Home » DIY » Furniture makeovers » Sanded wood coffee table with white wax

Sanded wood coffee table with white wax

Four or five years ago, I picked up a dark stained coffee table while thrifting. I immediately of course, slapped some paint on it. Over time, I kept wondering what it looked like as a sanded wood coffee table with white wax added. I wondered if the wood was  good enough to re-stain or leave as bare wood. You can even do this on smaller pieces such as wood mirrors.

Modern Boho fall living room decor

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I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but I decided to take a few days, buy some new sanding pads for (affiliate link)our sander,and tackle it.  I figured if I sanded it, and the wood was awful, or I hated it, I could always repaint it. There was nothing lost except a few hours and the cost of sandpaper. I transformed this smaller table by hand sanding and cerusing it, and the grain on the naked wood is so gorgeous.

Snading paint off of a wood table

I started, and was immediately excited. The wood looked beautiful underneath! Someone asked me in a Facebook post why I didn’t strip it with chemical stripper (which would have been much easier.). The problem with stripping wood, is you can’t always control how much it removes, it kind of takes everything off sometimes, and I wanted to be able to leave some paint and finish behind in some spots.

a sanded wood table, removing paint

So, it was slower going to get the results. The sanding pads tended to get gummed up with paint over time, so I would have to stop and clear them, or change pads after  a while, even with a 60 grit pad.

Removing paint for a sanded wood table

Luckily, I had really good weather to go outside and tackle it.   After I  had it sanded to where there was some paint and old finish left, but it was mostly wood, I finished it with white paste wax. I wanted to give it a slightly lighter/pickled wood look.

Original wood coffee table with a sanded wood coffee table and white paste wax.

It ended up  being so beautiful! And the original wood had this amazing almost, chevron wood pattern on it.

Detail of sanded wood table with white wax

I left some paint on the edge, and in the detail to give the wood coffee table with white wax a rustic feel, and a bit of a Restoration Hardware look.

Thrift store table sanded. The wood coffee table with white wax is finished for a high end look. It just takes lots os sanding!

I love how it changes the entire look of the room too. I love painted  furniture, but sometimes I also love real wood. It really adds a warm element to the space, if it’s the right shade.

Table base under sanded wood table with white paste wax

On the base, I left just enough old stain, and paint to add visual texture to the wood coffee table with white wax .

Sanded wood table with white wax

I am really happy I decided to spend a few hours to see what was underneath. A few people asked me how well the wax finish will hold up. I have this post about paste wax vs. polyacrylic, and the best way to seal furniture. In my house, hopefully a while. This time I was picking the look over the functionality.  I could have done a white wash on it with paint, and then poly-ed it, but I really wanted it to look a certain way. I also know wax can show rings if someone leaves a cold,wet glass on it, and we tend to get dirty feet put on furniture too, so I might be moaning in a few months, but for now, I love it.







  1. Your coffee table turned out really nice! Sooo pretty! It did look great painted white but this is also nice! Funny that you mentioned Restoration Hardware… I visited one in Plano/Frisco yesterday! Going to write up a post or two! Beautiful furniture there! And the chandeliers!!!

    Have a great day,

    1. Thanks Barb! It was such a nice treat to find such great wood underneath! I love it there too!

    2. Thank you Barb! It was such a joy to find such great wood underneath! I love Restoration Hardware too!

  2. When a blogger asks which we prefer — a painted piece or furniture or one with natural wood — I will think of this project!
    I think the era of so much painted furniture might be nearing its end.
    (I’ve been around long enough to know that these things come in cycles.)
    Looks good!

  3. I am refinishing a similar table currently. Can I ask what brand of white paste did you use?

  4. I love it! I kept scrolling for a full shot 🙂 I wanted more!
    I’ve got one realllly similar, and now I want to see if I can do the same.

    1. I am using it in a room makeover, so I’ll have a full one next month 🙂

    2. I’ll have one soon! I am using it in a room makeover, so I cna’t quite show the entire thing yet. 🙂

  5. I love it, that’s the problem with painting wood, sometimes you cover that amazing detail of the wood grain. Looking forward to seeing the room again in a future post. My dad was a carpenter and always said sand with the grain so I always worry about sanding with an orbital sander. Did you notice and problems with that? I guess the pickling look helps with any scratchy look. I love the detail on the edge and agree that leaving the paint on makes it pop. Beautiful.

    1. HI Carole. I actually didn’t have any issues with that, but once I got past the paint layer, I switched to a high grit sandpaper so it basically buffed the rest out.

    1. Me too. I love the look of wax, but I will tell you one of the kids has already left a watermark. Ugh. Those kids!

  6. This turned out really great! I love both painted and wood furniture too! I think paint is great way to update a really dated piece of furniture, but i actually prefer wood, if it is a nice piece. I also love the look of wax, and i really like the finish you made on this…. cool project! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I have some old wooden bar stools with quite a bit of detail on the backs. I was thinking of painting them but now I think I’ll try white paste wax. Thanks for the idea!

  8. What a fabulous table!! That must have been an incredible surprise to begin sanding and find that gorgeous wood underneath. Restoration Hardware doesn’t have anything close to your table! A couple of years ago, my husband and I got the itch to start using wax instead of poly because the furniture looked so much richer with the wax. We have 5 grandsons and our restored coffee table is in the room where the television is located. They have watched many movies, sometimes using the table as a seat, there have been some glasses on the table even with our “no food or drink allowed outside of the kitchen rule”, and so far the table looks as great as it did two years ago. Keeping our fingers crossed.

    1. Thank you! It really turned out nicely! We almost made it a month before a ring appeared.

      1. Oh no! I feel bad having told you I haven’t gotten any rings for a couple of years now. Maybe it’s a difference in waxes. Regardless, ring or no ring…it’s still FABULOUS!!

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