Don't discard an old ugly table if it is still structurally sound. There are many ways to cover up an ugly tabletop. Choose to simply place items creatively on top of the table to conceal the table or choose a solution that is more involved to transform the tabletop.
A tablecloth may be the most simple and fast solution for covering up an ugly tabletop. Find a tablecloth that you like, in a print or a solid fabric. Make sure the tablecloth is the correct size and shape for the table. A round table needs a round tablecloth and a table with straight edges needs a similarly shaped tablecloth. The drop length of the tablecloth should be approximately 10 inches. To determine the proper size tablecloth, measure the dimensions of the table and add the drop multiplied by two to each dimension.
Layer two tablecloths for another attractive look. Use a larger solid tablecloth underneath a smaller lace or floral tablecloth.
Découpage is an attractive and less formal way to cover an unsightly tabletop. Clean the table top carefully with soap and water and allow it to fully dry. Choose the paper for the table top. Almost any kind of paper would be suitable, from floral note cards, newsprint, plain-coloured paper or wrapping paper. Tear or cut the paper into pieces that are all roughly the same size (5 inches by 7 inches, for example). Place plain craft glue and plain water in small bowls. Dip a paintbrush into the glue and into the water and then apply a thin layer of glue to the paper. Begin gluing the paper to the centre of the table and work your way out to the edges.
Smooth any air pockets with your hands as you work. Continue the papering out to the edges of the table and then wrap them around and underneath for a finished appearance. Check the entire tabletop for air pockets while the glue is still wet and smooth it completely. Allow the table to dry overnight.
Apply several coats of clear polyurethane after the glue has dried. Allow each polyurethane coat to dry completely before applying the next coat.
Felt and Nails
Cover a smaller tabletop with felt fabric. Affix the felt to the tabletop with decorative nails. Choose a felt colour and purchase enough felt to cover the top of the table. Place the felt onto a work surface and set the table upside down onto the felt. Trace around the edge of the table onto the felt. Cut out the felt along the line. Turn the table right side up and place the felt onto the top of the table. Line up the felt perfectly. Begin to attach the felt to the table with the decorative nails. Pound the nails into the top, outer edge of the table through the felt with a hammer. Space the nails evenly around the entire outer edge.