Outdated Coffee Table to Rustic Entrance Bench

Rustic Bench Cover Shot

Early in my painting days, I picked up three coffee tables off of freecycle and set to work. Wooohooo! Stuff to practice on… one of them, I can’t remember so I’m not sure what happened to that one, but two of them have been favorite items in my home. However, when we opened the Painted Lark boutiques and I quickly needed some inventory, I literally shopped my house for things that show my style and gave the idea of what would be carried at Painted Lark moving forward. When I picked them up as coffee tables, I wasn’t sure what I would do with them.

Rustic Bench By Window

This one started with very orange wood… so changing that color was first on my list! I loved the spindly legs and rustic feel of it. In fact, to me it seemed to be a bench not a coffee table! We’ve used it as an entrance bench and at the foot of the bed. Although, it would still make a great coffee table for a small space.

I do use stains but I love natural methods and products when I can find them. To change the look of the wood on this bench and give it a new life, here is what I used and did.


  • Jar with a lid, white vinegar (or any light colored vinegar), something rusty or a piece of steel wool,  black tea bag
  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, paint brushes, rags, Howard Feed’n’Wax


  • I used 220 grit sandpaper to rough up the top. It’s clearly not a new piece of furniture and I wanted it to have lots of character, so I didn’t sand it evenly and did some sanding in various directions to keep it from being to smooth and pretty. We’re going for rustic on this one!
  • Do ahead: Put white vinegar in a jar with a lid and add something rusty or some ripped up steel wool. Let it sit a couple of days. It will change color. Although, the first time I did this it wasn’t as dramatic as I expected.
  • Brew some strong black tea and paint it on. Then go over it with the oxidizing solution. The wood and tannins from the tea are reacting to the rusty solution, so have patience the color will change in the first few minutes.
  • I painted the legs and sides with 2 coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (Louis Blue
  • The stained wood and painted areas were sealed with 2 coats of Howard Feed’n’Wax

***This bench has been sat on many times and no clothing has been harmed! If you do this treatment at home, just give the piece a couple of days for the wax to cure, then you should be good to go. To clean, just wipe with a damp cloth.

Rustic Bench at Painted Lark

On sale at Painted Lark at The Barn Shops in Lewes, DE or available by appointment in Maryland (email ali@paintedlark.com). Was $65-now marked down for the holidays to $52.00!


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