Do It Yourself: Colorful Tables

    Personalize your space with a crafty table. Photo from the author.

    So you just signed the lease for your first apartment, and in a matter of months you’ll be back at school and moving in. For many (minus the few Trading Spaces fanatics still around), the fact that the new abode may be blindingly bland doesn’t seem all that bad. But with a few bucks and a few spare minutes, you can add some color and life to your new living space. Here’s a quick and inexpensive way to tap into your inner interior designer. Glam up a plain table to use as a night stand, extra eating surface in the living room or perfect place for a card game. You’ll thank yourself when winter quarter snowballs in.


    • Small wooden table
    • 1” wide painters tape
    • Multiple colors of paint (latex works fine)
    • Paint brushes
    • Newspaper (to catch spills)
    • Piece of glass for the table top

    Cost: About $20-$25

    Time: One hour


    1. Target and IKEA both sell small tables for $10 and up. Look for glass tops to go over the table and protect the paint. You could also scour some Evanston yard-sales for used tables.
    2. Think about a color scheme; pick out three or four contrasting but coordinating colors.


    1. Set newspapers down on the floor wherever you are working to guard against paint drips.
    2. Paint the entire table (legs included!) a light color for the base coat. You might need more than one coat.
    3. Once the base layer is completely dry, start sticking strips of the painters tape across the top. Criss-cross the tape making shapes and designs. Be sure to stick the tape down well.
    4. Using the rest of your colors, paint in between the tape, covering the base color completely. Again, you may need more than one coat.
    5. When the paint is dry, pull off the strips of tape. Now the lines of the base color will show through, “popping” the accent shapes.
    6. Put the glass on top of the table, and you’re done!


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