Side table, before and after
Allison Waken portrait

Meaningful Side Table Makeover

Updating a Sentimental Piece

Allison Waken

All for the Memories

My husband and I are high school sweethearts. After we were married my mother-in-law gave me a side table he hand-turned in woodshop in 1995. I have never wanted to get rid of the table – even though it’s not quite my style. Wanting to keep it out where it can be seen and used, I finally decided a little color makeover was needed. All it took was a quart of BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA®, an evening of work and the table was transformed into a gorgeous piece perfect for displaying in the family room.

Behr Color Palette

This color is Starless Night

Starless Night


Jared Waken 1995 written in pen on the bottom of the table

My husband and I met in 1997 and have been together ever since. Not many things we own have been with us as long as that! When we got married, my mother-in-law gave me a side table that my husband, Jared hand-turned in 1995 in high school woodshop. It really is a gorgeous piece of furniture!

We’ve had the table shoved in a corner, but I recently rearranged the family room and had a perfect spot for it out where it can be seen. I had 2 problems with the table though. First, it’s not my furniture style and second, it’s not my color/finish style. Knowing I could really only change one of those things, I figured it didn’t hurt to try a gorgeous new color.

A new color can transform a piece from something you'd never use into something you love.

The only thing I didn’t have at home was the perfect paint color. I wanted a neutral color but there is such a wide variety of gorgeous Behr colors calling to me! I finally ended up purchasing a quart of BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA® Interior Satin Enamel in the color Starless Night.

A beautiful navy goes well with many bright and neutral accent colors.

One evening, when my husband was around to work on DIY projects with me, we had some extra time and got to work on the table. First, we sanded the table all over using a 150 grit sandpaper. An electric sander works great for the top, but the small legs and base were all done by hand.

Sanding the table top with a palm sander
Hand sanding a table leg
Dipping a trim brush into a quart of BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA paint
Partially-painted table leg

Once sanded and roughed up (so the paint adheres well), we cleaned the table with an air compressor. This isn’t necessary but makes cleaning up the table that much easier. After the dust was blown off, we finished cleaning up the table with some tack cloth and then finished off with a lint-free cloth for good measure. The cleaner the piece, the better the outcome will be!

Now for the fun part! We took our time with the first coat of paint, making long brush strokes. It was a cooler evening, so it took the paint a little longer to dry, but made for a smoother finish because the paint had a little more time to settle. Once completely dry, we added the second and final coat.

Tips and Tricks

Gallon can of BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA paint

When choosing a color, look up the exact color online or use the in-store kiosk to see the color on a large wall or surface. You'll get a better idea of the undertones and what the color will look like on a large piece.

Blowing dust off the table top with an air hose

Cleaning the piece after sanding is such an important step in your finished product, don’t shortcut. Make sure it’s completely free of any dust and debris.

Visualize It

Painted table with decorative accents

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The satin finish is perfect for a table that will get some use.

Don't worry, I left that fun inscription! I love wondering who else will own this table some day.

The Big Reveal

Finished side table
Detail of the finished table’s top
Painted table with decorative accents

How gorgeous is this color?!

I am really pleased with how the paint took to the table and how smooth and beautiful the finish is.

Even better, I really love how the gorgeous color transformed this table into something I love showing off – even if the style of the table isn’t something I would have purchased. It’s all about the memories!

Alison Waken portrait

Allison Waken

Alison Waken is a full-time writer, photographer, wife and mother from Phoenix, Ariz. Her website All for the Memories is a lifestyle blog dedicated to creating memories through travel, scrapbooking and making her house a home through crafts and DIY projects.