Your living space should be your happy place. An outward expression of the inner you. You want to walk in and feel like your place is yours by design. But what if your design taste is like really, really expensive? Find out how to use my super simple faux-marbling paint technique to turn a $60 Ikea table into a $700 Anthropologie look-alike. So. Worth. It.
Like many people over the last year, I read the uber-popular book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. While I may not have mastered her origami-like clothes-folding system (seriously? WTF, Marie), or de-cluttered every little space (I’m sorry, but the kitchen junk drawer is called the “junk” drawer for a reason!), what I DID take away was the importance of surrounding yourself with things that bring you joy.
I have held onto a few furniture pieces over the years because they were either expensive hand me downs (I felt guilty getting rid of them), or I didn’t have enough money to buy the piece I actually wanted. I feel like a lot of you out there probably feel the same way about some furniture in your home. So how about you take something mediocre in your life and DIY upscale it into something awesome and perhaps even expensive looking like this Ikea Hack project. It’s not an exaggeration to say that building a life with things that bring you joy can really change your life. So let’s get out our paintbrushes and bring ourselves some JOY, shall we?
I keep a Pinterest page going for whenever design inspo hits and my “Wih List” coffee tables look something like these:
I get all excited about finally finding the perfect piece…and then I look at the price tag. I just can’t justify buying a side table that costs almost as much as my rent.
Enter, DIY MAGIC.
A couple of years ago, I learned some crazy awesome faux-finish painting techniques from a woman who used to paint sets for Hollywood films and TV shows. I was shocked when I went to touch what I thought was a marble end table in her home and it was a wood surface that had been painted! Even close up, I truly could not tell the difference. I asked her to show me how she did it and was floored at how easy it was. Here’s how I used her trick to turn a cheap-looking $60 Vittsjo Ikea Coffee table into a luxe and chic Anthropologie look-alike. Pro Tip: Make sure you buy the white metal version and not the black. It’s WAY easier to work with.
Step 1: I started with a clean surface and spray painted all the metal pieces with gold metallic spray paint. It’s best to do this outside so your glass pieces and your coffee table shelf don’t get any gold paint on them. Also, don’t get gold spray paint on your other stuff. Ventilation is a good thing, open air is the best thing. Leave them to dry for about 45 minutes to an hour, then flip over and spray the other side. Double check to make sure you got all your surfaces; I had to go back a couple times where I’d missed a spot. Annoying. But whatever, the path to perfection is paved with annoying tasks, right?
Step 2: Now for the fun part: the marble-ing! The thing that makes this surface look like marble instead of paint is…drumroll please!…WATER. The more water you use, the more fluid and dreamy the paint becomes and the less you actually have to do with paint. You’ll see what I mean as we go. Take your white acrylic paint and water it down a bit so that it’s in between the consistency of water and paint. Use your paint roller to generously spread the paint mixture out over your surface. You can only get that wet, flowy marble base look with a roller; brushes leave strokes that are impossible to hide.
Step 3: While the surface is still wet, mix equal parts white and black paint to create a dark gray and again, water it down a bit. You can go lighter or darker, that’s just what I used. Using a medium size brush, lightly pull the gray paint through the wet white base surface to create the “vein” pattern that you see in real marble. *If at all possible, I like to have a piece of real marble or a picture handy while I’m doing this step to get a realistic look.
Step 4: While the “veins” are still wet, take a dampened cloth and lightly stipple (aka “sponge”) along the lines to soften them up. The more you sponge, the softer the marble color. Don’t be afraid to add more water if it feels too “line-y” or dark.
Step 5: Finally, take a small brush dipped in the gray paint and go over the veins once more, this time with a feather-light touch. You’ll be so amazed at the end result, you might even forget it’s not real marble!
I couldn’t be happier with my new table. It’s light, chic, and feels totally “me”. As I keep re-purposing and upcycling different pieces in my home, splurging where it really counts but saving everywhere I can, I’m finally starting to feel like I’m walking into my own, grown-up space instead of a mish-mash of someone else’s stuff. Plus, you can’t beat the sense of pride you get when you look at something you love and know you made it yourself. Speaking of which, be sure to check out our post on how to DIY a gold leaf anthropologie-inspired vase to put on top of this gorgeous table! Happy Making!