Cutting Down A Table To Make A Kids Table

The walls of Clara’s big girl room are dry and the few items of furniture that we have (mainly just a daybed, an old side table, and two small wooden thrift store chairs that I don’t think we’ve even shown you yet) are back in the room. So here’s how it’s looking now:

Totally done and magazine ready, right? Just kidding. But it’s a huge improvement from this so we’re psyched.

The new wall color is awesome. Pardon these not great pics of it (Monday’s pics did it more justice). In person it’s subtle and warm and cozy but not too yellow-y or peach. And since it’s not too bold or compete-y, it’ll allow us to layer in a ton of other colors. Highly recommend it.

Oh but since the title says something about table tweaks, here’s the scoop on that. Wait, first a little info on the chairs. We got them for $8 each at a thrift store in West Virginia on our way back from redoing Granny’s bathroom way back in September. Then we just tossed them into the cluttered playroom and hoped we’d see them again someday. Haha. Now that it’s all cleaned out, it’s like discovering an extra room in your house. Amazing. Anyway, I think we’ll paint the chairs a crazy bright color (red?!) and keep the table crisp and white.

Speaking of the table, remember when it used to be a side table in our first house‘s den?

It was actually a side table from Target that we tweaked by adding a larger top and then painted white a few years back (originally for our master bedroom, then it moved into the den once we found a TJ Maxx ottoman that worked better in the bedroom).

It actually hasn’t found a home in the over-two-years that we’ve lived in our current house, so the poor thing has just been sitting randomly in the corner of the sunroom or the basement. Poor little listless side table. Until now. We realized that thanks to those two thrift store kids chairs the table would make a cute little spot for those chairs to saddle up to, but it was too tall to work as-is. See how it towers over the other kid-sized table that we made for the living room here?

Well, it was nothing a little sawing couldn’t solve. After unsuccessfully finding any screws to free up and remove the stem from the top, John sawed it off with a reciprocating saw and then went back with his Dremel to clean up the part we’d be attaching it back to later (so it was nice and level).

Trimming the 4-inches off of the stem proved challenging given the angle of the base. John’s first attempt looked something like this. He’s the first to admit that it wasn’t his finest work.

Especially since it resulted in a not-so-level cut.

So he went back, remarked a level cut line around the stem on all sides, and then carefully shaved it down a bit more with his Dremel, being careful to stick to that line on all sides as he went.

Much better. But it was about a 1/4″ shorter than we originally intended. So we had to throw it away. Just kidding, that quarter of an inch doesn’t matter, thank goodness.

With everything cut, he used his Kreg jig to make some pocket holes to reattach the stem to the base. Sure the pockets show a bit, but it’s so far under the table base that you won’t see them unless you’re under the table on the floor (Clara does that sometimes, but we don’t think she’ll mind ’em, haha).

Now it’s nearly the same height as Clara’s drawing desk in the living room, see? (Note that this shot was taken while laying on the floor, so you can barely see those little pocket holes).

Now Clara will have a table for coloring/play doh/dolls/Gin Rummy in her room with her two thrift store chairs (which I fully intend to paint bright red as of right now, but you never know when I’ll change my mind).

So that’s what we’ve been up to in Clara’s big girl room. I’d call it 7% finished. Haha.

The blanket is my favorite (from a Joss & Main sale about a month or two ago). And the two tie-dye-ish pillows are from West Elm. I want to add more pillows of course (wouldn’t navy look cool on there too?).

Oh and the pink C pillow was from the same Joss & Main sale as the blanket. Isn’t it cute? Clara is OBSESSED with her big girl bed. The doc said not to switch her until she’s uncomfortable in her crib or climbing out of it (the girl climbs into it but never out – go figure!) so we’re happy to keep her contained to her crib where she happily snoozes… but man oh man, she sure looks cute in this bed. And someday she’ll get to officially move in.

Until then it’s a pretty fun playroom…

… which beats the heck out of the junk-room that it has been for the last two years by a long shot. She says hanging her head in shame. Oh well, better late than never.

We’re still sorely missing some major elements in here, so here’s what’s on the agenda:

  • painting those chairs a bright happy color
  • bringing in a dresser (we’d love to find something secondhand)
  • making/hanging some curtains
  • adding a rug
  • hanging art on the walls along with a few other 3D objects that we have in mind (how’s that for cryptic?)
  • installing a new light fixture
  • hanging a mirror at Clara-height somewhere in the room (she loves making funny faces and laughing at herself)
  • turning that junk closet into an actual clothes closet/reading nook
  • adding crown molding (along with tackling the other un-crown-molding-ed bedrooms on this side of the house)
  • adding accessories like more pillows, storage bins for toys, etc

You know we’ll keep you posted as we inch along! What are you guys painting, tweaking, and cutting down these days? Anyone else finding thrift store chairs or converting old Target tables? Spill it.


  1. Cassie says

    Well, we’re moving furniture around to make a better play area in the living room for the girls (dang small townhomes) and hanging curtains this week. That’s all I’ve got.

  2. Laura says

    So cute! Just a quick parent tip…we let our daughter take naps in her big girl bed for about a week before we moved her to it for good. It seemed to work best for her to try it out while it was still daylight outside and she was more comfortable that way. Worked like a charm! :)

  3. Constance says

    I love it so far! Especially the neutral paint color for a kids room with focus on excessories. Such a great approach. I know you guys are always super on top of Clara’s safety, but have you given any thought to the front-facing corners of the day-bed? This is me speaking from experience with my own and visiting kiddos playing and falling into/onto very similar things :) Ideas or leaving as-is?

    • says

      We’re thinking we might turn it around to face the wall in the beginning (so she’s caged in and can’t roll out) but then eventually we’ll turn it out again and either put pads on it if she seems to have an issue with those corners or just leave them as-is. There are corners on things throughout our house (the console in the hallway, the buffet in the dining room, the corners of the peninsula in the kitchen, etc) so we’re careful with Clara but we also recognize that there are things in the world that they can bump their noggins on. One thing Clara has taught us is how resilient she is! Haha. We used to worry she was made of glass, but now we joke that she’s really made of rubber :)


    • Constance says

      Sounds good! I’m probably alert to it as our rubber-bumper little ones have had tons of spills and bruises, but also two little girls with split eyebrows from similar stuff. We joke in our house that if there’s no blood or need for stitches then it’s all good :) Have fun with the room!

  4. Brandy says

    Are you still planning on using the ombre dresser from the book in Clara’s room? I could have imagined you saying that was your plan though. :)

    • says

      I think we had talked about that but then moved it into our bedroom with the TV on it (still not hooked up, haha!) so we’re thinking a long and wide dresser with 6+ drawers might be more helpful than a tall one that she can’t reach the top of. So that’s the new plan!


    • Brandy says

      That’s cool for us readers…another project from you guys. I’m so excited to see her room come together!

  5. Karen F says

    Looks great! Don’t worry, I think we all have spaces in our houses that become “junk rooms” or whatever…just the rest of us don’t have pics of our house on the internet for everyone to see! (thank goodness for that!) :)

    Question – you mentioned bringing in a dresser…would the one from Clara’s nursery not work in here? Or are you bringing in an additional one? Because that dresser you refinished is SO gorgeous!

    Also, random tip (and you may already be doing this) – when you’re ready to transition her to the big girl bed, you can try having her take naps in there first before she ditches the crib completely.

    It’s coming along great, guys! It’s so funny to be discovering this completely new space in your house after all this time!

    • says

      We think the nursery dresser works best in there as a changing table for possible future baby, so instead of robbing it from there we’d rather just get one for her big girl space without disassembling the nursery since we hope to use that for another child someday :) And thanks for the nap tip!


    • Katrina says

      I second the suggestion for having her nap in her big girl bed before she moves from the crib. It worked like a charm for our daughter!

  6. says

    Weird truth: this post has severely wow’d me this a.m. Maybe it’s the clutter before-and-after, maybe it’s the redo on the table, maybe it’s the cute little girl jumping on the gorgeous daybed, dunno. Just love all of it!

  7. Sarah C says

    So exciting! Part of me can’t wait to see it all finished (the impatient part) but the other part of me loves seeing it come to fruition step by step.

    I love bright red for the chairs, but ever since you said navy blue pillows I thought that would look cool on chairs too…maybe too dark though.

  8. Kelly V says

    Not “too flesh-y?” Would you say that if the the color were a rich chocolate brown? Crayola did away with using “flesh” as a name years ago, for good reason. Please consider a more inclusive description in the future.

  9. Malorie says

    Love the color scheme! Those chairs are great, maybe just paint the back side of them the poppy red color and leave the sitting-side natural, they would look so chic! Also love the thought of adding nave, or a deep teal or emerald ;)

  10. Shauna says

    You guys hoodwink me every time you start a new room project. Each time I think “My God, how could those colours possibly work together?” In this case it was more “Sheesh, that’ll look like the horror of a bedroom my friend had in the 70s!” And then you get me good–it’s ALWAYS fresh and chic and classy. You’ve got such great colour vision! Really like where this room is going.

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