Nautical Thrift Store Makeover

A quick and fun makeover to suit the cottage, coastal house or casual decorator from a thrift store score. 

When you find a versatile little table for dirt cheap at a local thrift store, you nab it and think of a plan later.  Especially when you know you have a market coming up!  It also seemed like a fun, easy piece to do over for the Furniture Hop with the East Coast Bloggers crew { Be sure to check out all the other links at the end of this post! }

So, then I needed a plan. Because of the way this table comes apart, it makes for doing the legs a different colour than the main parts.  And I had this anchor stencil which is fun and appropriate since I live in rural Nova Scotia, pretty close to the shore.  Logically, the colour palette would be blue and white…so I ran with it!

Because I always am fielding questions about Miss Mustard Milk Paint, I thought I would use it, too, and maybe explain why I love it some much!  When I decided on the blue and white, I knew that Farmhouse White was a given but I didn’t want the blue to be as deep as Artissimo but I didn’t have enough Flow Blue to do it, so I did what I quite often end up doing….making a special mix.  If I had to guess, I’d say it’s 2 parts Artissimo to 1 part Flow Blue and 1 part Farmhouse White….but, like I said, that’s a guess.  And for me, that’s part of why I love the Milk Paint, it’s easy to customize your colour.  Although I do recommend that you mix enough to do the complete job { especially if you mix the way that I do…a little of this and same of that and bit of this thrown in for good measure! }  I added the bonding agent to the mixture because the surface I was painting already had a finish on it and I didn’t want it to be chippy.

For me, I love the process of mixing up my paint from the powder.  I like the control I have over thickness, colour, and the bonding to the furniture.  I have so much control with Milk Paint!  Plus, it’s very forgiving, so I almost always turn to my Milk Paint for these types of projects.

Okay – I like to keep it real and tell you how things really went down. I messed up the stencilling.  I know better than to try to use Milk Paint for a stencil but I thought I’d make it work THIS time….and of course, I didn’t, as you can see in the above photo.  When you use too much paint or paint that is too runny, it bleeds under the edge of the stencil and you don’t get a crisp line.  And my paint was too runny and it bled under and made it look like crap.  So, I got a wet cloth and wiped it all off.  While the top dried out again, I started trying to mix a similar colour with the acrylic paint I had on hand.  And I think I did alright. 😉

Stencilling attempt No.2 was far more succesful.  Thankfully!  When it was all dry, I sanded everything down and gave it a bit of distressing.  I really like how the stencil turned out, with the white showing through and looking all pretty.  I couldn’t decide how to finish it – would I wax it? Hemp Oil? Tough Coat?  In the end I sprayed it with a clear acrylic sealer because I thought if someone was buying this and taking it to a cottage, they would want a low maintenance finish.

Here it is, looking very crisp and nautical. I’m thrilled with how this plain, boring run-of-the-mill table is now a colourful, special little piece.  I styled it with some recent beach finds – seemed to fit 😉

I hope you enjoyed this transformation as much as I enjoyed working on it in my studio!  Be sure to check out the other furniture flips by my fellow bloggers!

To be continued,


  • Laura - July 24, 2017 - 9:32 am

    I love seeing everyone’s project! So much talent!ReplyCancel

    • - July 24, 2017 - 8:28 pm

      So much fun!!! And I agree, it’s fun to see what grabs people’s attention and where their creativity takes them!ReplyCancel

  • Heather Laura Clarke - July 24, 2017 - 10:45 am

    This is awesome! I rarely use stencils because I find them difficult, but you always rock them!ReplyCancel

    • - July 24, 2017 - 8:27 pm

      Less is more!!! That’s what I always tell people when I do classes!ReplyCancel

  • Renee - July 24, 2017 - 6:32 pm

    So pretty. Great job once again, Lori.ReplyCancel

    • - July 24, 2017 - 8:27 pm

      Thanks, Renee!! Happy to have you in my corner!ReplyCancel

  • Peady @ Tempered With Kindness - July 25, 2017 - 6:31 pm

    This is really nice.

    I am loving all your uses of chalk paint and I especially love that you can mix acrylic with it if need be.

    Beautiful table! How fortunate that you could take it all apart. That was an awesome thrift store find!ReplyCancel

  • Reg. - July 27, 2017 - 4:47 pm

    This is so pretty! The stencil and the distressed look makes it even cuter.ReplyCancel