Saving Ugly Betty: A Furniture Intervention

Let me introduce you to Betty, my sad little end table.  I found her seven years ago at D.I. right after we moved to Utah. She was only $10 and in near mint condition. And being a Broyhill, she was the only piece of real furniture that we owned.


Since that time though, she has been loved and beat to death by my Dirty Half Dozen. They have decoratively carved her … driven metal trains on her … raced match box cars across her … jumped, climbed and leaped off her … painted, spilled and colored on her. In short, they have sucked every ounce of beauty and grace from her life (just like they did their mother-ha!)


So for the past few years she’s been relegated to the living room corner as an impromptu TV stand.  Luckily the screen is big enough to hide the top and cover most of the brutal wear and tear.  But still, Ugly Betty constantly reminded me how sad my house looked and how much I wanted to change that.  I figured Betty would need to go straight to the dump if we remodeled, because come on … who could salvage thatright?


Apparently my awesome friend Katie can. 

Hello sexy Betty!


I have the most awesome visiting teacher! Katie has one of those houses that strikes the perfect balance between catalog beautiful and warm-inviting-and-children-can-actually-live-here. She is a furniture restoring rock star who has mad spray painting skills that I so envy.


Katie had stopped by the week before we left for Washington to see how I was doing and how the house was coming along (or not really coming along). I told her how frustrated I was with how slow we were going and asked for her advice on to do with the living room furniture.  She took one look at Ugly Betty and the bookcase Mr. Thrive made me right after we got married and immediately offered to paint them for me.


I thought her offer was sweet and didn’t think much about it until she called the day before we left to offer again. “I’m serious, “ she told me excitedly. “I really would love to paint them for you while you’re gone. That way you’ll have two less projects to worry about when you get back.”

And so she did.

I had Mr. Thrive unpack all the vacation stuff from the suburban and ran Betty and the bookcase over to Katie just before 9 pm. Then we repacked the suburban in the dark, got a few hours of sleep and then left for vacation the next morning at 4 am.

And while I was gone, Katie was busy.  She sanded down the wood veneer around the outside of the table to get rid of most of the scratches. Then she lightly sanded the center area to leave most of the veneer in tact. The result was an awesome, two-toned topper than stained up beautifully.


She used Dark Walnut stain from Minwax on the top and sealed it with a few coats of poly.


The legs and drawer got a few coats of glossy black spray paint. Katie swears by the .99 Walmart spray paint and I’m a believer now.


And I love that Katie left some of the dings, dents and scratches behind to make sure Betty didn’t loose her I’ve-been-well-loved look. 

Katie even added a left over knob she had from her stash to finish off the table. *LOVE*


Betty looks amazing and I can’t wait to get the dang house painting done so that she can move back in.


Thanks again Katie!



Saving Ugly Betty A Furniture Intervention

42 thoughts on “Saving Ugly Betty: A Furniture Intervention”

  1. This looks amazing!! I am in love with refinishing furniture these days! All of what I have done so far is shabby chic…..sand, paint white, sand, stain, sand! As I move into other rooms in months to come I will do it differently and I so love the look of YOUR little 'beauties!'

  2. Man, I want a visiting teacher like that :). It looks great–I bet it can't wait to get to show off next to your newly painted white beadboard and lovely grey walls….

  3. What a great friend! The table looks beautiful. I didn't even notice the contrast in the wood grain on the top in the Before pics. Well done!!! (When do we get to see the bookcase??!)

  4. Wow! I just found a table similar at a garage sale this morning for $5 and want to do this. But could you ever ask her – HOW she gets the Walmart 97 cent paint to do that? She must have to use like – 5 cans?! It's so thin!! I'd love to know the trick as it IS so much cheaper. Thanks!!
    alicia9265 (at)

  5. Wow! I have the entire Broyhill Fontana set that have also been well loved. Great to see there is hope for them!

  6. Good Friends, invaluable! Can't beat em. I am sure you were so grateful to come home to this being done. Gives a boost of encouragement/inspiration to keep going. Your house is goign to look great!

  7. I love it! How did she get the stain to go in different directions like that? Is that how the wood grain is already? I love 2 toned looks like that! Great job!

  8. Wow! Katie really does work wonders! I didn't know she was all into that, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised, seeing as how impressed I am with the decorations in her home! I really miss VTing with her and visiting you! Those were some fun times!


  9. WOW! I have this end tables big sister, the coffeee table 😉 Great improvement. Funny, after hating it for years, I finally cracked out the paint and gave it an update. Enjoy your "new" Betty.

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