tv console table refreshed {ahhh}

when ryan and i bought our condo 4 1/2 years ago (the one we’re renting out now) , we had no furniture to our name. like many youngins , we headed to ikea and target for most of it (and don’t get me wrong, i still go there now for some things). one piece we picked up was the ikea lack tv unit. i didn’t like it very much at the time, but ryan was impatient to get our cable box and dvd player off the floor, it wasn’t hideous and it was cheap. since then we’ve acquired a receiver and record player, neither of which fits or works inside the unit, and i like it even less. which is my first issue–it’s not big enough for the things it needs to store, nor does it conceal anything. ideally i would have a dresser-like piece with doors to conceal everything.


my second issue is the black-brown finish. black-brown was my favorite wood finish, and we have lots of it in our place – coffee table, couch, bar, dining table, expedit bookcase (used for storage in the kitchen) and of course the tv unit. while black-brown/ebony is still my wood finish of choice, lately i’ve been wanting my space as bright and airy as possible, which in my mind means white, white and more white, some grays and metallic accents.

i have plans for the coffee table (make a large ottoman), the dining table (ryan to build a farmhouse table) and couch (new one, preferably larger and gray). but since the tv stand it is still functional (for the most part), is the least offensive of all the furniture that needs to change and i have lots of projects and other stuff to buy, i wanted to give it a quick, cheap fix for now. i couldn’t magically make it bigger and have doors, but i could fix my second issue with paint (the god of quick, cheap fixes).

the first step was to clean and then prime it. since it’s laminate, and laminate is very shiny and slick and notorious for not taking well to paint, i used oil-based primer (zinsser, left over from my dresser redo).


i did two coats of primer to be safe.

once it was dry i sprayed the table with several light coats of spray paint, making sure to keep the can about 10 inches away and always moving. since i wanted a glossy, factory-like finish, i tried out rust-oleum’s lacquer spray paint.

laquer spray

i went through two cans and it wasn’t covered evenly. i needed to buy at least another can, which was devastating because the city of chicago does not sell spray paint (and yet there’s graffiti everywhere, so let’s not inconvience diy-ers anymore chicago, huh?). the table dried before i could make it out to the suburbs, and i saw that the finish was…not good.

bad paint job

i’m not sure what or where i went wrong,  but it was only shiny in some spots, and in other spots it was rough. not coolio.

bad bad bad

i sanded it all down so it was smooth again.


plan b was a rust-oleum’s enamel paint.

enamel paint

the enamel paint went on very smoothly, and though i saw brush strokes at first, it was like magic and it evened itself out (similar to nail polish). i did learn that a thin coat is better, since it spreads, especially on the vertical surfaces.

cue the orchestra and angels singing, two coats later i was much happier with the end result  (one coat would have probably been fine). white and glossy, ooh la la.


i wasn’t done yet though. i bought a nailhead trim kit, in french natural finish, which isn’t as fancy as individual nail heads, but is a whole lot easier and cheaper. i can barely draw and cut a straight line, so i didn’t trust myself nailing hundreds of nails in a straight line. instead of nailing in each nail head individually, the trim kit has the heads on a roll and you only need to nail in every fifth head.

nailhead supplies{supplies: nailhead trim kit, rubber mallet, needle nose pliers, wire cutting pliers (i guarantee that’s not what they’re called, but i’m going with it)}

i learned the hard way that the head edges were pretty sharp.


to attach the trim, i unrolled a section and carefully placed it where i wanted it, making sure to have fabric underneath the trim–just after the section i was nailing–to protect my paint finish. once i was sure it was even, i placed a nailhead in position, held it in place with needle nose pliers and hammered it in with my mallet (if you have the benefit of a willing helper, it would be easiest for one to hold the nail in place and the other to hammer it in).


at the corners i snipped off the trim with the “wire cutter pliers” at a real nailhead, or soon after.


i then used the individual nail(s) to cover the gap to the corner.

edge nail

it isn’t perfect, but you can’t tell unless you’re looking for it.


i love the little bit of glam, classic, custom touch it adds.


reflections{you can see reflections in the table it’s s0 glossy, just how i envisioned}




side after





though the ugly electronics don’t blend in as much, and i still would like a whole new unit, i am loving my interim, cheap solution. it’s so much brighter, yes? i do wish i had a solution for the cords though. such an eyesore (and between the before and after there’s two extra ones, no idea why. great).

though i wonder if i should add more trim, like my photoshopped idea below.

after maybe

i do have some nailhead trim leftover, but i’m not sure it’s enough (thus my two simple lines currently) so i would have to order more. yay? nay?

cost breakdown:

primer: free
spraypaint: $7
quart of enamel paint:  $10 (with at least half left over)
nailhead trim: $24.65 ($13.50 + $11.15 shipping & handling)

total: $41.65  (including spray paint that didn’t work so well and leftover paint and nailhead trim)

bonus! i wanted to share two painting tips i’ve picked up along my diy-painting-way:

-if you get oil-based paint on your non-painting clothes (i guess i am not the neatest painter after all, lesson learned), use dish soap. rub it in with fingernail or brush, rinse and repeat as needed. i can’t guarantee results, but it did work for my small spot.
-i forgot where i first saw this, but to help keep your paint can clean and gunk-free, hammer a nail into the inner rim of the can in a couple places. paint will drain back into the can instead of pooling in the rim. nifty.

nail in can

drain hole

have you painted anything lately? there’s quite the satisfaction of giving new life to something you already own.


linking to southern lovely, trendy treehouse, between naps on the porch, remodelaholicmommy by day crafter by night and primitive and proper

51 thoughts on “tv console table refreshed {ahhh}

  1. Looks SO much better and really brightens up that space. I think I like the photoshopped nailhead trim. It just give it a bit more character without going over the top.Where are you sanding all this stuff?? Well, I guess I will see it this weekend 🙂

    • thanks! i know, i think photoshopping almost convinced me to do it. you’ll have to see it in person this weekend and let me know. and, the creepy basement is where it all gets done.

  2. The lack of not sitting around is always good. You are preparing yourself for a child-when you never get to sit ever again 🙂
    Are there any fun flea markets on Saturday morning that we could go to? I also want to hit up CB2 and any other furniture places you recommend.

  3. Ugh, i agree about the spray paint nonsense. I’ve got several projects in the works, and one i just finished that all require spray paint. I felt so much urgency to buy every interesting color i saw when out in the burbs. I ended up with 8 different cans, when i probably only need 3 or 4.

    • ha! i know how you feel. i’m always so overwhelmed with the colors and don’t pick any up because i can’t make a decision, and then when i need it i don’t have it. can’t wait to see your projects!

  4. i LOVE that modern look! very creative and sleek!
    also, my dining chairs are the ones from overstock. i am happy with them, but the kids have a tendency to tip them easier than other chairs… but that’s kids for you.

  5. What an improvement!! Love this idea!
    The gloss finish is perfect, I so love me some shine! I painted a low unit in gloss to and love it, I can almost see my reflection!!

  6. Pingback: Paint Ikea Expedit: from black to white | Meet My Ugly Baby

  7. Looks good! I have a lack tv stand from 4 years ago, and believe it or not, I think the ones they sell now are made even more cheaply than they were then, and I have to buy a ton of new furniture when I move so I want to keep my white lack tv stand for now even though its got some laminate cracked off in one spot. I am going to prime and paint it like you did – will look a little better – get me by another year i hope. Thanks!

    • thanks! a fresh coat of paint – especially in a new color – is a great way to give new life to something. i too wanted a new one but a coat of paint was all my budget would allow for now. let me know when you get it done!

  8. Looks awesome! One extra thing you could do if you have your wall paint – paint all the cords hanging below the tv. I did this with one coat on ours and they have pretty much disappeared. I just slapped the paint directly on the wires as they hung on the wall and was done in a few minutes.

    • thanks carrie! it has held up great – no chipping or scratching. this type of paint is known to be durable. hope your bookcase turns out great!

  9. Super love the glossy white! Found you through a link from Meet My Ugly Baby. Looking for a way to paint my huge Expedit bookshelves….the black/brown does not work in our bedroom, and I’m devouring glossy white right now. Can’t wait to try this, especially since it’s holding up well.

    • thanks! i don’t recall sanding prior – however, a light sanding couldn’t hurt. the zinsser primer works pretty darn well so i skipped that step this time. good luck!

  10. I love what you did with the tv stand. I have the same one, lol and I was thinking of painting mine in a dusty blue :). Thanks for your tips, I will be using them.

  11. This looks awesome! I have the same exact issue with my coffee table right now, I used to love the brown/black and now all I want is white- thanks for the inspiration and tips!

    How long did this take you start to finish?

    • thank you! and thank goodness for paint 🙂 i did this so long ago, and had the misstep of using the wrong paint first, so i’m not quite sure, but if i had to guess, a few hours total of sanding, priming and painting. good luck!

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  13. Looks great! My vote is yay for more nailhead design. When I saw your finished product with only 2 rows of nail heads, I immediately thought how wonderful it would look with the whole section framed. I love it.

    • Thanks so much! I never did get around to making a decision about this, and now it’s been so long the table is only used as a toy table for my son. But I agree, the railheads all around would look best!

  14. Looks Awesome Justine!! Quick question.. when painting my Malm ( ugly ) brown dresser do I need to sand first or can I go right to the oil based glossy paint? Also, have you ever tried Chalkboard paint on Ikea furniture by chance?

    • Thanks so much! I did not sand first, since I was using a good primer. So I would first prime it, then use your chosen paint. I have not tried chalkboard paint on any furniture, only a wall so far. Good luck!

  15. I know this post is old but hopefully you could help me! I’m repainting some furniture pieces in my house and came across this post. It has been SO helpful so far! I used a kilz primer and got a the rustoleum enamel. Mine isn’t coming on as smooth as yours looks. Did you use a foam brush (I see it in your primer picture) or a paint brush?? Any tips on how you put the paint on smoothly? Thank you!!!! 😊

    • Hi, sorry for the delay in responding. I used a regular, good quality brush for the enamel, and it had some brush strokes at first, but they leveled out for the most part. It wasn’t a factory-smooth finish, but pretty good! Because it does level itself out, thinner coats are better especially on a vertical surface. You also have to make sure you don’t back brush too much – going back over paint from a little bit before, as it will have already gotten a little tacky and that’s when brush marks will stay. I also had to clean the brushes with mineral spirits – not as easy as with water, since it doesn’t run out of a tap, but not bad. Just put some in a cup/small bucket, got as much paint off as I could, rinse and repeat. Good luck!

  16. Hey this looks awesome! I do have a question though, a lot of friends suggest that I have to sand glossy surfaces to get the paint to stick. But you just used an oil based primer? Did it work well? Because I hate the idea of sanding and your way of doing sounds much better! Thanks in advance!

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