How to upcycle a coffee table

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Upcycling a coffee table is super easy. Just add some stylish legs and paint it up to match your décor and you’re good to go. Here’s how:

Tools and materials

Allen key set

Paint brush

Paint roller and trays

Drill (including Phillips head drill bit)

Paint tin opener

Paint stirrer

Drop cloth


Old coffee table

Chalk paint

Hairpin legs x 4


Masking tape

Eye protection


How to upcycle a coffee table

1. Take off your existing legs

First things first – remove those daggy, old legs from your existing coffee table. There are several ways to do this – with a drill or a screwdriver for example – but we’re using a nifty Allen key set as our screws have a hex head. These sets are great – they come complete with not only a Phillips head and normal screwdriver, but also every Allen key size available, so you’re bound to find the right fit for your screw!

How to upcycle a coffee table

2. Prepare your surface

Before you set about painting, make sure your table top is clean and dust free (use a rag and some hot, soapy water to give it a spruce up.) If your table is glossy, give it a light sand – this will help your paint adhere to the surface. After you’ve done this, wipe away any excess dust with a microfibre cloth.

3. Paint your table top

Once you’ve picked out your colour – we’re using a chalk paint in hues picked to match our interior – give it a good shake and a stir to make sure the pigment is mixed well. Then pour into a tray. Roll out your roller in the tray a few times before you start, then apply your paint in smooth, even motions across your table top. You’ll want to start nice and thick, then even it out with long, straight even strokes.

How to upcycle a coffee table

4. Apply a second coat

Once your first coat is dry, you’re ready to apply your second (one coat may suffice if your wood is light, but we needed two for this table). When it’s dry, carefully turn your table over on a clean drop sheet or piece of material – this chalk paint marks pretty easily, so take care during this step as you don’t want your new paint job to mark.

How to upcycle a coffee table

5. Attach your legs

You’re now ready to attach your new hairpin legs (these are available to buy from Bunnings). Mark where the screws will go, then measure the length of your intended screw against the thickness of the table. This is an important step, as you don’t want to accidentally drill right through your tabletop. Measure the length of your screw against the drill bit you’re using (this needs to be slightly smaller than your screw) and mark your drill bit up with masking tape (only drill to that point). Drill a pilot hole before you use your screw – and remember to use safety glasses for this bit.

How to upcycle a coffee table

6. Admire your handiwork

And your legs are attached! How easy was that? In just a few steps we’ve totally breathed new life into our daggy old piece of furniture, turning it into a stylish, on-trend coffee table. 

How to upcycle a coffee table

Watch more from the series

Watch the full episode and more D.I.Y. projects from Make It Yours Episode 4: Lounge Makeover by Rachel-Lee and Rachel Aust.

More D.I.Y. Advice

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