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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Laura

How to update bad brass & rescuing our coffee table

how to update bad brass with rub n'buff

A few months ago my mom and I ordered this coffee table from Ethan Allen.

ethan allen gold coffee table

I had seen it many times online over the last year and thought it was the look we were going for in the living room, but I kept hunting antique/thrift stores to see if I could find anything better. It finally came to a point where we just needed to get something because the living room was empty! Exhibit A:

We decided to go look at it in person at the store before we pulled the trigger. They unfortunately only had the lighter colored brass one in store to look at, which we knew we didn't want.

ethan allen gold coffee table

But we both loved the size and shape...the darker gold one we had seen online looked like a lovely shade of gold... so we decided to go for it.

It arrived last month and as soon as we unwrapped it I was pretty disappointed. I wanted so badly to love it, but the brass was just bad.

ethan allen gold coffee table

Here's a close up.

ethan allen gold coffee table

It looked like it had been painted with brown paint over the gold finish. I guess it was some type of distressing, but I was not a fan. It was one of those things that I was like...well, this was kind of an expensive piece- damn, I screwed it up that sucks. I'm just going to pretend it's not that bad. Do you do that? Convince yourself something is working when you know in your heart it's not because it was expensive or because it was a pain to get, or whatever the reason...

The only thing I could think to do was spray paint it, but I knew that was going to make it look sooo cheap...I couldn't go that route. Cut to the week after I finished the DIY Frame TV in our room and I was side eyeing this coffee table again when a little light bulb went off.

antique gold rub n' buff

RUB N' BUFF! I could Rub n' Buff the coffee table couldn't I? I quickly learned that the glass was easy to remove which meant I would have full access to all of the brass parts. I tested a little tiny corner and rubbed some of the rub n' buff on that I had leftover. It looked amazing! The next day I pulled the glass off (it was heavy) and set it on the dining table and then lugged the coffee table frame outside and went to town on it.

rub n' buff bad brass coffee table

I used an old rag to rub it on and I immediately started getting so excited- it looked SO good! It only took about 30 minutes to rub the finish on the rest of the table before it was completely done. If you've never used this product before it dries very quickly so I found that the best strategy was to brush one entire groove on one side, then move on to the next groove. This seemed to keep less the finish looking more professional and seamless.

I let the coffee table sit outside the rest of the day to air out since the Rub n' Buff does have some toxic fumes and it was pretty stinky. Once I brought it in- it was exactly the gold finish I had originally been hoping for! I love it!

how to update bad brass with rub n' buff
how to update bad brass with rub n' buff

It couldn't have been easier and since I ended up using leftover Rub n' Buff this project was FREE. Which is my favorite kind of project.

how to update bad brass with rub n'buff, styled brass coffee table

Do you have any gold finishes that need updating? Make sure to tag me on instagram or facebook if you update any of your brass with rub n' buff, I want to see it!


Jennifer Laura Living.jpg


Hi, I'm Jennifer Laura- you can call me Jenn. My husband and I just bought a house in our dream neighborhood and we are so excited to be here! The house, while already beautiful, NEEDS A LOT OF LOVE and STYLE. Join me, a past interior designer and wedding planner, as I work to make over each room and share the process along the way. 

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