a grain bin turned coffee table

Marian ParsonsAntiques, Before and Afters, Family Room, Favorite Finds, Furniture Makeovers, Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint, My House

When I shared the industrial-style coffee table a few months ago, some of you called it.  It just didn’t work with my style.  While I like the table a lot and it was very functional, it was too large for the space and the longer I lived with it, the more it felt off with everything else in the room.  Great piece, wrong space.

Since I realized that, I’ve been looking around at antique stores and craigslist for something to replace it, but pieces were either the wrong size, wrong style, etc.

I finally came across an old grain bin on craigslist.  It was a little longer than what I was looking for, but otherwise the dimensions were perfect.  It wasn’t blue, either, but it was really old, had a lot of character, and, at $105, the price was right.

After thinking if over for a few days (and seeing that the listing was still active), I asked my dad if he could pick it up for me.  He acquired it from an elderly man who has dismantled dozens of barns in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and this was a grain bin out of one of those barns.  I was so excited about the old wood and the story of the piece and I eagerly slid it out of the truck to see how it fit in the family room.


Within two minutes, Jeff said, “So, we’re going to have a coffin for a coffee table, now?”

And then he dubbed it, “the coffin-table”.

Oh man!  It does look like a coffin!!

Well, maybe not exactly like one, but it had a coffin-ish look to it.  I lived with it for a day or two and knew that it had to be painted.  Not only did the raw pine reinforce the coffin-ness, but the wood was very rough and it was just a splinter waiting to happen.

Jeff can be so irrational when it comes to his insistence that my pretty things don’t inflict bodily harm.  Men!

In painting it, though, I wanted to retain everything that makes this piece charming – the texture of the grain, the handmade dovetail joints, the dents and dings.


Fortunately, I know just the paint that is perfect for raw wood and for looking authentically old.  Insert wink and nudge.

  I mixed up a custom color of French Enamel, Shutter Gray, and Schloss in the MMS Milk Paint line.  I couldn’t tell you the exact ratio, because I just added a bit here and there until I mixed a color I thought would suit the piece and compliment the rug in the room.  While I was working on other things, Kriste applied a wash of the paint.  I didn’t want a full, opaque coat…more like a stain.


Sebastian tried to help, but didn’t understand the concept.

After one coat, we took it outside and I heavily sanded the entire piece with 120 grit paper and an orbital sander.  I sanded aggressively in order to smooth out the roughness and to wear away a lot of the paint.  And I finished it with a coat of Hemp Oil to bring out the color and hydrate the exposed wood.


And it’s perfect.  It looks like it was always painted.



Now it is safe to use in our family room (thanks to the sanding) and it doesn’t look like a coffin, which is always a plus in my book.

I took lots of pictures of it in the family room, so you can see how it suits everything else that’s happening in the space…

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While it’s a little longer than I wanted, I like that it’s the full length of the sofa, so we can all put our feet up.


And there is our family room Christmas tree!  After the disappointment of last year’s tree (it was the wonkiest tree ever), I took my time picking one this year and it gorgeous.  It’s fluffy and full and tall and fills the room perfectly.  I put lights on it, strung the garland, and hung a few ornaments, but we still need to finish decorating it.  (Hopefully that will happen this weekend!)

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Aren’t the roses beautiful?  One of my sponsors, QuickStep Flooring, sent them to me!  And they were ordered from another sponsor, The Bouqs.  And the pitcher, a French ironstone pitcher, was a gift from one of my very sweet readers.


That’s just a whole bunch of warm and fuzzies right there.

a grain bin turned coffee table

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