Side table makeover; styled two ways

Happy National Painting Week, friends. Last year I was all young and ambitious and painted Brian’s office for National Painting Week, by Sherwin Williams. This year I decided to tackle something a little more doable, something that only took a couple of hours, and was wildly satisfying.

demi-lune table

See? Boring vintage Ikea demilune table (from 1996, I believe) that just screams, nay, whispers, “Hey guys, I’m very boring.” It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but it could use some spunk, pizazz, jazz, zam, pow … you get it.

It was as boring as the two hour season premiere of Mad Men — there is something to it, sure, but really it just put me to sleep. (I mean, am I right, people?)

Red Side Table-6

So we (by we, I mean Alexis) painted the table a bright red (Sherwin Williams “Positive Red”) because, well, I couldn’t handle blue again, and I figured why the hell not go for red because it’s a totally under used color.

Red Side Table-10

I would go into how to paint a table, but you probably get it. Grab a brush. Dip said brush in paint. Move that brush around on the table. Blow on it til it’s dry.

But we were still kinda bored with just the red, and it’s such a simple table that is inexpensive so it’s kinda begging to be experimented on. So I told Alexis to do whatever she wanted — a pattern, go wild. She taped off this pattern inspired by all the tribal (and triangular) things trending right now and we went for it. Since our color for the day was red/pink, we decided to use two different pinks to make it happy and girly, but still a little tonal.

triangle pattern

pattern painted table

She added the colors “Hopeful” (light pink) and “Begonia” (coral), which I have to say are just very lovely names of colors.

painted table

I love it when a piece looks like a total disaster before you remove the tape, like above. But after we removed them, it was oh-so-fresh and fun.

Instead of just showing the finished table in a styled space, I decided to style it twice and let you decide which you like more. I think I just love how you can change the look of piece just by changing its context.

Style #1: Happy playroom:

sherwin william post

I styled it as a kids space because it was so playful and I have kid on the brain. Plus, I had just got that yellow lamp and that adorable rocking chair (both vintage) and wanted an excuse to show them off to you. That art is from a client of mine — he’s five and adorable, so I borrowed it for the day. I kept it graphic and simple.

hague blue farrow and ball

All the books and those blocks are Ruby’s (Oh Joy’s daughter). Thanks, Rubes, for the use of your adorable props. I’m sorry that I snuck into your room while you were sleeping and stole your toys. Hopefully that doesn’t scar you for life.

Style #2: Hip Dorm Room:

patterned painted table

Oh very Urban Outfitters. Oh you know, she just finished her Intro to Human Sexuality final and she’s leaving tomorrow to backpack around Europe so she’s just been reading these travel books voraciously. She can’t put them down. Although when she does, she puts them down in cute little piles next to her Victorian wicker chair …

But that felt forced to me, so I took them away:

red demilune table

Better, right? I think, so. I don’t know, it’s so hard to be objective about your own stuff …


Most of the props were borrowed from Scott Horne (who has a Tastemaker sale on One Kings Lane TODAY!!) so thanks, Scott for lending them out. I want that blue and white box real bad.


That tassel is stupid. And by stupid, I mean, remarkable. Like I want to remark about it so hard … with my mouth.

I like how the table turned out. It’s a bit trendier than I normally go, but it’s just paint so next year when painting cats on everything is the new huge pattern trend, I can repaint it in a couple hours. Meanwhile these triangles were totally playful, fun, and I loved how random they were. Happy National Painting Week, friends.

* This post is in collaboration with Sherwin Williams but they all the words, photos, and opinions are mine, mine, mine.

Before photos by Monica Wang, After photos by Tessa Neaustadt, Painting of table done by Alexis Finc. Produced and styled by Me. Thanks so much for your help, ladies.

And be sure to check out other National Painting Week makeovers over at Vintage Revivals today, and tomorrow you get Ashley’s project on Decortista and The Anne Sage on The City Sage. On Sunday, check out Curbly’s and Simply Grove. Meanwhile a lot of my favorite interior design blogs did projects already for National Painting Week, check them all out: Little Green Notebook, Coco Kelley, House of Earnest, Remodelaholic, Recycle Consign and Design  The Brick House and Decor Chick.

So, what do you think? Which styling do you like better? Style #1: Happy Playroom or Style #2 Hip Dorm Room? 

  1. Allie

    What is the wall color name? I absolutely love it! Table is super cute!

  2. Jamie

    I love the wall color too!

    And even though it is styled for a playroom, I really dig the overall composition of the 1st setup. (I only say “even though” because typically I’m not as drawn to playrooms or kids rooms since I am not a parent yet).

  3. Paula

    You get an Amen out of me about the Mad Men season premiere; I did indeed fall asleep and I am a huge fan. Love the table; fun, playful. Like the kids room styling better, because of the contrast with the yellow lamp.

  4. Laura

    Can you share the source for the stupid/remarkable tassel? I must have one!

    • Oh man. I too MUST have one of those stupid tassels!

      My vote is for #2, even though #1 is adorable too.

  5. You have the Midas touch with design. It all turns into gold! I like them both. Both chairs are great. But I’m drawn to the door room because of the great plants. I love plants!

    I’m wondering if you can share the wall color? It’s wonderful!

  6. #2 with books, but I’m a more is MORE person.

    Will you please give up that wall color?

    My fingernails are currently painted tribal like your table, but mint/white, because I’m on trend while pretending to be a rapper’s girlfriend

  7. lindsay

    The wall color!! what is it??

  8. Dana O.

    Hello fancied up Bohemian! I gotta say, if I had a dorm room that fancy,I would not have needed a fake id in undergrad! (Just kidding, kinda).
    I also just wanted to say thanks for putting post up everyday that are inspiring and beautiful. I’m finishing my thesis and greatly appreciate the usage of the right side of my brain now and again.
    So thank you!

  9. kim basinger

    Both are interesting, however, I like the kids room composition much more. I think it comes off as more complete and interesting with the other pieces. You are so awesome Emily!

  10. Sooo cute! Could you say what type of plant that is in the second styling? I love how lacey it is.

  11. The second design is my favorite. I’m in love with the tassels!

  12. Love the table Emily! I especially loved how you styled it, of course. :)

  13. Lauren

    Both fun, but love the “playroom” version!

  14. Love the hip dorm room. I have to agree, the books did feel a little pushed. Like it better without them. The table turned out super cute.

  15. Elise

    I like the hip dorm room but WITH the pile of books. Maybe because there are piles of books all over my house so it didn’t feel “forced” to me! And I agree about the season premiere of Mad Men. Felt like nothing happened and the story line with Betty was just weird.

  16. Love both! But since I don’t have any kids I like the second one better.
    Very into the pattern, great idea to make the shapes random rather than a pattern. Gives it a quirkiness, that brought it from zero to hero.
    xo Quinn

    Quinn Cooper Style

  17. Martha

    I like the first one quite a bit but I LOVE the planter in the second :) Man, I’m so glad it wasn’t just me with the Mad Men premiere. I am embarrassed to admit it but I actually didn’t finish it–I watched an hour and then had to pick up my three year old from preschool. I don’t really feel like finishing it, to be honest.

  18. I love the art by your 5 year old client. :)

    And I really love watching you style the same item in different contexts!

  19. This is SUCH an adorable DIY project! I want to run out to Ikea and buy any cheap table and do this project. :) Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful weekend.

  20. Oh my, both are great, but I think the dorm room (with the random stack of books !!) is my favorite. Although that table really does scream kids room.

    I third that request, where is that maahhvalous tassel from?

  21. Suz

    Love both, but the second one is my fave..

  22. ange

    Love both of the tables styled up but #2 is my favorite! I used begonia for my daughter’s bedroom and love it! You rock at styling up stuff!

  23. I am loving this creative DIY project. Clever, colorful and just plain and cool!

  24. sherry

    Oh I like the Hip Dorm Room because it screams ‘library’ to me. And I have library on the brain with the back of the bookshelves painted a similar BM Kendall Charcoal and that maidenhair fern would be just perfect with the Fenwick Landsdowne prints I am contemplating. And I am putting the final coat on the bookcases (THAT WE BUILT!!) and I am so excited that I could, well, blather on and on to you about it.

    I love your little table. Nice work on it and your blog – it is a rather cheerful few minutes of my day that i look forward to.

  25. Jane

    OMG I think you are awesome, amazing, and brilliant anyway, but the Madmen Season premier comment, which was so spot on, has made me a believer! Go Emily- say it like it is!

    As for episode 2 . . . Don sleeping with the doc’s wife downstairs? Really? – I felt like I witnessed a writer’s meeting where they said, “add some of that old Don in, audience loves that stuff; it’ll keep people watching.”

  26. JEN

    ummmm…..yes. way better! Love it!

  27. I want to steal that yellow lamp and bird thing from the first one, but I think I like the second best. With the books! Because I love books and the photo feels more balanced to me. Both stylings are lovely!

  28. Sarah

    My fave is the hip dorm room. Could you please tell me what the smaller, curly plant is? Thanks!

  29. Faireden

    I love Mad Men and it was boring, I thought it was just me. I love everything in the hip dorm room! And agree about the wall color, is it the Loyal Blue? Or another beautiful blue?

  30. Staci

    You know what? I like the #2 photo with books better than the one without. The table is so leggy they helped fill the space. And don’t we all wish we could go back in time and be a globetrotting college student forever…….

  31. Shelley

    Love them both, of course, but the simplicity and bold colors in the first is quite striking. You find the most amazing chairs.
    I am planning on painting our spare room black, any advice?

  32. Love the choice of color…but the triangles are throwing me off…Your styling is impeccable as always…

  33. Angeline

    Love #2: You had me at stupid. :) Great painting Alexis and Emily!

  34. Holly

    “Mine, mine, mine” is what I wanna make those brass curvy things on the blue and white box. I don’t even know what they are but I want ‘em real bad…

  35. Judy H.

    Love the arrangement (last one) with the tassels. I love tassels! I have two in my den, one on a mirror and one around an old, “barky” wood vase. They perk the whole room up!

  36. Carlos

    Gurl, you be killin it!!

  37. Kate

    I will also add my request for the paint color. Which R-Pat is this?!

  38. I hope, pray, wish, demand that painting cats on things will become a trend. Hopefully sooner rather than later. 0:)

  39. Carlos

    Please, please, please sell the tassels on open sky.

  40. The plants totally do me in. Its gotta be #2 for me.

  41. I love them both. And the second one looks better with the book (in my lowly opinion, but I love books!).

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  43. Christina

    So, it’s unanimous and we’re all painting cats on everything now, right?!? Awesome.. it’s my time to shine!

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  50. diC7Bl I appreciate you sharing this article. Much obliged.

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