09 January 2013

DIY: caster end table update

You might think that, as a neutral lover, renting an all-beige apartment is just peachy. Neutral walls, neutral carpet, white trim – should be perfect! But no. Even I, the neutral-lover, freely admit that all-beige is boring. We need a little personality up in here, you know?

Still, even when the non-neutral colors are picked, figuring out how to incorporate them is an entirely new puzzle. Oh, dear readers, it is so hard to strike that perfect neutral balance between “totally bland” and “I am overcompensating for the sea of beige by painting my furniture odd colors”. Thus far I’ve had success with gray on the living room shelves and the little desk, but I can’t paint everything gray.

That dithering is why it’s taken me a while to bite the bullet and finish this otherwise super-simple project:

The stylish, but crazy dusty and scratched-up caster table!

We first met this little table when I told you how we stole it out of our friends’ house when they weren’t home. I’m not joking. Better bolt down your cute stuff when I come to visit or else I’m begging Mr. P to load it in the car while he protests “But it doesn’t belong to us!”

If you recall, the scuffed black surface really needed attention, in the form of a few fresh coats of paint. Rather than paint the whole thing, I decided just to re-coat the top and bottom shelf surfaces – which provided a small space to add a bit of color. So after a good bit of dusting, I protected the wood with a bit of painter’s tape:

Which looks oddly fluorescent-blue in the poor evening indoor lighting, I suppose. Sorry about that. It’s getting lighter earlier, but it’s still super dark when I get home from work. And when I have a few minutes for a project, I shoot it rather than waiting for daylight. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Anyway! On to the paint. A simple project like this calls for a simple sample pot:

I picked the color off the shelf right there in the store; it’s called “Sauna” from Valspar’s allen+roth collection. It’s less turquoise, more spa blue, and more of the direction I think I’m going in this room (the turquoise pillow and painting, shown here, have since migrated to the much-more-appropriate guest room).

Anyway! The table got two coats with my favorite Wooster brush. Took less than an hour, including drying time!

Immediately after the second coat, I removed the painter’s tape to avoid pulling the paint off with it. Per usual, painter’s tape didn’t give me the perfect line I like – and yes, I own and use Frog Tape too, but get the same results. Hmm, user error?

In any case, it was worth taping it off to protect the wood, and in the places where paint creeped up, I just scraped it off with my thumbnail (and then mindlessly wiped it on my middle finger, apparently, as you can see there in the background):

Two coats had the little table looking spiffy:

Once it was dry, I debated drawing a design on the top in white or gold – a simple frame, or stripes, or a modified Greek key, or even a few large interlocking hand-drawn circles (like this). And I still might! But I realized that for now, it was sort of moot, as it’d be covered up most of the time. So for now it would just be solid blue, with room for future creativity!

After letting it dry for a few days (to fully set and cure), I put the table to use with the purpose I envisioned way back when we semi-stole it: a printer cart by the desk!

So! How do I feel about this little pop of color?


I am not 100% in love with it... yet(?). I think that color works for it (there’s definite midcentury vibes in robin’s egg blue), and I think with another painted piece in the room in that color, it’ll totally make sense. At least, as much sense as it can make for someone who starts to twitch when painting something a color other than gray or white.

So we’ll see if it stays blue! Either way, do I get credit for at least trying to step out of the neutral zone?


Miranda said...


Rachel said...

The robin's egg is pretty, but a slate blue would look nice, too, and even give you a hint of the gray you like so much.

Janice said...

You could take a couple glasses of varying sizes, dip the rims into paint and make your circles that way in some random fashion on the table top in a complementary color or even a deeper tone of the one you have already.
Table looks cute :)

Sarah said...

Ohhh, good idea, Rachel! Thank you! I initially had turquoise in my head for this room, but it's definitely softening... probably to the slate blue you describe. Hmm, better check my paint chip binder...

I like that idea, Janice! I'm filing it away in the idea bank. And sorry for frustration in posting, it doesn't show up immediately. I have on comment moderation to keep the spam comments at bay!

Christal said...

I like it!

Dori said...

I had to do a double take! I inherited the almost exact same table from my grandparents, except the bottom shelf was slatted.... otherwise completely identical. I dropped mine off at Goodwill 3 years ago because I just didn't know what to do with it. Of course now I'm feeling all inspired and wish I still had it!