before and after

before & after: table redo + media shelf

by Kate Pruitt

I’ve attempted to age furniture before but never achieved the results Amanda did with this table. The piece had potential, with its interesting shape, long legs and oval top, but Amanda’s restrained paint job and new knobs gave the table a new charm and elegance. Great work, Amanda! — Kate

Time: Two days (spread out over time)

Cost: $32

Basic Steps: I started by filling any unwanted nail holes with basic spackling (had on hand) and then completely sanding the table using medium and very-fine sandpaper. I would recommend investing in a $3 to $4 non-electric hand sander. It saves loads of time and aggravation to the hands. Next I primed using Rust-Oleum spray paint (much faster this way) then painted on a lovely olive green that I found at the Re-Store. It was the perfect shade that tied into my green couch. It took about three coats to get the desired look.

I allowed it to dry completely (this is where the project may take two days). Then the fun began in making it look aged. By using fine sandpaper, you can give the edges a nice aged look without destroying your paint job. Using the hand-held sander worked wonders during this process. All it took was one rough stroke to get a nice aged look. The last step was my version of an antique glaze. I got a sample size of nutmeg paint, diluted it with water, applied it with a brush and then wiped it off with a rag. You will want to remove the paint as soon as you apply it with the brush; it dries quickly. Working on small patches at a time works best. — Amanda

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE to see Melissa’s media shelf transformation after the jump!

It’s nice to see that other people have as much media — books, records, DVDs and so on — as I do, and that they also struggle to find an attractive way to store it all. Melissa has made a lot of smart decisions with her media reorganization, probably the best of which is investing in a piece that can hold everything. Even though there’s a lot being stored in here, the colorized books and storage boxes help unify the collections and keep the visual overload in check. Nice transformation, Melissa!

Time: 4.5 hours

Cost: $250

Basic Steps: We started by removing all of the items from the utility shelf and cabinet and moving those pieces to other rooms. The shelving unit from IKEA required a lot of assembly, so the first half of the project consisted of putting it together.  It was simple (only required the use of a screwdriver and small hammer), but tedious. Once the assembly part was completed, we moved it against the wall and attached it to the wall with screws. After that came the fun part.

We lined the bottom row of the unit with our records, which made a nice, balanced line, and allowed the majority of the weight to sit at the bottom (vinyl is heavy!). Once that was done, we placed the television, cable receiver and stereo pieces in the center cubes. Because the unit is black with very geometric lines and the backing wall is plain white, we organized our most vibrant books by color, and arranged them to create a rainbow effect. We then put our CDs, DVDs and random small electronics in the IKEA storage boxes and placed them in three of the unit’s cubes to break up the black/white with splashes of bright lime green. To balance out the modernism of the shelf design, we then added some of our vintage cameras and a few very old hardcover books. Finally, we placed a couple of plants and a small wood sign on the top. — Melissa

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  • I love the way the first piece still keeps a bit of that worn, distressed feel. It’s an especially nice contrast to the clean white behind it. :)

  • I’d love to know where Amanda picked up that awesome table. I never know where to go to find worn out furniture pieces. Craigslist is too hit or miss and pretty sparse in my area.

  • I love the black frame of the media shelf with the contrasting books and CDs in such bright colors! I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who color coordinates my books :)

  • I love the color coded books in the media center transformation and the way she balanced the look with the bright green storage boxes! The look is really modern and clean but also quite cheery. Love the vintage cameras too. Really lovely transformation!

  • I thought about an Ikea unit like this but where do you put your record player? None of the compartments are big enough if your turntable has a lid.

  • Very striking transformation of the media center. It pulls the entire space together with style. Great design concepts.

  • LOVE the table!! I’m in the process of trying to round up some furniture for an office space and this table is exactly the look I’m going for!

  • Love both of these projects! The media center storage solution is great! I love the bursts of color and vintage decor in combination with the simple lines of the Ikea unit. It pulls everything together really nicely.

  • Maybe I’m being too tough on you, but not sure how buying a new Ikea unit and some of their storage boxes is really worthy of a “before & after”.

  • What cool transformations! I especially like the media shelf, The black combined with the books bursting of rainbow colors is such a unique and fun touch. Nice work Melissa! Love it….

  • Thanks everyone! It was a really fun challenge to try to solve our media storage issue (my fiance works in the music industry and LOVES vinyl) in a way that fit our design aesthetic and brought the room together. Katy, if you look closely, our record player sits in the compartment right above the records on the center left. We pull it out slightly if we need to open the lid the entire way, but it actually fits well!

    Big thanks to Design*Sponge for featuring our project!


  • Wow, that has got to be the prettiest little table ever! I’m also struggling with storage and ways to keep things hidden but with easy access, it’s sure is hard!

  • What’s ‘before and after’ about buying a new Ikea-unit?

    I guess my whole home can be featured then :)

  • Hmm, not trying to be negative here either, but the Ikea transformation is pretty simplistic. At first glance I thought you had taken your old furniture and rebuilt it to resemble an Ikea unit. Although the organization is well done.
    Would have been good to see a bit more of the living room perhaps, to get a better idea of how it ended up fitting in, and colour scheme, etc.
    My friend bought two of those Expedit bookcases in different colours, and then put them together but mixed up the pieces so they would be two toned, for her record collection, it looked really cool.

  • One other thought though, the Ikea media transformation is a good bit of inspiration for someone who feels really overwhelmed and challenged in getting all their media etc organized.
    You somehow managed to fit it all onto that one shelf in a streamlined look.

  • It’s great to see all of the feedback on our project! Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions, and mine is that ‘before and after’ can encompass a variety of types of projects, including reworking spaces (as it was in ours). Also, ‘design’ includes concepts like styling, choosing color schemes, arrangement of decor, etc. as much as it includes building or reworking an object. The purpose of our project was to take a living room space that was busy with disorganized media items on several units, and rework it into something attractive, organized, and our style. Yes, we included an IKEA shelving unit, but we spent the majority of the time styling, developing a color scheme, and arranging objects that looked cluttered before into a unique space that was streamlined and visually appealing. I design fashion for a living and am reworking things in a similar way all the time! :)

    If any of you would like to see more photos of the entire space, feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to share.


  • I see a huge transformation with the media shelf solution! It’s one thing to move things from one shelf to another but the design work done with this project shows lots of work and a great eye. Makes me want to do the rainbow coloring with my books too. Both of these projects are beautiful.

  • Buying something at Ikea doesn’t make you creative. I think this sort of takes away from the other Before and After folks who actually do work refinishing or creating things. The table is beautiful.

  • The dresser table is sweet, it looks like a lamb on not-so-sturdy legs in this photo. But it is meant to be a utilitarian little dressing table with a skirt. I suspect up close and personal it appears un-sturdy and out of context with other furniture. Give it it’s destiny as a dressing table back — and a beautiful skirt and vanity stool.

  • Absolutely love the media storage redesign. I’ve been trying to figure out a similar challenge and I really like the way they made it work in such a creative way. I’m going to try to do my room like this as well, with that IKEA unit. Thank you!