How to support a mid-century vintage coffee table

So it’s not surprising that one of our team members transported his grandmother’s Bassett Furniture coffee table to Kansas, Brooklyn, where it sits in the center of the living room. But after about 70 years of wear and tear – not to mention the country trip – the table needed a little CPT. Therefore, we accepted the project, taking the table to the House Beautiful studio to give it a touch of refinement that would bring it back to its former glory and guarantee at least another 70 years of use. See how we did it and how you can do the same with that dusty antique in your garage. Real estate property


  • Lacquer thinner
  • Mineral spirits
  • Wood color
  • Wood paint
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • Sandpaper 150
  • Grip Cloths
  • brush
  • Paint scraper
  • gloves

1 clean

In any finishing project, we recommend that you start by making sure that your surface is clean and free of dust. Clean it with a damp cloth, especially if you have been sitting in the attic for a while.

2 Remove the lacquer

If your table has a lacquered finish, it will be necessary to remove it in order to repaint the wood. Apply a thinner, let it sit for the time specified on the package and scrape it with a scraper.

3 Remove the thinner

After all the lacquer has been removed, apply the mineral spirits on the surface to dissolve the excess lacquer thinner.

4 Sand

Sand the uneven areas with 150 grit sandpaper until the color is uniform. Sand again with 200 grains to smooth the surface. Then wipe with an adhesive cloth so that the surface is free of dust.

5 spot

Now, it’s time for the scrub. Before staining, test the durability on a piece of wood or paint stirrer to find out how long you want to leave the stain in the desired color. When you decide, apply the wood finish of your choice in regular movements using a brush. Paint in the direction of the wood grain. Wipe the stain with a clean, sticky cloth.

6 Sand

Return to sanding: sand with 200 grit on an even surface.

7 Painting

Apply the varnish finish with a new brush, towards the wood grain. Let it dry overnight.

8 Sand and Buff

Give the surface a final sand with 200 grains to be polished.

And ready! You have a table that is like new, but much better.