How To Paint a Marble Effect on Furniture

Updated: Jun. 03, 2024

Make old furniture feel new and luxurious with this easy-to-do painting technique!

Time

A full day

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

$51–100

Introduction

One of the easiest and most impactful ways to update old furniture is to paint it. And you can take it up another notch by adding a decorative faux marble finish. While this project looks difficult, it's actually quite basic-you just need some paint, a handful of tools and a smidgen of patience. The following steps will show you how to paint a faux Carrara marble table.

This side table circa the 1970s cost just a few dollars at a garage sale. While not much to look at, it’s sturdy and solid. With a little bit of paint, though, it will look great.

Sponging white back into the marble pattern is a secret weapon! It allows you to easily fix mistakes, highlight curves and break up too-dark veins. Remember to dry-brush any areas that you sponge to blur the colors.

There’s also no need to let the layers dry fully while creating your marble look with paint; it’s easier to blend if the paint is still a bit wet. You don’t want harsh, cartoonish lines here; instead, try for softer veins that come naturally.

Project step-by-step (11)

Step 1

Sand the surface

Sand the table to remove the old finish and smooth out any imperfections in the wood. Wipe off the dust with a damp cloth.

Sanding the wooden tableTMB Studio

Step 2

Apply primer

Apply at least two even coats of white paint and primer in one. Let the white base dry completely.

Applying primer on Wood TMB Studio

Step 3

Mix Paint Colors

Mix white and black paint in separate containers to create two different shades of gray. Also, keep a small container of the white nearby. Add a couple of teaspoons of water to all colors to thin them out.

Step 4

Sponge on white

Use a slightly damp sea sponge to apply a light layer of white all over the table.

Applying white paint with paint rollerTMB Studio

Step 5

Brush on large gray veins

Next, use a medium-size paintbrush to place the lightest gray color in various large areas.

A close-up of a gray paint being poured from a spatula onto a white surface. TMB Studio

Step 6

Sponge over gray

Sponge over the gray to create a smoky look. Then, sponge white randomly on top of the gray.

Step 7

Blend out gray

Use a dry blending brush to smooth out the sponged colors. Repeat this process once more.

A hand is seen holding a paintbrush, applying light gray paint across a white canvas. Black lines intersect the canvas, creating an abstract design. The focus is on the brush and the painted strokes.TMB Studio

Step 8

Create fine veins

Use a very small paintbrush and a darker shade of gray to create more precise veins.

Step 9

Sponge over fine veins

Immediately after placing the paint, use the sponge to go over each vein (you can add a little white, if you desire).

Step 10

Blend out fine veins

Use a dry blending brush to smooth out the fine veins. Repeat this step at least two times, and add in some white veins to create highlighted areas. When you’re satisfied, allow the paint to dry for several hours.

Step 11

Apply coats of polyurethane

Finally, apply two coats of clear, water-based polyurethane with a satin finish. Allow the table to dry completely for 24 hours before using it.

Applying water-based polyurethane with paint rollerTMB Studio