Making over a piece of furniture that would otherwise be at the end of its life is one of the most satisfying upcycling projects.
And if you’re new to furniture makeovers and feel a bit overwhelmed and out of your element, starting with small projects for your first time, like a little side table for your living room or a bedside table, is a great way.
Next thing you know, you’ll be making over a coffee table and your entire family room will have an entirely new look!
There are many ways you could makeover a side table but, for this project, I used tile. I’ll explain a bit further down why tile is such a great option for a tabletop.
Side Table Makeover – Before
Here’s a before look at the side table I upcycled for this project. As you can see it’s in pretty good condition aside from the top.
Where to Find Side Tables
If you don’t already have a great side table that you want to makeover, then your first step will be finding one. A few great places to find old furniture for furniture projects:
- Thrift store
- Yard sale
- Facebook marketplace
- Antique store
- Gumtree or Craig’s List (depending where you live)
Materials Needed – DIY Side Table Makeover
- Old table
- Tile glue
- Level or ruler
Why Tile for Your Side Table Makeover?
Side tables are often used as places to place drinks down. What better place to be waterproof than a side table then?
So next time there’s an accidental spill, no problem!
And no worries if people forget a coaster as you won’t have any glass rings to worry about. That’ll keep everything in good shape!
Also, I used leftover tile, glue, and grout from a previous bathroom renovation. You can do the same if you have any leftover materials.
A good thing is that new projects don’t have to automatically equate to extra cost.
If you’re tiling something, you almost always end up with extra tile from your project. Ask your handyman to cut the tile pieces to the needed size before they pack up their wet saw.
Or, if having them cut is not an option any longer, you can use random cuts and pieces to create your table mosaic style.
These little random pieces often end up getting trashed.
An easy way for less waste and a new life for your side table – win, win!
Side Table Makeover – Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Prep your side table
The first thing you’ll want to do is clean your entire table, especially the table top. Give everything a good wipe with soapy water and let it dry.
You don’t really need to worry about using a paint stripper to remove any paint or old finish where the tile is being placed as it’ll be completely covered.
Step 2: Prepare tile glue
Step 3: Apply tile glue
Next, you’ll want to apply your tile glue and spread it evenly on the surface of your table using a spreader.
Step 4: Apply tile
Taking your time, apply your pieces of tile. Use your level or ruler to make sure they are straight.
Once you’re satisfied with their placement, you can push down on them slightly to just “cement” them in place.
Wipe away any excess glue with a damp cloth.
As you can see my pieces of tile are larger, but this can be done with any size tile.
The more pieces you have, the more time you’ll need to spend making sure everything is level and straight.
Step 5: Allow glue to dry
Following the instructions on your glue of choice, allow it to dry. This is usually around 4-6 hours.
Step 6: Sand the corners
Using a strong grade sandpaper, round the corners of the tile to avoid any dangerous pointy corners.
Step 6: Prepare grout
Mix your tile grout per the directions on the bag. There is also pre-mixed grout you can buy in gallon tubs or in handheld tubes – you can also get grout in different colours to blend in with your tiles if you like!
You can even get grout pens which may be easier for a small table and smaller tile.
Just make sure you choose the color you want to match your tile as there are several options for different colors.
Step 7: Apply grout
Apply your preferred tile grout in between the tile pieces.
If you’d like, you can also grout the sides of the tile. I chose to do this since my tile showed the ridges and gaps on the side.
For a different look, you could paint the sides of the tile for a different look.
Use a damp cloth to wipe off any excess grout.
Step 8: Allow grout to dry
Following the instructions on your grout of choice, allow it to dry. This is usually around 6-8 hours.
Finished Side Table Makeover
Here’s a look at the final side table makeover!
Here’s a closer look at the finished top.
A little TLC and your old end tables will look like brand new furniture!
This cute table will make a great addition to your master bedroom or anywhere in your house you need a small side table.
Printable Instructions and Video Tutorial – Side Table Makeover
- Old table
- Tile glue
- Level or ruler
- Prep and clean your table using a damp cloth.
- Prepare your tile glue per the bag's instructions.
- Apply tile glue to the surface you'll be placing the tile.
- Place tile as desired, making sure it is level and straight.
- Clean off any excess glue with a damp cloth and let glue dry.
- Sand corners and edges of tile as needed to remove any sharp corners.
- Prepare your tile grout per the instructions.
- Apply grout to your tile until gaps are filled in.
- Clean off any excess grout with a damp cloth and let grout dry.
Side Table Makeover – Other Ways
There are many ways you could makeover a little table if the tile isn’t your preference or not an option for you. Here are some common methods and materials used to give furniture a new look:
If you are brand new to upcycling check out this post – What is Upcycling & What can you Upcycle
If you liked this post you might also like other DIY projects:
- Upcycling A to Z: Over 45 Upcycle Projects to get you started!
- DIY Footstool from an Upcycled Plastic Tub!
- How to Upcycle Tiles as Wall Art
- How to Upcycle a Chest of Drawers – the ‘Pink Lady’
- How to Find Free Furniture & What to Do With It!
- 15 Ways to Turn an Old Door into a Table – DIY Tutorials
- Repurposing Junk to make an Outdoor Side Table
- How to Upcycle a Dressing Table: An Art Deco Style Makeover