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As some of you may remember my first attempt at milk paint was well less than desired. You can read all about it here. I have since been honing my skill of working with milk paint. I will admit that it takes several tries of using it to feel more comfortable. The most challenging part is the mixing. But if you have patience and follow directions it will lead to great results!

This leads me to how I did a refinish of our coffee table. We bought it almost 8 years ago right after we got married and had it stained. It was stained a light maple color because… I asked for it! I know, I know, I’m the reason it’s so ugly! But hear me out, it fits well in our last house just not so much here. We bought it from a local furniture store that specializes in solid wood pieces that are ready for staining or finishing by yourself or them. Since the coffee table is in good condition I figured some refinishing of the coffee would help it blend into the current farmhouse decor.

After my first failed and then the successful attempt at milk paint on the old bar stool I tried again on a small old wooden tool crate. It went a lot better! And then I painted a side table that matched the coffee table in Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Ironstone and again it went great. So I figured I was ready to tackle a bigger piece of furniture.

I initially was going to refinish the coffee table in the Ironstone, which is a shade of white. But with our white-washed fireplace and grey/white rug and white/off-white curtains, it was just too much white. So I decided I wanted the top of the coffee table to be a darker color so that it would stand out in the room. And well then if the kids spill or make dings on the table it won’t show as much as white would.

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Supplies Needed to Refinish a Coffee Table:

Dry Brush

I used the same dry brush technique that I used on our outdoor table. But first I took my Ryobi sander over the entire table. I used a coarse grit sandpaper on the entire table just wanting to remove the previous finish. I then focused most of my attention on the top of the table and alternated between the coarse and fine grit sandpaper until I got the smooth feel I was looking for.

A sanded smooth surface ready to be finished

This table had actually acted as a “train table” in our previous house for our son so it had plenty of dings and scratched which actually didn’t bother me, he helped give it an aged/antique look!

I applied the wood stain as we have this leftover from our living room floors. The stain didn’t actually look exactly as I wanted it too as the edges and some spots in the middle were worn down to bare wood but the rest of it still had a finish on. I liked the walnut stain over the finish but not so much on the edges. At this point, I had sanded so much and was concerned about how far I would have to go to expose all bare wood so I just let it be. Because I wanted to do the dry brush technique I realized I would be covered most of those spots anyway.

Coffee table after applying a coat of wood stain

The white dry brush on the top is chalk paint that I had left from our bathroom update. I dipped the chip brush into the paint and then wiped off any excess on a paper plate so that there was barely any paint on the brush. This helps make the streaks and “worn” look.

Updated coffee table with an aged look on top using a dry brush technique

By the end of my dry brushing, I realized I wanted some darker streaks to show through so I pulled out the chalk paint in country gray leftover from the bathroom as well and dry brushed this on in some areas.

Dry brush technique using gray and white chalk paint

I then took a piece of fine grit sandpaper and ran this over the entire piece to create a smooth finish. It was topped off with two coats of MMS Tough Coat which is a matte poly-like protector.

Milk Paint Coffee Table Refinish

Then came time for the legs and lower shelf of the coffee table. I used MMS Milk Paint in Ironstone. I try to mix up a very small amount at a time as I don’t want to mix up too much and have it go to waste since milk paint cannot be stored for long periods of time.

The best way to mix the milk paint is to measure the milk paint powder first and then add the liquid. I use equal parts of both and for most of my batches, starting with 1/2 cup at a time. To mix I use an old thrift store whisk and then let it sit for 10 minutes. I have found that it really helps when it has time to sit and really blend together and that way you can adjust your water or powder as needed.

I took the added step of adding MMS Bonding Agent to my paint mix as well. This ensures a coat of paint that won’t peel or chip. It went on sooo smooth!

Milk paint application on an outdated coffee table
Milk paint updated coffee table

To achieve the look I wanted I ended up applying 3 coats of the milk paint, mixing up a new batch each time. It was then finished off with one coat of the MMS Tough Coat.

Doesn’t it now fit in so much better with our decor! I absolutely love it and would definitely recommend everyone who wants to update furniture to give milk paint a try. I think our TV stands now needs a new look, what do you think?

An outdate coffee table updated with milk paint and a dry brush technique to acheive a farmhouse look
An updated coffee table painted in milk paint

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