We received a set of hand-me-down end tables several years ago. The previous owners had given them an antiqued finish in a color best described as Forest Service Outhouse Brown—not exactly my style. Nevertheless, they have traveled around our house, taking on various roles here and there. One of the smaller tables is serving as the piano bench right now; the other two have been doing duty as junk-collection surfaces in the basement for some time.
I decided to fix the taller, longer of the tables up and give it new life as a plant stand in our sunroom. I would have liked to use chalk paint, which people have told me requires no sanding before use, but instead I used the leftover paint from E and Z's bedroom, which, despite being latex wall paint (my dad always gives me a hard time for using latex paint on wood), had two distinct advantages over chalk paint: I didn't have to go anywhere to get it and it didn't cost me anything. But I did have to sand all the old brown paint off the table first.
C documented the process (ignore the weird sun/shadows that makes it look like I have a beard and/or a missing tooth). Then the painting began. I used to think it would be fun to buy old furniture and fix it up to sell. It was a little fun painting this table, but not fun enough for me to want to do it full time. Also, that would require being careful about drips and lumps and brush lines.
Still, it turned out pretty great, and it fits the space perfectly. I put some cork feet on a few leftover floor tiles (to keep water from getting trapped underneath) and placed them on top to help protect my paint job from leaky flower pots. I'm pretty happy with the result, so much so that I think I'll repaint one of the other tables as well. Now this room just needs a comfy place to sit (the futon that used to live in here migrated to the living room when our family got too big to fit on one couch).