Before you throw out your old coffee table, consider simple renovation ideas to make it look like a completely different table. As long as the structure of the table is sound, you can modify it with a variety of finishes from paint to tile. The renovation makes the coffee table look brand new at a much lower price.
If you like the style of the furniture but want a change, use paint or stain to give it a new look. A different colour of stain makes the table look modern and updated. Instead of staining the entire table, stain only the top or legs to give it a two-tone look. Painting the table allows for more colour options. Paint the table a bright colour to make it stand out. For a custom look, paint a checkerboard pattern, stripes or other designs on the tabletop. Stencils allow you to paint more intricate designs.
For wood coffee tables, distressing the wood rather than giving it a new, crisp finish may be more your style. Distressing makes the wood coffee table look like a well-worn antique piece. Use items around the house like sandpaper, hammer, file or wire brush to rough up the wood. To make the distressing look more realistic, use the technique on parts of the table that would naturally wear like the edges. Start slowly with the technique to avoid overdoing it. Keep distressing a little at a time until you achieve the desired look. You can also use crackle medium to create a crackling and peeling look on a painted coffee table.
A tile or mosaic dresses up the top of your coffee table. Tile the entire top or add a tiled section in the middle. A tile border makes a clean line around the area. Another option is to add wood trim around the tile to blend in with the wood of the table. The tile adds extra weight to the tabletop, so this option is best for sturdy coffee tables. You may be able to add bracing for greater stability if you are worried your table can't handle the weight.
Chalkboard paint transforms the top of a coffee table into a functional or entertaining spot. Chalkboard paint is available at any hardware store. The process takes longer than regular paint. Give the paint at least three days to cure before using it. After the drying period, rub a piece of chalk turned on its side over it. This prepares the surface so the chalk drawings and writing erase.