How to repaint a mirror-top side table

With some liquid silver and glass, you can take a dated, two-level side table from dingy to sleek and modern

Materials

(not including side table)

  • primer
  • light-colored satin latex paint, sample size
  • liquid silver leaf
  • two pieces of mirrored glass, 3/16 inch thick, custom-cut at a glass store

Tools

  • sandpaper or sanding sponge, 180 grit
  • microfiber dust cloth
  • drop cloth or newspaper
  • synthetic-bristle brush, 1½ inch or 2 inch
  • artist’s brush

Steps

1. Prep. These instructions assume that you have a two-tier table, but you can easily adapt them to accommodate any table with a flat surface. Lightly sand all surfaces of the table. Avoid rounding over the edges of flutes or other details that you will later paint with liquid silver. With the dust cloth, wipe away the residue.

2. Prime and paint. Set the table on the drop cloth or newspaper. With the synthetic-bristle brush, apply the primer over one surface at a time, working from the inside out and the top down. Coat all the surfaces, including the bottom of the tabletop, because it will be reflected in the lower mirror. Let dry. Apply the satin latex paint. Let dry, and then add a second coat.

3. Add the gilding. With the artist’s brush, apply the liquid silver leaf on details you want to accent, such as the feet, various grooves, and the top edge.

4. Position the mirrors. Position the mirrors on the top of the table and on the lower shelf, but do not glue them down. (You’ll be able to clean up spills more easily if the glass is removable.)

First-timer tip

When you measure the flat surfaces to order mirrors, take note of any special features of your furniture. (The side table pictured here, for example, has tapered legs, so the corners of the lower piece of glass had to be sanded off.)