Antique Book Rack Table Update

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This antique side rack table needed a little (or a lot!) of love! Some glue, wood putty a few screws, some paint, and like new!

Hello wonderful friends! I have a brand new makeover today.
My sweet husband and I were a few towns over (in the country!) a couple of weeks back and drove by a roadside Church thrift sale.
Of course, we had to pull over! I can’t pass by a sale like that without checking out the goodies.

Antique Book Rack Table Update

And I went home with this antique book rack table.

book table before all beat up

Yikes! It was in major need of help. (and love)
And what you can’t see in the photo is how wobbly it was. Poor thing.

side view of old book side table

It just swayed from side to side.

The top was in pretty rough shape too.

book table top stained and worn

Looks like it got moved and never used again.

side view of book table with moving stickers

But that’s okay because she is going to get all prettied up and used once more!

I decided to sand and refinish the top and paint the rest. I had originally thought I’d refinish the whole top but as you can see below, when I sanded the edge I realized it was not the same wood. So that part got painted too.

top sanded smooth with grease spots

It also had a few grease spots?? I couldn’t get those out so they stayed.
You can’t really see them in the finished piece though. You’ll see.

Here is how the top looks wet after I wiped it down from sanding.

top sanded and wiped

I went ahead and lightly sanded the whole piece to remove any bumpy finish, etc.

The top got two coats (with a day in between) of a gray wood stain. (linked above) I wanted a “cooler” finish to help reduce the redness of the wood so went with gray.

top refinished with stain

And to fix the wobbly, my husband drilled and screwed the sides for me. Wow, what a difference!
Super duper sturdy now. Just want it needed. And okay because I’m painting it anyway, you’ll never see them.

You can also see where I repaired some of the chipped wood on that backside there.

side with screw holes

I filled the holes with wood putty, let it dry, and sanded them.

wood putty filled holes

Nice and smooth…and sturdy.

wood putty filled holes sanded

The base got 2 coats of a beautiful green shade called Eucalyptus. (also linked above)

Unfortunately (or fortunately so I could fix it before it went to it’s next home) the top came off when I picked it up to move it. So I glued it back in place. Also nice and sturdy now!

top and bottom with pegs to hold top, separated

The top, stained and painted, so much better.

stained and refinished top with paint around edge

No, that’s not all!

I decided to use a transfer on each side.

botanical transfer on side

And I considered using some of these pieces on the book rack part but decided to keep it simple instead.

leaf transfers

I don’t always “distress” but I felt like this one needed it. It’s old and an antique and it just felt right to distress it a little.

distressed edge of book ledge

distressed edge of sides

top edge distressed

I sealed the whole thing, including the top with a coat of matte Tough Coat.
I did use an oil-based stain but it sat for about 4 days before I applied the water-based topcoat.
I wouldn’t do it any sooner than a few days.

And done!

green table with stained top with plant beside

So sweet.

green table stained top with books on ledge

Would be perfect by a reading chair…

white chair, ottoman with green table beside

…or in a sunroom, screened porch, etc.

book table with transfers on side

Here’s the one side…

up close of botanical transfer

And the other…

up close of other side with transfer

That top looks so different now. It just needed a little love, right?!

top view of table top with book plant and mug

And these books…

3 very old books on book rack

I adore old books. These are from 1913, 1880, and 1770.

side view of white chair and side book table

I love this sweet little table now. So cute. And brought back to life.

You never know what you’ll find on those roadside sales! All kinds of treasure just waiting to be found.

PIN it to save it!

This antique side rack table needed a little (or a lot!) of love! Some glue, wood putty a few screws, some paint, and like new!

Have a great week! I’ll see you later this week with this!

UPDATE!! See it now here!



  1. Oh my goodness Nancy and I have the exact bookstand that belonged to my grandmother.
    Great job and I love the color. Gives me some motivation to start on mine.
    Thank you for all of your wonderful ideas.
    Have a wonderful day.


    1. Cathy…I got the same one too!!! They must of been the “it” thing back in the day! I got mine at a garage sale for $2 about a month ago.

    2. Oh wow, that is so cool, Cathy! How special!! I am so glad that this makeover inspired you. I know it will be beautiful, whatever you decide to do! xo

  2. What a sweet makeover. I love the color you chose for the bottom as well as the transfers. I am glad you stained the top; that really made a difference. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy your week.

    1. Thank you, Sue! I am so happy I was able to refinish that top. It really was so pretty under all that damage! Have a wonderful rest of your week! xoxo

  3. I have a table just like this I was going to refinish as a side table for our lakehouse. I planned to paint the whole thing but now considering staining the top as you did. I love what you did with this table.

    1. OH that will be perfect for your lakehouse, Debra! Yes, sanding and staining the top really didn’t take too much more effort and so worth it. Have fun with yours! xo

  4. That is so funny…about a month ago I got the same exact table at a garage sale for $2!!!! I was going to paint it but once I gave it a REALLY good cleaning it looked too good to paint. I love it by my reading chair. I love that soft green that you painted yours…so pretty. I might be using that color on something else.
    Good job, keep up the good work.

    1. Oh, what a steal, Addie! And how absolutely wonderful that after cleaning up it was good to go. What a treasure! Thanks so much!! xoxo

  5. Such a sad little table before. It got lucky when you rescued it, Nancy! The deep top looks great with the base color.

  6. Hi Nancy! The table turned out so good. Love the color and those transfers. I love old tables like that. Thank you for sharing.

  7. I have one almost identical that belonged to my granparents and then my godmother/aunt.
    I have some Agatha Christie and old Sherlock Holmes books on the bottom. I’ve left it as is but yours looks wonderful! And I LOVE the transfers

    1. Oh, I love that! So much more special when they are family pieces! I totally understand why you would leave yours as-is. And yes, transfers really add that extra special touch! Thank you, Joanne! xoxo

  8. OMGosh I have two of these to do. Now that I see how beautiful they can be, I can hardly wait to do them. I am so many projects behind and a whole new shop coming to work on and in which, will house all the clean work up front and the dirty work in the back!

  9. I’m a little behind with my comment but…..I love it. You can spot a tresure even from the road! I’m sure you had a great time out and about on a beautiful day. The colors go so well together and the transfer adds just the right touch. That won’t last long in your shop. Have a great rest of the week.

    1. Oh yes, I am always scanning if I see things by the road, sales, etc., as we go by. I know how it thrills my husband! haha! But he’s always a good sport. Thank you, Kathy! xo

  10. This is absolutely beautiful!!! You have inspired me to redo a side table yhat i have by my chair. thank you for the inspiration!

    YOU GO GIRL!!!

  11. Nancy, I love what you did with this little table. I have a small table different than this one but which I’d like to repaint and I really like the color you used on the book rack table. However, my ancient computer would not let me go to the supplies you listed. Could you tell me what brand the Eucalyptus paint you used is and where I could find it? I’d really appreciate it.

    1. Thanks, Naomi! Yes! You can find it in my shop, right here. Other than that, you may be able to find it locally. It’s by Fusion Mineral Paint. It’s a beautiful, soft green. :) xo

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