Modifying Furniture

You guys know I like to think outside the box when it comes to decorating, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need to do to make a piece of furniture more functional (and cute, of course).  This is a table I’ve had for 20 years – I’ve been told it’s about 100 years old, but I’m not really sure.  Anyway, I’ve been using it in my entry for the last few years.  




The problem is, we all enter through our front door and we don’t have a good spot for the kids to stash shoes or scarves and such.  We do have a very small coat closet, but its full of coats and the bottom is full of the vacuum and all its parts.  I’ve been using a basket just inside the door for the kids’ shoes, but it still didn’t look as nice as I would like.  So, I decided to try a different piece that I had been using to store countertop samples and paint color fandecks in my office.  But it looked kinda smallish in the entry:


not quite 



The height of this piece is similar to the previous one, but the top of it isn’t as wide as the marble top piece.  That’s when I got an idea . . .




I put the marble top on this piece instead, so now I still have the good-sized tabletop but now with closed storage beneath for the kids’ shoes and messy stuff.  I also brushed a bit of gold glaze over the previously blackened handles.




Not a bad change.  I’ll still hang on the the base of the previous table.  I’m sure I’ll move things around or use it somewhere else in the future (I always do!)




Don’t forget to sign up for Front Door Friday if you’d like a great new color for your front door this spring!  It’s two weeks from today, April 25.  We’re already half full, so contact [email protected] quickly to reserve your spot!


  1. Kathy Cutforth

    The old parlor table you had is in a style called Eastlake and probably dates to around 1870-1890s. This type of table was very popular and remains highly collectable, especially unpainted. Please don’t paint it, and don’t alter the top so that the pieces can be married again someday.

    Perhaps you can marbleize a thick piece of birch plywood, perhaps with a shaped and wood-filled edge, for the old table or for use on the new table in your entry.

    Here is a link for some information on this furniture style:

    If you do a Google search online for Eastlake parlor table, you will find many pictures of similar tables, which were widely manufactured In the US. In Victorian times, They were typically placed in a window in the front parlor with knick-knacks arranged on top, perhaps layered with a Persian shawl and perhaps a table lamp. The round ones were often placed in the center of the entrance hall in the grander homes, typically with a floral arrangement on top. .

    • Kristie Barnett

      Thank you for sharing that great information about my Eastlake table! So I guess it’s even older than I thought. I’ve never had any intention of painting the piece, for sure. And the marble top hasn’t been altered (it was never attached to the base), so no harm has been done. I’ll keep the base safely for when I reunite those pieces in the future (maybe when I don’t have small kids’ shoes to wrangle!).

  2. Karen

    Brilliant! Was it hard to get the marble top off the table in order to move it?
    It looks great, and is PERFECT for throwing shoes and “life” into!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Thanks, Karen – the marble top has never been attached, it simply sits atop the wooden piece. So now, it’s simply sitting atop the other piece. Easy-peasy!

  3. Pam Lee

    My mother (81) has her mother’s “Ma-Jean’s marble top table” just like the one shown in your first picture. It sits in my mother’s living room and is considered “priceless”. My grandmother had others similar to it in her home and several family members have one but they all have those marble tops. My mother would probably gasp if she saw you had removed the top from the bottom (mainly for sentimental reasons) but she herself is an artist and would also love your “modification”. Time (and furniture) moves on.

    • Kristie Barnett

      Rest assured no harm was done to the table in the making of this modification. It wasn’t attached in any way to the previous wood pedestal, so it’s all good! 😉

  4. Jennifer Collins

    I love my Eastlake side table but the loose marble top always makes me nervous around kids and pets so using the slab on another piece that also gives you storage is brilliant!

  5. Candice

    I recently inherited my grandmother’s Parlor table. It was missing the marble top and the finish was in need of an update, so I painted it an aqua (Tiffany) blue I was lucky enough to get a new marble top for free and I don’t regret painting it one bit. My living room is furnished with four pieces of furniture inherited from my grandmother and I have had them all painted. I have no intention of selling any of these treasured pieces so I see no harm in making them fit into my decorating style.

    • Kristie Barnett

      Good for you, Candice! Painting something doesn’t mean ruining it – it may even extend it’s life!


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