How to: Give your Table a Neon Makeover

I’ve had two plain jane brown wooden side tables for oh, about 15 years.  I went through an obsessive purple phase when growing up, so my mom helped me cover them in lilac-colored satin tablecloths.  Classy!  In my teenage years I decided that the lilac color obsession was weird, the tablecloths came off, and they’ve been naked ever since.  Thus, time for a modern makeover!

Materials needed:

1.  Spray paint – any colors you’d like!
I used black, off-white, and neon red
2.  Primer, Clear Sealant
3.  Measuring tape
4.  Painter’s tape
5.  Sandpaper

You’ll need a small table – any table will do! Nightstand, coffee table, anything you can get your hands on.
And don’t forget a drop cloth if you don’t want your garage/yard to be neon!  Worth the $2.00.


1.  First, get your table’s surface ready to paint.  I had a few clumps of cat hair fuzzballs stuck to my tables, for instance.  A good sandpapering, followed by a wet cloth, helped me get rid of all the unwanted stuff stuck on, and I was able to smooth out some rough patches in the wood.

2.  Lay down the drop cloth, then spray the primer over the entire table.  This helps the surface be better prepared to receive the colored paint you have chosen.  Let dry for recommended amount of time on the can.

3.  Next, paint the legs one color of paint and let dry.  Spray in even, light strokes.  Do a second coat if you need to, but don’t spray too close to the surface and go overboard, or you’ll have drips – don’t ask me how I know that.  Also, patience would be a good thing to have throughout this project.  I am terrible about waiting for paint to dry.  I just want to see the finished project!  Go inside the house, kick off your shoes, and come back later.  Watch a movie or something.

4.  When the first coat of paint is completely dry, measure up from the bottom of the table legs, and tape off a section you’d like to color-block.  I measured 9 inches up, marked with a pencil, and wrapped painter’s tape around this point.  Make sure the bottom edge of the tape goes all the way around, and matches up with the other end.  Gotta make sure the line is straight!  Since I used a pretty small width of tape, I went ahead and added taped a little further up the leg as well, so that the spray paint wouldn’t get all over the part I’d just carefully painted.

5.  Carefully spray the bottom half of the legs with your second color of paint, and let dry.  Peel off the painter’s tape and admire your new color-blocked table legs.

6.  Now for the final color.  The legs of my table come off easily, so I removed them before moving on to paint the last section.  If the legs of your table are not removable,  cover or tape off the section you’d like to avoid painting.  Finish by painting the top of your table in a bright, bold color!  Let dry, then spray with a clear sealant.

Ta-daaaa! Snazzy new side tables.

Looking for more neon table inspiration? Check out this post by The Brick House.

4 thoughts on “How to: Give your Table a Neon Makeover

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