In this post: We gave an old primitive styles country coffee table with heart cutouts a modern farmhouse makeover.

Once upon a time, we had this really cute country coffee table – complete with dusty pine surface and the oh-so infamous heart cutouts that were rabidly popular “back in the day”. It was still a useful coffee table, but it just wasn’t stylish anymore. A coffee table makeover was desperately needed. So we “upcycled” it into the much more stylin’ coffee table it is today!

chest coffee table makeover

We actually completed the makeover in a couple of stages, well over a year apart!

coffee table makeover

Stage One – Covering up the hearts and antique glazing

Since many blogger’s DIY instructions for antique glazing call for Ralph Lauren Glaze (which is unavailable in Canada),  I mixed up my own glaze. When I originally did this project, I dug out some leftover Behr accent wall paint called Stepping Stones and bought a container of Behr’s Faux Glaze.


  • Beadboard paneling
  • Saw
  • No More Nails (glue)
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth or lint-free cloth
  • Acrylic paint in white color (I used Behr Swiss Coffee)
  • Acrylic paint in a stone/taupe color (I used Behr Stepping Stones)
  • Behr’s Faux Glaze
  • water
  • measuring cup/spoon
  • plastic cup
  • paintbrush
  • baby wipes (optional)


  1. Cut beadboard paneling to fit all four sides of the chest coffee table.cut beadboard paneling
  2. Glue in place using No More Nails.beadboard paneling no more nails
  3. Paint the entire piece in white (remember I used Behr Swiss Coffee).painted
  4. Distress any areas you’d like with fine sandpaper. Wipe away the sawdust.
  5. Mix 2 parts water, 1 part paint, and 5 parts glaze in a plastic cup.
  6. Dip a clean brush (I used a Purdy) into the glaze mixture, wiping excess glaze off onto the sides of the container.
  7. Lightly brush glaze into grooves and depressions first and then onto flat surfaces. Only work in a small area at a time as the glaze dries very quickly.
  8. Using a clean lint-free rag (I actually used paper towel-type rags that are sold in the paint department) wipe away the excess glaze. Wipe until you get a look you like. If necessary add more glaze with the brush and wipe again.
  9. If you end up with more glaze that you’d like or you’d like to lighten a particular area, wipe with a baby wipe (totally awesome to have on hand even if you don’t have babies). This is my secret weapon. The wipes made the job much easier and stress-free because they would wipe away even slightly dried on the glaze.
  10. Repeat the steps above until you achieve the desired look and have completed your piece.

coffee table makeover

Stage Two – Adding the Union Jack


  • coffee table
  • paint: base color, accent color, white craft paint & black craft paint
  • paintbrush
  • painter’s tape
  • ruler
  • measuring tape
  • pencil
  • sandpaper
  • Minwax Dark Finishing Paste Wax
  • lint-free cloth


  1. Using your ruler, mark out your Union Jack. The biggest tip I can give you here to place a straight edge from corner to corner and draw a line. Then measure out your diagonal strips from the center of that line.measuring union jack
  2. Using your painter’s tape, tape off your Union Jack. The painter’s tape covers where the base coat will show through.s tape
  3. Add several drops of white paint to your accent color and paint the triangles of your Union Jack.
  4. Now add a couple of drops of black paint and paint the diagonal strips.
  5. Add a bit more black and paint the vertical and horizontal thick strips.
  6. While the paint is damp, peel off all of the painter’s tape. Let paint dry. You can help it along with the blow dryer if you like.union jack coffee table sanded
  7. Sand the entire coffee table top with a fine-grit sandpaper. Be sure to sand with the grain for the best results.
  8. Using a lint-free cloth rub dark wax into the wood over the entire tabletop.

coffee table union jack top

Our coffee table used to live in our combined living/family room in our Bungalow.

coffee table makeover

In our last house, the coffee table lived in our main floor living room until we made this one that better fit the size of the room

coffee table makeover

aka design living room progress

It continues to provide plenty of storage (it currently holds sleeping bags, for which I’m sure I could find a better place!). And it has worn really well – even with three, kids, plenty of hot teacups, and a move to a new city.

What do you think? Is it rockin’ its new look? Have you passed up any of these heart cut-out pine chests at garage sales or thrift stores? Would you give them a second look now that you know they can be such rockstars?

P.S. We originally posted about the antique glazing project in November 2010 and the Union Jack top in January 2012 – we’ve combined and re-written the two tutorials here with clearer instructions and better photos!

shannon sign off

home made lovely book on table with get it now text button

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  1. Shannon, this turned out a-mazing!!!! I see old pieces at thrift stores with those hearts cut out and pass them right up! I need to look a bit more closely next time! Looking forward to hanging out this afternoon 🙂

    1. Hi Christy! Thanks so much for commenting. It’s going to be so fun this afternoon! I love your walkway, btw. 🙂

  2. wow – this is gorgeous!! I won’t pass on a heart-shaped cut-out in the future.
    The union jack works perfectly with the existing hardware/openings. Well done!!

  3. I love it! It fits so perfectly in your living room, which looks so cozy. I never thought that bright blue colours could look so comfortable. Great work! But I also like the photo no.2 where the coffee table still has wooden top and bottom. It looks kind of like an ice cream sandwich!

  4. Love the new look Shannon! I’m a big fan of mixing my own glaze and wax for custom finishes. What a great make-over.

  5. Would this work with the ralph lauren glaze as well? Would I have to do anything differently? I have never done a project like this, but it looks like it could be fun.

    1. You could totally use the glaze! I’m jealous actually – we can’t get RL Glaze up here in Canada!

  6. Love the Union Jack coffee table! Great idea for up cycling those old heart cutout country pieces! Who knew! You are SO clever! Thank you!!!

    1. Thank you, Cynthia! This piece now happily lives at my parent’s place and my mom adores the makeover!

  7. I have a little chest with heart cutouts that had sentimental value but I did not know what to do with it – what a great idea with the beadboard – saved my little chest!

  8. Shannon, you come up with such good ideas!! Thanks for this information. BTW, you are my favorite blogger for decorating ideas without spending a lot of money. Keep it up.