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DIY Faux Painted Marble Coffee Table

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A couple of months ago, I purchased a new coffee table for the living room. I decided to get a new one when I rearranged the furniture to its current layout and realized that the edge grain plywood herringbone coffee table that I had made was way too skinny with the furniture arranged in the new way. (It will make an appearance in another spot, though.)

So after looking at probably hundreds of coffee tables, I kept coming back to this mid-century modern coffee table with a stained wood base and white top.

coffee table with plain white top

The choice was uncharacteristic for me because mid-century modern generally doesn’t appeal to me, and yet this is the one I kept going back to. I found it in several different stores online, but I ended up purchasing it from Amazon, which had the lowest price and free shipping.

The table had consistently high ratings with rave reviews, with the exception of one thing. Almost every review mentioned that the table top is NOT white. It was described as anywhere from off-white to a yellowish color. That made me hesitate and continue to look.

Somewhere along the way, I decided that I’d love a table with a stone (preferably marble) top. I came across this very similar table with a marble top from West Elm, and almost purchased it. I had put in all of my payment info and was ready to click that final button to make my purchase, and I just couldn’t do it. I finally decided that I change my mind way too easily and often to pay that much for a coffee table. And it was only 20 inches wide, anyway. I really wanted something at least 24 inches wide.

So I ended up going with the first coffee table. And sure enough, the top was definitely NOT white. I think it actually started off white, but the clear coat they used for the top was definitely not non-yellowing. It just looked like an oil-based polyurethane that had yellowed quite a bit over time.

I had already made up my mind that if the finish was too yellow, I would paint it. So that’s exactly what I did. About three weeks ago, I sanded the top down, primed it with Rust-Oleum spray primer, and then sprayed it with Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch spray paint in white. I’ve been living with it that way for over two weeks now to see if I liked it, and I finally decided that it was just too glaringly white.

diy faux marble coffee table - 1 - table before

So yesterday, I decided to do a faux marble finish on the top. I didn’t want a busy marble with a lot of veins. I just wanted something subtle that would give the appearance of marble while toning down that glaring white table top. Here’s how it turned out…

diy faux marble coffee table top - before and after
diy faux marble coffee table top

(Note: If you’re reading this post on any website other than Addicted 2 Decorating, that means you’re reading on a site that is stealing my blog content. I hope you’ll consider joining me on my actual blog by clicking here.)

I used paints in two colors — Behr Polar Bear (white) and Behr Intellectual (gray) both mixed about two parts paint to one part Floetrol, and then with a splash of water added. I also used a sponge dampened with water. I couldn’t find a large sea sponge, so I used a yellow sponge from Home Depot (the kind found in the tile section) and pinched off pieces and cut it to give it a more natural look like a sea sponge. And then I had an assortment of brushes on hand. I didn’t end up using any of the artist brushes in the plastic package, but I used all of the rest — a 1-inch sash brush, a 1.5-inch sash brush, a very large and soft watercolor brush (the one that looks like a makeup brush), a large and wide stain brush, and two small round art brushes.

diy faux marble coffee table - 2 - paint brushes and supplies used

I also used a spray bottle with water, and had some paper towels on hand. With all of my supplies together, I was ready to get started.

Step 1: Create a soft gray and white background.

Using the damp sponge, I sponged some white paint on the surface of the table.

diy faux marble coffee table - 3 - use sponge to add white paint

And then I sponged some of the gray paint into the wet white paint.

diy faux marble coffee table - 4 - sponge on gray paint

And then using the big stain brush…

diy faux marble coffee table - 5 - blend white and gray paint

…I pounced and dabbed and brushed and swirled until the two colors had mixed enough to create a soft background with color variation.

diy faux marble coffee table - 6 - gray and white blended background
diy faux marble coffee table - 7 - white and gray blended together

Step 2: Create large gray veins.

Next, using the 1-inch sash brush, I created some really large gray veins. The key when creating veins with a brush is to be messy. You don’t want to brush them on, but rather, fill the brush and then drag, push, and roll the brush as you’re moving across the surface.

diy faux marble coffee table - 8 - paint larger gray veins

Once I had the veins in place, I used the big stain brush to soften those veins a little bit.

diy faux marble coffee table - 9 - use large brush to soften thick vens

I also used the large, soft watercolor brush to soften the look.

diy faux marble coffee table - 10 - use a softener brush on the large veins

Here’s how it looked with those veins softened with both of those brushes.

diy faux marble coffee table - 11 - large veins

And then it was time to bury those veins a little. Using the sponge, I dabbed white paint on either side of the dark veins…

diy faux marble coffee table - 12 - soften the large veins with white paint

…and then using the large stain brush, I began to pounce and swirl until those dark veins were buried enough to suit my taste.

diy faux marble coffee table - 13 - use large brush to pounce and soften the white paint

Here you can see the difference between the buried vein on the bottom, and the rest of the gray veins that hadn’t been softened and buried with the white paint yet.

diy faux marble coffee table - 14 - large gray vein softened with white paint

I kept on doing that until I had those large, dark veins buried and softened, and they looked like I wanted them to look.

diy faux marble coffee table - 15 - large gray veins softened with white

Here you can see the difference again with half of the table done. The veins in the foreground of this picture were just like I wanted them, but the veins on the far side of the table hadn’t been softened with the white yet.

diy faux marble coffee table - 16 - softened gray veins compared to original gray veins

Here’s how the table top looked after all of the big gray veins had been buried and softened to my liking.

diy faux marble coffee table - 17 - all large gray veins softened with white paint

Step 3: Add the small dark veins.

The final step for the marbling was to use a small round art brush for the small, darker veins. Again, the goal is to be messy and imperfect. To get this look, I loaded up the brush with the gray paint, and then dragged it across the surface as I pushed, pulled, and rolled the brush along.

diy faux marble coffee table - 18 - paint smaller darker veins

The bottom half of this thin vein is what it looked like right after I had painted it on…

diy faux marble coffee table - 19 - paint smaller darker veins

And then I used a spray bottle filled with water to gently spray over the top of that vein.

diy faux marble coffee table - 20 - spray water on small vein to soften

The water alone did a great deal to soften and break up those lines (because you don’t want perfect lines), but there were areas that I pounced on just a little with the 1-inch brush (which I had thoroughly cleaned) to break up the paint a little more to give it a more natural look.

And of course, you can do as much or as little veining as you want. I decided to keep it light on the veining, so I stopped when it looked like this…

diy faux marble coffee table - 21 - small dark veins finished

Step 4: Clear coat the top.

Once everything was dry, I sanded the top very lightly with 22o-grit sandpaper just to be sure there weren’t any paint ridges anywhere. After wiping away all of the dust, I used my absolute favorite clear top coat — General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in a flat finish.

diy faux marble coffee table - 22 - finished top with clear coat

I rolled on the topcoat using a 6-inch roller and a 1/4-inch nap roller cover labeled for smooth surfaces. I did two coats, sanding lightly with 220-grit sandpaper between coats.

And here’s the finished table!

diy faux marble coffee table - 23 - finished top

One thing that I learned while looking through pictures of marble online is that you can’t really mess up marble. There are so many variations out there! I came across several pictures that I thought for sure weren’t real marble because they didn’t look like real marble to me. But they were! I couldn’t believe it. Some of them just didn’t look like real marble at all to me. All of that to say that it’s pretty hard to mess up and do something that doesn’t “look like” real marble.

diy faux marble coffee table - 24 - finished top

The challenge is getting it to look like a real marble that I actually like, because I can be a little picky. 🙂 Fortunately, I managed to get a look that I like. But of course, the sky’s the limit with this. You can do as much or as little background color variation as you like, as much or as little “burying” of the big veins as you like, and as much or as little small veining as you want. I mean, if something like this is more to your liking, you can really go crazy with it.

But I personally like the more subtle marbles, so this one is perfect. And it really toned down that glaring white that it used to be.

diy faux marble coffee table - 25 - finished top



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    1. Great idea! I did buy a coffee table with a granite top. I thought my young grandkids wouldn’t destroy it like if it was wood. Mistake! Granite was ruined almost immediately. Now I keep a big basket on it, unless they are playing on it. your plan looks like a real winner!

    1. Christi – this is absolutely lovely! In the pictures it looks very real. You are so BRAVE!! I’m afraid if I tried it, it would like a toddler spilled paint on it! I know you were probably thinking Meh if I don’t like it, I’ll just sand it down and paint it again. 🙂

  1. Thank you so much for this detailed tutorial! I think the water spraying is what really made a difference for me. I have tried before to make a marble finish but was not successful. This gives me the incentive to try again. Thank you! Also it looks great!

  2. I just don’t know if I can “follow” you anymore. You make me feel so horribly inadequate. Where did you get all of that unbelievable talent? It is priceless. Yes, of course….I’ll be back with your very next post, can’t stay away.

  3. That’s amazing, Kristi! It looks great and just like marble I’m used to seeing. Thank you for the tutorial. I’ll be looking for a place to use it!

  4. What a fantastic job! I liked the look of this table better anyway, and I bet the price was better, and now you have perfected it! Great job – great idea! Thanks.

  5. Oh Kristi! It is beautiful! You have sooo much talent to visualize how this would need to be done and then carry it out – mine would look like I was still in kindergarten!

  6. NAILED IT!!!!!! Fantastic job, you got so much depth in there it looks 3-D.
    I’m out of adjectives…great job😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀

  7. Turned out spectacularly, which is not at all surprising since it’s YOU doing the decorating! It’s a truly stunning piece!

  8. Can’t believe you did that right there in the living room, even with plastic under it. I definitely would have found a way to spill, drag, or knock over my materials and track them all over the rug. You are one brave woman!

  9. I love these sorts of posts, and sharing the methods. Especially with wider pictures with less stylized shots mid project (so you see trash bags work great in a pinch) . I know everyone works differently, if you need “filler” I recommend a few irregular re-caps on methods you use for temporary work areas, and continue to link and follow up how you clean up oops moments (like your floor, so we all stress-less, in process). This behind the scenes look, can be just as empowering as the big stuff at times. Also curious on how you budget/manage prep materials. I’m typically trigger shy on some projects from thinking thats $$ in sandpaper.

  10. That looks fantastic! But, I do have to say, that I was initially confused, because I thought the original was marble, and that IT had an off-white “tinge”, and that’s why you were painting it, which I thought was an “interesting” approach. I then went back to the beginning of the post, and looked at both your table on Amazon, and the marble one from West Elm. Very well done. I wish I had that much talent.

  11. Wow, Kristi! That turned out so beautiful! But I knew it would… you always seem to have the Midas touch! Great job… and thank you for the tutorial! xo

  12. You have done an absolutely beautiful job transforming the top. It looks amazing! Your creativity and talents never cease to amaze me Kristi. Another awesome job!!

  13. Kristi, you are a genius in creating what truly looks like real marble!! This table is just beautiful and I learned so much more of how to do this from you!! Your being “picky” as you call it, is why your home is so beautiful! You definitely have the decorating eye and a great talent of sharing how to do and accomplish your designing! Thank you so very much for sharing all your knowledge for making a home our own and how to get there!!