Flea Market Find How To: Turning Tables

Happy Spring! You know what that means: flea markets, garage sales and junk scouring of all kinds is just around the corner.

So it should come as no surprise I'm super excited about the always stylish Matthew Mead's (remember all the great holiday decorating projects he shared with us last year?) next publication , Flea Market Finds. Can't wait to get my copy!

Lucky for me, he agreed to come back and share more of his work with us here. Today he is sharing his multi-tasking makeover of a flea market find into a beautiful and versatile piece.


I am wild about tables and I especially like pieces that have interesting details and architectural elements. I found this drop-leaf table at an open air market for $40.00 and was instantly enamored with its elegant lines and beauty. I envisioned it with a gray painted finish against the corner wall in my dining room for use as a side board when entertaining. It was missing a leaf, so I thought it would be best to remove the other leaf and simply engage its minimal surface uses: as a focal point for flowers, a perch for a soup tureen, or a great place to serve punch at a party.

I knew it was a good purchase and I liked its price but decided to negotiate the dealer down to $30.00 dollars, considering the work I would have to do to it. I decided to keep the lone leaf and use the piece in my living room as a curio-type console with the ability to open the leaf to create a perch for a special small supper gathering or as game table for family and friends. It was an easy fix and I am so very pleased with this beautiful refurbished table with its definite Gustavian flair.

The transformation:
Although missing a leaf, the table had sturdy legs and was in excellent shape:

The missing leaf left some holes that needed covering. I used molding to cover the rounded edge that was part of the the leaf mechanics and then a larger piece of molding to cover the apron of the table and its two large holes where the leaf brackets once were.

The side with the remaining leaf had all its parts in working order:

I selected the moldings at Lowe's. To begin, I measured the length of the front of the table and width. Those dimensions helped me select the pieces of molding that would work and also aided in getting the pieces cut to size.

The molding fit perfectly and concealed the blemishes on the wood:

I then lightly sanded the table to rough up the finish and cleaned the entire surface of the piece with a tack cloth. Next, I primed the table with PRIMER 123: a water-based primer that goes over any finish. I gave it two coats to cover the bleeding color from the original stain.

I primed and painted the molding pieces as well and then gave the table two coats of flat-finish latex paint:

I used a shade of gray called Adobe by Pratt and Lambert:

Once dry, I used Elmer's wood glue to adhere the moldings to the table:

I had no small clamps, so I placed glue on the small molding and held it to the the table with electrical tape (this doesn't take off the paint finish) until dry:

For the larger molding, I used the same process, but had a clamp to hold the larger piece in place. I let both pieces dry overnight (12+ hours):

I filled any gaps with wood putty and gave the table a last touch-up of paint where needed.

And that was it!

With the leaf down, I have an attractive console table with a place to perch collectibles, some art and fresh flowers. In this case, I selected the same paint color as my living room in order for the piece to blend well with the room:

For dining, I am able to pull the table out from the wall and expand the leaf to give me room for three guests. It provides the most wonderful and special place to dine when it is a small, intimate gathering:

The transformation cost?
The molding, primer, paint and glue cost me $55.00 in total, so I now have an amazing, new, and versatile flea market find for just $85.00.


Don't you just love that? Who hasn't passed up an old table without a second though?

I know so many of you have completed your own flea market find transformations! Want to share? Drop me a line or share a link in the comments. I can't wait to get my thrifting going this spring!


  1. Awesome idea! Love the finished table. Also love the idea of using the remaining leaf as an extension to accomodate more guests at the table!

  2. What a great addition! I love the color and versatility of the piece. 

  3. Love this, thank you. I'm a big fan of transforming fleamarket finds and love the idea I've picked up from you here about adding mouldings. Never done that before but will give it a go. Also like how you can't see the drop leaf when it's down because it's the same colour as your wall. Clever!

  4. turling12:18 PM

    Holy cow, that's awesome.

  5. Love this transformation!  I would have never thought to pick up that table with the missing leaf.  It looks gorgeous!  Thanks for sharing.

  6. What an amazing find! I love that you can visualize these ideas.

  7. Paloma Sotomayor10:27 PM

    Awesome! My husband and I found an old dresser in the Market in Park Slope.  The dresser cost us $150, we transformed it in a weekend.  It's amazing and looks beautiful in our bedroom.  :)

  8. Very insightful thanks, It's my opinion your followers would likely want much more posts that adheres to that carry on favorable content.
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  9. Is there anything paint and molding can't fix?  It's a different table!  I just repainted and recovered a junky gossip bench, but I think your table started out looking worse.

  10. Ilana Graf12:46 AM

    Your flea market find turned out to be a very chic addition. I love your choice of objects on the table but really love the strewn baskets underneath.  I have transformed my share of objects www.ilanagraf.blogspot.com, though none of them came from a flea market but rather all over the place. Very inspiring project though, thanks!


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