Mid Century Modern Glass Top Coffee Table: Re-Staining Makeover

You might remember, in August I sourced this Mid Century glass top coffee table from Used Victoria. I wrote about the downsizing story behind it here.

Glass Top Table - Used Victoria Buy

My original plan was to paint this little table black – another display prop for Audrey Would! This turned into a re-staining project instead. I’ve never really tackled staining anything on my own and will admit I was a bit nervous.

From what I’ve read I know I should have stripped the old stain off first, but there were some pretty deep water stains to overcome so I went straight to sanding.

Mid Century Glass Top Table - Before (650) copy

If you want a great tutorial with some biodegradable product options for stripping old stain, check out my friend Shauna’s post here.

The sanding went fairly well and I was able to remove most signs of the water damage. I was left with the raw wood of the table looking like this:

Glass Top Table - Sanding - Sheila Zeller Interiors

After wiping away the sanding dust I applied Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner with a foam brush. This conditioner penetrates the wood to help ensure an even stain, and I chose to use this because of the pre-existing water stains.

Because I wasn’t 100% sure of the wood (I think it’s Mahogany), and I wanted to reinforce the table’s Mid Century Modern roots, I chose Minwax ‘Gunstock 231’ for the stain colour. This stain has the orangey-red teak feel without being too strong in either direction.

Minwax Wood Stain 'Gunstock 231' Colour

I also applied the stain with a foam brush and then wiped it away with a lint-free cloth. I am so glad I used the conditioner first as the wood really soaked the stain up. Here you can see the stain applied to the shelf, legs and end pieces. The side pieces hadn’t yet been stained, and yes, I panicked at the bright orange of the shelf at first!

Applying Minwax Gunsmoke Stain - DIY Mid Century Coffee Table

Without the conditioner it would have been really hard to apply the stain evenly on this shelf. The darker sections you see in the shelf are actually the wood itself, not uneven stain. This shelf was really tricky to work with and I had to give some spots more layers of stain than others to get it looking even.

Minwas Gunsmoke Stain - DIY Mid Century Coffee Table - Drying

I think the legs are maybe a different type of wood than the rest of the table, because the grain of them is more porous and they took the stain to a darker colour than the rest. The shelf took the longest to dry of all the areas, but it also had more layers of stain applied than the rest. In the end I left the table alone for 2 days to fully dry before moving it into place.

To recap, here is the table ‘Before’:

Glass Top Table - Used Victoria Buy

And ‘After’ (without the glass because the stain was still not fully dry in spots):

Mid Century Glass Top Coffee Table - DIY Re-Staining - Reveal

I almost left this project too close to the wire. You see, we hosted a cocktail party on Saturday night and I wanted the table ready in time, which it was but with no days to spare!

Mid Century Glass Top Coffee Table - DIY Re-Staining - Reveal (1)

In the end I’m happy with how this table came out – it isn’t actually as orange as it looks here. What I feel good about is having honoured the roots of this little piece rather than painting it my go-to black.

New sofas are next. They’re on the way, but had no chance to join this party. They won’t be here for another month. In the meantime we borrowed our daughter’s to replace the milk crates for a place to sit 😉

How about you? Have you stained anything like this, and if you have what are your tips? What do you use for a finish?

Thanks for stopping by!

Signature 100x47 b&w

Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!

10 Replies to “Mid Century Modern Glass Top Coffee Table: Re-Staining Makeover”

  1. It looks awesome – I especially love the suspended shelf – a great design feature that really says mid-century.

    I’ve done a bit of staining – my one tip is to use a very fine sandpaper in between layers of staining to get a really smooth finish.

  2. See, now you’ve inspired me to tackle a piece of furniture. Your table is lovely! Our staircase is almost done. Still need to do the top coat and reattach the railing. Then I can finally share some reveal pics.

    1. Thank you so much Andrea! I am really happy to have taken that deep breath because we are loving the table in our living room, and I look at it now and know something would have been lost with my go-to favourite… black paint!

  3. Sheila
    If you haven’t done so already I think a photo sent to the couple you bought the table from would reassure them it found a home. Sounds like the passing it on to good home was main goal.
    Rick

    1. Thank you so much for your comments, Rick! I am really happy in the end to have gone the route of stain over the paint. We are loving the table in our living room. And… you are so right. A photo to the couple is a great idea – that will bring this story full-circle. I appreciate the suggestion very much!

  4. UGH that table! That table is perfection! I love it! Staining projects are a great way to re-do a piece of furniture without compromising its beauty with paint. this is a great re-do. Well done!

    1. Thank you Ariel! I am super happy with the stain – I probably broke all the rules for how to do this right, but so far so good – it’s holding up and we’re loving how the table looks in our living room. And… today our new sofas arrive!

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