 grit sandpaper was done between each layer, and I waited the full 2 hours between each one.

The painting table spent a few more days in the kitchen to fully cure, and after piecing together the Flor, it made its debut in the studio:

Nothing was laid on the table top for a full 72 hours, which felt like the impossible task. All I wanted to do was lay down my drop cloth and paint some puppies! It actually looks like it belongs in the room, but the only problem now is my too-black task chair. Perhaps a throw or pillow could cozy that up, since there is no way I’m painting that.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m officially working off of the pretty table in my pretty studio! It feels incredibly durable thus far, but I’ve also been treating it like a baby. I’ll keep you updated if something changes; fingers crossed that won’t be the case.

With that said, the room is not complete, but the original honey-do list might make it seem so:

Prime the walls, trim and doors
Paint the walls, trim and doors
Install crown molding and chair rail (screw it, we’re hiring a professional)
Paint the painting table for the new room (yes, really)
Sell and/or donate the unnecessary furniture
Design, build and install a storage wall (similar to our media wall)
Decide on artwork for the room
Clean, paint and prep thrifty frames
Frame, mat and hang inspirational artwork (using this technique)
Decide on lighting
Decide on textiles: rug, curtains and upholstery for seating
Buy the decided upon things. Budget. Install them.
Re-stock painting, shipping and packaging supplies
• Pull it together like we own it
Return to normalcy (we can only hope)

Oddly enough, the last item on the checklist has happened – we’re no longer living with halls that look like this, thank goodness – but with so many things checked off, there were a few more things to add:

• Reupholster grandma’s chair (it’s with the pros as we speak!)
• Make a pillowcase for said chair (reupholster the chair I won’t, but a case I can do)
• Make window shades (since no one seems to make what I have in mind for our bitty budget)
• Finish putting away the things on the upper shelving already!

We’re thisclose to completion, but even though I’m not ready to stick a fork in it, I can fully vouch for it’s awesomeness. When Scott comes home from work, I’m no longer splayed all over the kitchen counter, painting table and sofa. I have my own door to close. I’ve been wearing red lipstick every day to go to “the office.” And perhaps the most important of all, Jack fits right in.

See more of our studio ideas on our Pinterest board, right here.

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  • Lauren L.3.15.12 - 8:13 AM

    I love how it came out! It looks so good! I have already pinned it. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jess LC3.15.12 - 8:14 AM

    Love, love, love! It looks just as great in person!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY3.15.12 - 8:21 AM

    One word: GORGEOUS.ReplyCancel

  • I love the white with gold legs. I want to do something similar on something (don’t know what yet). Great idea!!ReplyCancel

  • Staci @ My Friend Staci3.15.12 - 9:45 AM

    This looks absolutely wonderful. How awesome to go into an office 100% designed for Y-O-U!ReplyCancel

  • katie3.15.12 - 10:26 AM

    i love the contrasting legs! now i really want to paint something of my own like this…

    you’ve really created a special room, thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • jodi3.15.12 - 11:05 AM

    it looks fabulous! great job!ReplyCancel

  • Emma3.15.12 - 11:27 AM

    Your studio looks amazing. That table is super fly :)ReplyCancel

  • Kyley at Painting Pony3.15.12 - 11:34 AM

    Oh I love it!
    I had the same “dipped chair” photo pinned on my pin board because I have a chair in my bedroom I want to do something similar with. Your post reminded me I need to get on that!

    I’m so excited to see the “after” photo of your studio. I bet it’s gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Erica3.15.12 - 11:41 AM

    Dang, woman; it looks awesome!! I’ve been wanting to try the dipped-leg look for a while, so thanks for the inspiration :)ReplyCancel

  • kaylan3.15.12 - 1:12 PM

    the table looks fabulous! it fits so perfectly in the office. i can’t wait to see a wide shot of the shelves and how you’ve decorated and stored things on them.ReplyCancel

  • I’m diggin’ the dipped legs! Looks great in your space.

    There are so many painting projects I want to tackle but I always want it done in a rush and don’t have half the patience to wait in between coats! Maybe if I focus on the end result, I can push through it. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle3.15.12 - 3:35 PM

    So pretty! I’m totally jealous of your new office. ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Haley3.15.12 - 4:11 PM

    The table looks great and I can’t wait to see the whole room! Enjoy your office/studio!ReplyCancel

  • Kim3.15.12 - 4:38 PM

    Thank you so much, everyone!ReplyCancel

  • Kalli3.15.12 - 4:46 PM

    Desk looks great, much better than the black for the room. The gold legs somehow make the table look slightly taller, even though you’d expect the opposite.

    A thin white or navy pad/pillow for the back would help the chair fit in, but you might also find yourself with a sweater or jacket hung on the back of the chair sometimes so that could cover up a little of the black too (like in photos, if it bugs you?)ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin @ Desert Domicile3.15.12 - 5:05 PM

    It’s GORGEOUS! I love the idea of “dipped” legs but I’m too afraid to try it myself haha I can’t wait to see the big reveal :)ReplyCancel

  • Jen3.15.12 - 5:07 PM

    Well done!! So pretty.ReplyCancel

  • Monique3.16.12 - 7:56 AM

    Fantastic job! Love the pretty legs and of course, your beautiful dog, Jack.ReplyCancel

  • miranda @boucksy3.16.12 - 7:58 AM

    Oh, Kim, I LOVE IT!! It fits in so perfectly, and go you for doing it all YOURSELF!!! It looks wonderful :)

    As for your too-dark-for-the-room-chair, have you thought about spray painting the black bits (and maybe even painting the silver bit toward the casters) and taking some pretty awesome fabric to recover the cushion? I think it’s totally a feasible task and you’d be able to do it to make it fit in with everything else :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim3.16.12 - 9:39 AM

      Miranda, I have thought about recovering the cushion… perhaps I should live with it (the room as a whole, whenever that happens!) and then decide? I wish I wasn’t so picky sometimes!ReplyCancel

  • Elisa3.16.12 - 9:24 AM

    Looks perfect! Doesn’t it feel good say: that was the best decision EVER.ReplyCancel

  • […] paint in September and have been afraid to use it). – A paint job makes a boring table amazing on Yellow Brick Home. – Camille Styles starts a series on improving your photo skills. – A beautiful wall of votives […]ReplyCancel

  • CourtneyOutLoud3.18.12 - 12:40 PM

    I love the painted table and the gold legs are AWESOME……it’s like canaries singingReplyCancel

  • […] It’s one of the biggest trends that can be found all over the blogosphere right now as seen here, here, here, and all over […]ReplyCancel

  • […] to Kim’s painting tutorial and my friend Stacia who helped recover recovered the seat for me in my new favorite color and […]ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn1.31.13 - 9:30 AM

    I’m fairly new to the game of painting furniture….is primer required when painting a wooden coffee table black? Or just when going from a dark color to a lighter color?ReplyCancel

  • Kim1.31.13 - 10:01 AM

    Hi Carolyn, for a piece of furniture that gets a lot of abuse (aka, any kind of coffee table, desk, kitchen table, etc), I would highly recommend using a primer. The primer helps to “stick” to the table, and it allows your paint color to “stick” to the primer. Finishing it up with a coat of poly (Polycrylic is water based and completely non-yellowing) will further protect your furniture.

    After all, if you’re going to spend the time to paint your furniture, you want to make sure it’ll last the long haul! With primer, paint and poly, your furniture can handle more without chipping/scuffing.

    Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • […] process of touching up an IKEA desk with Liquid Leaf on some drawers and legs, using her tutorial here, and lucked out with finding the Sophistikat FLOR tiles in the picture from the very kind Bunches […]ReplyCancel

  • […] used a Godvin leg instead of the one shown in the picture, however.) And then I happened across the genius tutorial at Yellow Brick Home, which inspired me to paint gold accents on some of the drawers and part of the door on the storage […]ReplyCancel

  • […] duo, this project is a must-try. Admit it, the home office is worth it. Get the how-tos at yellowbrickhome.comHow to Create Floating Desk and Shelves Smart and creative ways of updating a space makes us […]ReplyCancel

  • This just gave me the confidence to do the same thing to my computer desk that is too dark. I actually ordered a white desk, but a dark brownish/black arrived. And though I love shopping online, returning this desk wasn’t something I was looking forward too. I wasn’t sure how the finish would look but it turned out beautiful on yours!ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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