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My Three Dollar Table Makeover

Posted Sunday, January 6, 2013 in: DIY Nerd Life Before & After Our House

Last Sunday morning I hit the markets, as I do most weekends. Perth doesn’t yet have the huge antique markets they do over east – but the trash ‘n’ treasure ones I go to, a mix of antique sellers and your average person selling from her car boot, are not a bad substitute.

Some of my friends think I’m nuts for getting out of bed at sunrise on a Sunday morning to go check out markets when most of Perth is too hungover to do much more than stagger to McDonald’s for an egg McMuffin. But going to the markets is my weekend tradition. I get to catch up with my mum and my sister, and my future parents-in-law, who have become hooked on the markets ever since I introduced them to it. It is tradition for me to sneak up behind Mr House Nerd’s dad while he is browsing and try to jump out and scare him, something I also did to my grandad when I was four. Afterwards I stop by my parents’ place to bring my dad a jam doughnut. I get home buzzed and happy, wake up Mr House Nerd and we sit outside drinking coffee in tin cups and eating chocolate croissants from the bakery.

It's a nice morning - and going to the markets also lets me indulge my tight arse side. When you have a house that needs as much fixing up and repairing as ours does, you feel guilty splurging on furniture! So I sometimes lug home decrepit things I’ve found by the side of the road or bought at the markets and try to do them up.

This little table was my latest buy from the markets last Sunday – three dollars, woo! Despite appearances, it is actually quite solid, and I took off the handle to read on the back that it was made in Australia by a company called Turner and had a registration number. I sanded it down, primed it, painted it and gave it a little bit of a makeover.

BEFORE & AFTER: From three dollars to looking much nicer! The paint I used is Shindig from Taubmans and the paintable textured wallpaper is a sample piece from Wall Candy that I had lying around. The table shrunk in the makeover process.


ABOVE LEFT: This pic of this dresser from awesome website IKEA Hackers gave me the guts to go ahead with the idea of using textured wallpaper on the drawer front.

Mr House Nerd looked at the table dubiously as I triumphantly lugged it through the front door, as he does with all the furniture I drag home, but for three bucks I couldn't pass it up. I love the trend for all kinds of grey at the moment and at the moment I really like inky, rich blue-grey shades, like in these pictures from Pinterest:

ABOVE LEFT: Blue-grey feature wall from Design Sponge. ABOVE RIGHT: From Cox & Cox.

ABOVE: I love inky blue-greys! ABOVE LEFT: from Design Sponge. ABOVE RIGHT: Photo by Tess Fine.

So I decided to paint the table a colour kind of like this - it actually looks quite a bit more blue in real life than it does in the photo. I sanded it back, primed it (I'll admit one of the very few times I've actually primed something properly) and filled in the little holes with putty:

I wanted to make the drawer of the table look a bit more interesting and had this idea to cover it in wallpaper. I had this sample size of textured, paintable wallpaper from Wall Candy but it wasn’t quite large enough to cover the entire draw. So I cut out the leaf shapes and figured out where I wanted them to go using blu-tac. Then I super glued them on.

Finally I painted over the entire drawer with a white undercoat before painting the whole drawer in grey-blue and re-attaching the handle. I loved the worn look of the handle so I left it as it was. 

I felt like it was going to be a bit hit-and-miss with the textured wallpaper but I think it works. It makes it look a bit more special. And it hardly cost anything! We might have had this house almost three years now, but we are still making do with hand me-down furniture until we find things we really like, and uh, can afford. I write on the old wooden desk I wrote my name when I was four, our couch is an old Chesterfield from Mr House Nerd’s parents, our TV ‘cabinet’ is a bookcase from IKEA tipped on its side.

I think this little table will replace the extremely charming plastic and metal fold-up camping table that my printer currently sits on. Or I might use the table as a work surface in what I have dubbed my future craft room. This is going to be one of my house DIY projects for 2013 – turning our spare/storage room into a designated room for me to draw, paint furniture, wrap presents and do all the messy, sticky things that I normally hog the dining table for. I’ll keep you posted with some very bland ‘before’ shots of the room!

If you have a DIY project of your own I'd love to hear about it! Email submissions to maya (at) . Would love to hear what you would have done yourself with this bland little table. 

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