Don’t Sleep on This Underrated “Ugly” Secondhand Find (It’s a Hidden Gem!)

published Mar 18, 2024
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A huge second hand store, a lot of furniture and other thingsBezbod
Credit: Bezbod

If you love the look of trendy, almost sculptural dining tables, and if you’re up for a little bit of a DIY project, don’t be afraid to go corporate. In other words, try buying (or salvaging) a bulky brown conference table from the ’80s or ’90s and turning it into a chic dining room table on-trend for this year.

Take inspiration from DIYers like Shenel Shaikh ( and Kelby Mayberry (@the.modberry), who both turned standard-issue office furniture into stunning dining tables straight out of a stylish store. 

Credit: Yesi Laver

For her project, Shaikh turned a circular conference table into a luxe-looking table with a faux marble finish. “I started by adhering 3/4-inch wooden dowels around the base of the table and then used a sea sponge to coat the whole piece in layers of earthy paints and glazes to achieve the finish,” she explains. 

Mayberry’s conference-table-turned-dining-table flip took a lot of sanding, as it was difficult to get the brown sheen off. But she sanded it, painted it with black milk paint, and added pole wrap to the bottom to achieve the fluted look. Her total for the whole project was about $180 (including the purchase of the table).

The Best Spots to Source Conference Tables

If you want to do a project of your own, it might be a little tricky to find a conference table direct from an office that’s liquidating, says Christopher Leach, CEO of Contract Furnishings, a corporate office furnisher in Denver. The reasons for this are threefold: First, commercial-grade conference tables can be heavy and tough to move — especially from an upper office floor. Second, a professional office building often requires a certificate of insurance to move furniture on or off the premises. Third, offices often work with companies like Leach’s so the furniture ends up at other offices or nonprofits in need.

However, Contract Furnishings does have a warehouse of used office equipment that individuals sometimes browse through upon request, so you could make an appointment with a local office furniture liquidator in your area.

Leach recommends looking through Facebook Marketplace where some smaller businesses or business owners might list a single no-longer-needed conference table — and that’s where Shaikh found hers!

Mayberry found her brown conference table on OfferUp, where there are a plethora of behemoth-sized tables under the “business equipment” category. The lesson here? Don’t sleep on the business equipment section, whether you’re shopping secondhand locally or digitally! You just might find a lowly conference table that’s ready for its new life as a chic dining table.