End Table Makeover with Milk Paint and Stain

This pretty end table from the early 80s is one of the items I saved from my parents’ home. It sat in their living room for years, and is in dozens of our old family photos, both from when I still lived at home, and when my own children were babies. Recently, I gave this end table a makeover with milk paint and stain, so it can remain in use for many more generations.

This table has so many beautiful features–the curvy legs, the scalloped corners, and especially the intricate parquet pattern on the top. The table was very solid, and in great condition. The outdated golden oak stain was really the only thing that needed an update. With a little elbow grease, some milk paint, and some stain, this table got a modern farmhouse makeover.

How to Give an End Table a Makeover with Milk Paint and Stain


Using my oribital sander, I was able to easily remove the oak finish from the top of the table. I didn’t bother to sand the legs, which would have been a much harder job because of their curves, nooks and crannies, because the bottom half of the table was going to get painted.

End Table Makeover with Milk Paint and Stain getting sanded.

With minimal effort, the oak stain came right off, making the lovely cross-hatch pattern in the top even more apparent. Isn’t it stunning?

General Finishes Milk Paint– Alabaster

The legs of the table got two coats of General Finishes Milk Paint in Alabaster. I love this paint because it requires virtually no prep! Sanding these legs would have been a much bigger job than sanding the top, but with this milk paint, no sanding, and no primer were required! So easy, and it covers so well.

I love this Alabaster color. It’s a creamy white–not too bright white and not too yellow.

End Table Makeover with Milk Paint and Stain  paint on the legs.

I distressed the legs a bit with some sandpaper. I was going for the modern farmhouse look, and didn’t want the white to be pristine.

End Table Makeover with Milk Paint and Stain distressing the legs.

Varthane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain– Sunbleached

Okay, I have to fess up to a huge blogger fail here. Somehow, I got so invested in my project, that I didn’t take any pictures of the wood stain going on. I know. I couldn’t believe it when I went back through my pics after the table was all done. Not even one picture of the stain, nor the clear coat either.

But, I can tell you that I used Varthane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain in the color “Sunbleached”, and I was very happy with it. It does not require a wood conditioner and it dries in about one hour. I brushed it on, allowed it to penetrate for a minute or so, then gently wiped away the excess with a cloth.

I love how it gave the top a slightly grayish tint, but allowed the wood grain, and that beautiful pattern, to show through. Sunbleached is a good name for this stain–it has a weathered look to it that was perfect for this project.

End Table Makeover with Milk Paint and Stain intricate pattern on top.

Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish– Satin

I let the stain dry for 24 hours before applying 3 layers of Minwax Polycrylic in a Satin finish. I sanded very lightly with an super fine sandpaper in between coats, to ensure a smooth finish.

Amy Howard Light Antique Wax

After everything was dry, I applied a light coat of Amy Howard Light Antique Wax to the edges of the top, and in the curves of the legs, to accent and antique them a bit more.

The Finished End Table Makeover with Milk Paint and Stain

End Table Makeover with Milk Paint and Stain finished.
End Table Makeover with Milk Paint and Stain decorated.
End Table Makeover with Milk Paint and Stain the top pattern.

I’m so pleased with how this table turned out. With its modern farmhouse makeover, it fits in with my home’s decor perfectly now. Plus, it makes me happy that this table can live on in many more family photos and happy memories for the next few generations.

If you love furniture makeovers as much as I do, you might be interested in these posts:

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