Around here we call small, ocassional tables like this a "useless table" because we thought they were pointless until we realized one could be a perfect receptacle for stuff we drop down when we enter the house.  The irony is, we can't live without it now.  So we'll say, "Just drop it on the useless table," but with love, not scorn.  I picked up this solid wood antique piece for $8.00 at a yard sale this summer.  But with our wood cabinets, wood floors, wood side tables . . . just too much wood.  Plus it had paint splatters and tons of scratches and marks.  So, I painted it!  Scroll down for before and after pics, plus shots of the process. 

The pic is blurry because I was buzzing with anticipation. 
Or I was buzzing from the 2.2kg of danish shortbread we ate in 2 weeks. 


First we sanded the piece using a belt sander.  We went through about two belts because the finish was so gunky.  Shoulda cleaned or chemically stripped it first.  In any case, I followed up with chemical stripper and hand sanding where the belt couldn't reach.  Then we cleaned the surface and taped off the pattern.  I applied left over paint from painting our walls (and trim and doors!) with a brush and wiped with a rag for a slightly white washed look on the top.  The rest of the piece got two opaque coats plus a bit of touch up.  I waited 24 hours in between coats.  I plan to add a clear coat to protect the natural wood.